The Golden Easter Egg | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

The Golden Easter Egg

I stopped attending church years ago. I'll pause for the collective sharp intake of breath and prayer. It really had little to do with my belief in a higher power, but more to do with having absolutely nothing to wear.

I was reared in the Catholic church and attended Catholic school for all of my formative years. This explains a lot of my formation. I have a tendency to throw "Jesus, Mary and Joseph" into conversation and immediately feel guilty when I see a nun.

When I was 8 years old, I screamed "Doo Doo" in front of a woman who turned out to be an undercover nun, while sitting in my grandmother's car as a small child on the way to church. The nun wasn't wearing a habit. They shouldn't be allowed to sneak up on you like that. I still berate myself for not realizing. My little Italian Roman Catholic grandmother loved nuns.

Once I realized she was one of God's special people, I wished with all of my 8-year-old's heart to take back the "Doo Doo," as if it had never happened. But, as people know, Doo Doo does happen.

I will admit she giggled when the little 8-year-old girl screamed the word and stomped her foot. This made me understand there is a special place in every human's heart for small children with colorful vocabularies and a deep sense of injustice at being forced to sit on the hump in the backseat of the car. Even nuns.

I was thinking about that story this week because the incident occurred on the way to one of the first Easter Egg Hunts I attended. It was at my grandmother's church, in a field beside the sanctuary.

I can't remember what scratchy lace dress and tights I wore to Mass that day, but I can tell you the eggs were plastic and full of quarters. I remember thinking that this was truly what Easter was all about. Eggs full of money, right? Because Jesus surely had eggs full of money on his person at all times. This explained a lot to my 8-year-old mind about his popularity.

It wasn't until years later, when I actually read the history of Easter, that I understood eggs didn't have anything to do with Jesus, other than their loose pagan association with "rebirth."

Eggs are something that factor heavily into almost all religions in the civilized world. Passover? Eggs. Easter? Eggs. Spring Equinox? Eggs. They're everywhere. I'm not sure if they are plastic and bursting full of money, but they are abundant in most "cultures" celebrations of spring.

For some reason, this makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I guess it is the connection eggs provide among seemingly dissonant thought systems, thought systems that sometimes go to war.

It seems that there are fundamental truths to this whole "religion" thing, and one of them is eggs. Because, hell, if we can have something as silly as eggs in common, what other things are floating around out there that connect us to one another?

Stories of a virgin birth? Check. Messiahs? Check. Messiahs dying and then raising from the dead? Check. Essentially, all major religions have all the important pieces in place. This means we aren't truly that far away from one another on any given day.

Isn't it funny that most of these messiahs shared this same message whenever in history they appeared. Hmm. Imagine that?

A fundamental story of a man that comes to Earth bearing a message of hope and love. A fundamental story of a man being persecuted for these beliefs and dying for them. A fundamental story of rebirth and being clean once again in the spring. I guess I simply choose to believe that this whole "religion" thing should be more about bringing us together than separating us into different sections.

I essentially stopped attending church because I discovered one day that I thought almost everyone was right in some way, or at least as much as humans worshiping a deity based solely on faith and hope can be right.

My mother teases me with "come to Jesus meetings" occasionally. After all, this is the South, and we do love our churches. But overall, she let's me find my own way. I think that's the best example I've ever been given. Being allowed to choose my own path is a wonderful right to enjoy.

We should all be afforded the right to find our own path. Our own beliefs. Our own eggs. Whether those eggs be Passover eggs, Easter eggs, or eggs bursting with naked dancing under the spring moon. They are all essentially a celebration of life.

Don't get me wrong, I can totally get into eggs full of money, but I'm pretty sure that's not the only thing going on here. I believe it's a testament to human beings' nature to take a story of a man who died for his beliefs, a man who died because he was counter to the cultural norm, and use it as an excuse to force people to conform one certain idea of life and love.

Maybe everyone is just a little "right." And if everyone is just a little right, maybe the eggs are just eggs, and they aren't really Easter eggs or Passover eggs or rites of spring eggs. Just eggs.

But rest assured, when "Doo Doo" happens, I will be on my knees rooting for the eggs full of money with the best of them.

After all, you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket.

Previous Comments

ID
72030
Comment

I wear jeans to church. And stilletos. Next to that faith, love, hope and being blessed beyond measure part, the jeans and stilletos are my number two reason I attend. Well put sister. We all should find our own path, and we all should do it with those good things in mind instead of the "do it or you'll burn in hell."

