Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Today is Good Friday for Roman Catholics and most protestant Christians. It is a day that commemorates the crucifixion and death of Christ. Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie, The Passion of the Christ vividly portrays the agony and glory of Christ. I highly recommend Gibson’s movie for those who want to honestly reflect upon what it means to follow Christ.

Christianity is a religion, as I (imperfectly) understand it, that calls out to the believer to be a hero and to live greatness – the greatness of God. As my undergrad philosophy professor, Dallas Willard, once explained to me, the Christian life is nothing more and nothing less than nakedly following the naked Christ.

Nudi Nudum Christum Sequi. 

Tennessee Ernie Ford, Were You There

I just prepared the morning cafe latte. I fill a large Starbuck’s mug about halfway with whole milk, add three heaping tablespoons of sugar, and warm it in the microwave for two minutes. Then I take a whisk and spin it in place (in the mug) by rolling it between my hands for a minute. This gets the milk more foamy than a steam job can do it. Then I pour the milk into two 16 oz mugs from the NRA (National Rifle Association) about half way.

While the milk was warming in the microwave, I ground a half cup of Starbuck’s Breakfast Blend beans (warmed for a minute in a pan before grinding), filled the coffee maker with 4 cups of water, and left a cup of water in the carafe that collects the dripped coffee.

That’s how we do coffee at my place.

My GF and her daughter are still sleeping. We were supposed to be on the road an hour and a half earlier. But my GF had a hard, long day at work yesterday and I’ll use this time to write a blog post. Even the best laid plans and schedules are meant to serve us and our hopes – not the other way around.

I feel good about today. I feel good because I have put today at the disposal of greatness. The general plan is to get to Cacica, a village in the north of Romania, but I am, generally-speaking, prepared emotionally and mentally to respond to greatness however it may (or may not) present itself as opportunity. I wish I could do it like that everyday and, sometimes, I can. But the intention does not always stand firm – not like days like this.

Days like this, I have decisively set apart from my ordinary expectations and worries.

Trailer: The Passion of the Christ

In today’s Easter reading, I read about the arrest of Christ in John 18:1-40. Verse 11 and 12 provide an unusual leadership lesson about obedience.

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.

Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?”

Obedience is a difficult proposition for free men and women to embrace whole-heartedly. Perhaps, because obedience seems antithetical to freedom, independent thought, and that sovereign equality which we believe is ours. Obedience implies slavery or, at least, service. But if it implies these things which seem not to be in our selfish interest, obedience also implies love, faithfulness, trust, and a world of we.

That’s all I have to say about this for now. It is something which I must reflect upon further. And that’s ok. It’s ok that the answers are not forthcoming and immediate. What is important, I have found, is to keep asking questions that open us to receive and live truth – little by little.

This is an insight that may help you – as it helps me to live whole-heartedly – regardless of your faith, philosophy, or lack thereof.

Stan Faryna
06 April 2012
Bucharest, Romania

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6 Responses to Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

  1. Stan. I spent 10 years of my life coming to an understanding of this question. I would respond gladly to you; but not here, it is not the right place. As a person who considers you a friend, if you want to hear my thoughts. Lets get that skype conversation going some time this year! 🙂 Billy

  2. LaRae Quy says:

    Hi Stan

    Your point about obedience is a good one. But we are all slaves in some form or other to the desires that influence our choices. The fact that I can choose is what gives me freedom . . . our choices ultimately determine our character. These are the big questions of life . . . I wish we had an owner’s manual!

    Thanks for sharing. Have a great Easter.

    • Stan Faryna says:

      Happy Easter, LaRae.

      Is freedom fulfilled by the availability of any (or dignifying) choices, the choosing, the right choice, or all of it?

  3. I believe that our faith frees us from ourselves. The obedience frees us from living at our whim, at what we want.

    The obedience makes our planet a place where we matter, and are significant to the plan of the universe.

    The obedience is the calling that not all of us have the gift of having heard it.

    A very thought ful post for such a young man..

    • Stan Faryna says:

      Alexandra, you leave me with a beautiful answer that is greater than my understanding. Thank you.

      P.S. I’m so glad I found your blog via Dan Perez. Because you share such beautiful things.

Speak from your heart!

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