Thursday, September 30, 2010

For Whom the Tears Fall

This week I cried.

Matthew 16:19, 
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: 
and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: 
and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  
King James Version

I try to keep my tear quotient at very minimal levels, but alas dear friends, sometimes the waterworks just gotta flow.

The trick is: are the tears worthy of the cause?  

In my case, the answer was a pejorative no. 

There I was, cutting an onion up for dinner.  Now, usually the effect of onion slicing on my tear ducts is slight.  On this occasion, however, this particular onion had some sort of super potency.  It clearly was visited by some great onion god and bestowed an unruly amount of power.  This onion could be the Onion King, I tell ya.  And the worst of it was that this was no small event.  I was deluging out all the water my sad sack of a body could muster.  Had I not finished my way with the onion, it would have extracted every last milliliter of viscosity from my innermost being.  Understand me, this onion meant business.

As I stand above the chopping block, eye-vomiting salt droplets, I think to myself, "Well Dante, if you're going to cry like this, you might as well cry over something more consequential than an onion.  The onion doesn't deserve our tears."

The trick is: what is worthy of my blubbering?

My mind turned to the film Becket.  The film positions itself under the reign of King Henry II.  Henry surrounds himself day and night with his most loyal Saxon, the honorable Thomas Becket.  The major turn of events in the flick occurs when Henry, as a play to keep the Church in England trustfully under his arm, plants Becket as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

As things go, Becket becomes a martyr for the church.  I am being intentional when I call him a martyr for the church.  I have not called him a martyr of God.

Should I cry for Thomas Becket?  Well, that all depends.

As far as I could tell, Becket went down to uphold the 'Honor of God'.  To a certain extent, this confuses me.  I don't see God's honor as something that can be tarnished.  Becket seemed concerned almost to the point that it seemed like he believed God could be disgraced.  How could that be?  Our God seems to me to be impervious to our chastisements.  He is not so mutable that He can be slandered by an 11th century, worldly king, is He?

Then there's the devil's advocate position (or is God's advocate?).  It may be true that God cannot be put into a place of dishonor by His creation, but it may be nevertheless our duty to defend Him upon attack.

From my perspective, it seemed that Thomas Becket died for the pride of the church.  If he hadn't chosen martyrdom for this issue, could not he had lived to serve God in many more ways that would turn hearts to Jesus Christ?  When I convey a sense of callousness about God's honor, it is only because rather than debate and die over such issues, I'd rather leverage those moments to bring up Jesus.  To die for the pride of the church seems silly when you can die for the proclamation of Jesus.

The trick is: to what extent does the church represent Jesus?  

The idea gets muddled further when you recognize that the Church (Big C), in the 11th century was seen only as the often corrupt Catholic Church.  I look at that thing which man created and say,

"I don't want to die for that!  Let me die for Jesus alone!"
But are such thoughts accurate?

And so, as it inevitably always does, my tears fell as splashes of confoundment.


  1. This is totally apart from anything remotely spiritual. Next time you cut an onion, before peeling, cut off either end and submerge the onion in ice water (or very cold water and place in fridge) for 10 minutes. Then cut =)

  2. i always wear sunglasses when i cut onions. aside from helping with the tears, it makes you look really cool

  3. This is Sterling. I'm somewhere in North America. I keep trying to see if you're on Skype, but you're never there! (cue Cake)

  4. Come on, now! We can't throw out our ethical duty just because onions make us weep.

    And I don't do sunglasses. They lead to untrustworthy lives, I reckon. Just like marijuana.

    And... Sterling! My skype hours are pretty sketchy. It's best to plan a skypeage meeting ahead of time. This is what is best.

  5. Do you still check your hotmail address? I've been sending you some emails over the past year or so. (BS)

  6. I still use

    If you've been sending emails that way -- then for some reason I haven't been getting them.

  7. Dang. I'll send one right now.