Popular culture and social media has made failure into a status symbol, but usually presents failing as an egalitarian stepping stone to entail success. Almost like a rite of passage.
David Zahl points out that this cultural tendency to gloss over failure as a stepping stone to success short-changes the suffering of those who fail, and whose failures cannot be stepped from quickly or easily.

The notion that failure is not failure but the first step toward its opposite may be absurd, but it is also suitably and undeniably cult-like. Ironically, such silver-lining-itis buffers us from the very suffering we are theoretically venerating.
Honest failure, on the other hand, hurts. It is painful. It is out of our control. And there’s nothing we like less than that.
Obviously some failures do lead to success. Some dead-ends do herald new beginnings. This is especially true in relationships. But some do not. A biblical truism captures this dynamic: you cannot pole-vault over Good Friday to get to Easter. A death must truly be a death before there can be new life. Christ was not hanging from the cross checking his watch — “another few hours of this and then it’s smooth sailing.” He really suffered and really died. He experienced true separation from God. What happened thereafter was unexpected.
Which is to say, failure in the service of success is not actually failure.

David Zahl, Seculosity, Fortress Press, 2019, pg. 37.

2 thoughts on “A Death Must Truly Be A Death Before There Can Be New Life (via David Zahl)

  1. Christian scripture says Zadok, Solomon’s priest’s, followers – Zadokim whence “Sadducees”, didn’t believe in Resurrection. Jesus believed in life after death as the Resurrection of body AND soul, inseparably in the Kingdom of Heaven not as some place, but as this earth, Adam’s Paradise revived, under God’s governance, the bodies/souls of the resurrected obeying His laws, notably the command “Aga’paté allélous” “take loving, respectful care of each other” a corollary of Hillel the Great’s “What hurts you, don’t do to your neighbour” the Pharisee archetype of the “The Golden Rule” enunciated by Jesus at His last Seder. Hellenistic dualism, soul independent of body, as in Neoplatonist bits of Augustinus Hipponensis, is often justified by manipulative translations like “Truly I say unto you, this day you will be with Me in Paradise.” NAUGHTY! Greek latecomer Luke may have invented the Good “Thief”, but he didn’t punctuate. When we say “I’m telling you right here and now, Geelong will win the 2019 Grand Final” nobody thinks the flag will be won THIS INSTANT. Demotic Greek, or Koiné, had a similar idiom: in
    Luke 23:43:
    . . amén soi légô sémeron (common expression = truly to you I say this day)
    met ’emou ‘esé en tô(i) Paradei’sô(i)
    (= you will be with me in Paradise.)
    Paradise, cognate of Periteichos, a super garden. The future EARTH perfected, not Tartarus or Olympus or in Aristophanes’ “Ornithoi”
    the pre Heckle, Jeckle and Donald Duck anthropomorphic birds’ Nephelekokkugia, literally Cloud Cuckoo Land.

    1. Gary Ware says:

      It was very thoughtful of Jesus while struggling for breath and dying on the cross to tell his fellow executionee what day it was when announcing the reality of eternal life.
      But yes, despite the sadducees lineage they were wrong and our hope is in the resurrection life in the new heavens and new earth.
      Looking forward to seeing you there.
      (Geelong. heh.)

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