Author
emilyb
Date
2006-04-12T21:52:39-06:00
ID
72031
Comment

Ali, thank you for making me laugh at the word Doo Doo! Anyway, that is why I attend a non-denominational church now. I grew up in an environment with many restrictions such as no pants, no makeup, no movie theaters, etc. Oddly enough, the next church I joined as a young adult was similar. As I grew spiritually, I began to realize that the God I serve is more concerned about having a relationship with me than trying to keep up with a lot of manmade doctrine, and I felt free. I've been at my new church for about eight months, and I took part in my first Communion last night. The pastor talked about Passover just as much as Easter/Resurrection Sunday, so I knew I was in the right place. Plus, I also liked the fact that the bread and wine (grape juice) were provided in portable little plastic containers. They were so cute!

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-04-12T22:15:24-06:00
ID
72032
Comment

I blogged a while back on proper church attire. I sometimes wear jeans.

Author
Heather
Date
2006-04-13T13:23:07-06:00
ID
72033
Comment

Found it: http://madamerubies.com/blog/?p=88#more-88

Author
Heather
Date
2006-04-13T13:29:08-06:00
ID
72034
Comment

L.W.--I began to realize that the God I serve is more concerned about having a relationship with me than trying to keep up with a lot of manmade doctrine, and I felt free. You're ahead of the curve on understanding. Ali-- ...what other things are floating around out there that connect us to one another? Stories of a virgin birth? Check. Messiahs? Check. Messiahs dying and then raising from the dead? Check. Essentially, all major religions have all the important pieces in place. You must know of some "major religions" I don't know about. Can you give some examples of virgin births, and Messiah's rising from the dead?

Author
Rex
Date
2006-04-13T13:36:35-06:00
ID
72035
Comment

Rex Other Reading: Attis Life-Death-Rebirth Deity I'm fairly simplifying because I can't tell if you are seriously just playing dumb and being an ass, or if you really don't know this. And, I probably should clarify by saying "Major religions before the advent of Christianity which then stomped them out and/or absorbed their rituals into their own."

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-04-13T14:18:13-06:00
ID
72036
Comment

Love the article, Ali. Nicely done! Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-04-13T14:25:15-06:00
ID
72037
Comment

Actually, I was hoping for clarification since no one considers the ancient myths of Greece, Rome, Egypt, Norway, etc. to be "major religions. You did in fact clarify that by saying major religions before the advent of Christianity. However, Christianity is no more guilty of having "stomped them out and/or absorbed their rituals into their own" than are a few of the other, contemporary (and actual) major religions-- Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism. Lets not blame one religion for everything, ok? Also, since you were asking things are floating around out there that connect us to one another? you really shouldn't be using "religions" to which no one adheres any longer. Your first link talks about the origin of the name and the date. OK, granted. I'll even say that the Christian culture absorbed the egg as a symbol of rebirth and eternal life. But the egg is really nowhere in the faith system of Christianity. Your second link again relies on a life-death-rebirth character from ancient Greece, a character that wasn't even a major player back then. And I dare say that being reborn as an evergreen is not quite comparable to resurrection from the dead. The third link is an empty Wikipedia entry. This is all pretty elemental since I can't tell if you are dumb or just playing an a** either.

Author
Rex
Date
2006-04-13T15:21:05-06:00
ID
72038
Comment

I'm just dumb

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-04-13T15:24:02-06:00
ID
72039
Comment

Rex writes: Actually, I was hoping for clarification since no one considers the ancient myths of Greece, Rome, Egypt, Norway, etc. to be "major religions." I would imagine that folks at the time of Christ certainly considered many of these "ancient myth" systems to be major religions, which looks to me to have been Ali's point (what did you think she meant?). What a difference 2,000 years makes! Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-04-13T15:43:22-06:00
ID
72040
Comment

P.S. Extend it to 2,800 and you have Fertile Crescent "mythology" as the major system with Judaism as a minor oppositional ethnic cult of the region. Now hardly anybody genuflects for Ashtoreth and Baal-Hadad, but a Judaism spinoff has become the world's largest religion. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-04-13T15:46:18-06:00
ID
72041
Comment

Had Ali said in her narrative what she later clarified in her response to me, I would have left it alone and considered it fairly accurate (except for Christianity being the only one to stomp and absorb). I would have even offered the more credible evidence of Mithraism, but there you go. But, as I said, Ali asked "what other things are floating around out there that connect us to one another?" it was a clear reference to contemporary times. Ancient mythologies from Greece, Rome, et al. are no longer floating around out there. Ergo, she was asking about today's major religions. There are no other virgin births or resurrected Messiahs in contemporary major religions (although Judaism is still looking for the Messiah to appear). And none of them, past or present, show a messiah dying for the sins of man and being resurrected to show victory over death.

Author
Rex
Date
2006-04-13T15:58:05-06:00
ID
72042
Comment

As one can probably tell...its the Thursday afternoon before a vacation day and I'm suffering from a very real case of apathy about this.

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-04-13T16:03:10-06:00
ID
72043
Comment

I recommend feminist therapy. And Godiva. I'd sell my left boob for a vacation day.

Author
emilyb
Date
2006-04-13T16:34:41-06:00
ID
72044
Comment

Rex writes: There are no other virgin births or resurrected Messiahs in contemporary major religions (although Judaism is still looking for the Messiah to appear). Judaism is still looking for a messiah to appear. The term "messiah" in Judaism simply means "the anointed one," and the Hebrew Bible refers to many past messiahs. There is no indication that the Jewish messiah has anything to do with absolving us of our sins in preparation for the Great Beyond. It's very much an earthly thing. In any case, I don't recall Ali making the case that any other religion teaches substitionary atonement, so I'm not all that clear who you think you're arguing with. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-04-13T16:44:51-06:00
ID
72045
Comment

Ali, here's something that might be more interesting than watching a couple of guys argue about dead religions. It's Christa, a sculpture by Elwinda Sandys. One of my favorite priests in the world used to have a wooden version of it in her office. "Some days," she once told me, "I feel a little bit like that myself!" Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-04-13T16:48:54-06:00
ID
72046
Comment

Why, Tom, that "Jesus" has tits. I never.

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-04-13T17:58:27-06:00
ID
72047
Comment

Em-never fear. We could totally sell that Jesus' boobs.

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-04-13T17:59:19-06:00
ID
72048
Comment

If that Jesus sold her left boob for your vacation day, would that be substitionary atonement? Ahem. I kid; I love Christa, and I love the message it sends. Which is really much more accurate in terms of everyday experience, because who really bears the sins of the world? Or brings life from her own blood? Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-04-13T18:36:37-06:00
ID
72049
Comment

An observation, and then I'm eating dinner: Ever notice how when someone asks some FUNDAMENTAL questions about religion, the natural defense mechanism is to get caught up in the minutiae? I mean, look at this: Don’t get me wrong, I can totally get into eggs full of money, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the only thing going on here. I believe it’s a testament to human beings’ nature to take a story of a man who died for his beliefs, a man who died because he was counter to the cultural norm, and use it as an excuse to force people to conform one certain idea of life and love. Maybe everyone is just a little “right.” And if everyone is just a little right, maybe the eggs are just eggs, and they aren’t really Easter eggs or Passover eggs or rites of spring eggs. Just eggs. But rest assured, when “Doo Doo” happens, I will be on my knees rooting for the eggs full of money with the best of them. That's heavy stuff. Much heavier than pattering around about whether Tibetan Buddhism has an atonement soteriology or not. My father used to have this slogan on his desk: "When you're up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to remember the original objective was to drain the swamp." Deeply religious people, in my experience, tend NOT to want to drain this swamp--so they keep dumping in them alligators. Sometimes I can't blame 'em. Primal questions are RIGHT THERE. Religions give us a little bit of distance from those questions, but they're still there waiting for us in those moments when religion wears thin. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-04-13T19:18:07-06:00
ID
72050
Comment

Ali is a Catholic evangelist, a new thing. Just as suspected Sam Kinison was a past Priest, I suspected Ali was a former would-be-nun. Welcome back, Ali. We love you. I knew you belived in something greater than yourself and the deeds of present human kind. How else can you explain all that love and goodness you possess? You enlighten me just as Kinison did. Kinison finally cleared up for me the great mystery of why people drive drunk. He simply said "You got drunk and realized you needed to get home; you were trying to get there, and probably would have made it, had the police left you along." Smile.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-04-14T10:55:18-06:00
ID
72051
Comment

He simply said "You got drunk and realized you needed to get home; you were trying to get there, and probably would have made it, had the police left you along." LOL!!!

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-04-14T11:10:20-06:00
ID
72052
Comment

Ali, I liked this column a lot.

Author
Izzy
Date
2006-04-14T18:07:52-06:00
ID
72053
Comment

I called a Nun a witch once...I saw her there and screamed out the school bus window...Look at the witch!.....look at the witch!.....If I heard that story once I heard it a million times growing up, nefer live that kind of thing down until all the grown ups are gone.....I thought she was a witch for christs sake...she was dressed in black with one of those cape hats on....it was a Witch to me.....as close as I'd ever seen on the street in broad daylight. So.....if that was real then why not a giant rabbit walking around in the middle of the night with a basket of eggs filled with quarters.....and why not get up out of the ground after you've been heinously executed and buried.....You ever consider that Lazarus had to die twice......where's his missing gospel. I'll bet that will be an eye opener......I don't know....just thinking on Easter tide and happy I didn't ingnite the rack of lamp yesterday when I grilled out (like I did last year).

Author
ATLExile
Date
2006-04-17T16:17:44-06:00

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