As a former Christian Minister who led hundreds of Easter services over the years, these holydays continue to get me reflective. My wife (a Presbyterian Minister) was amused this weekend when I brought a bible to breakfast to read her a passage from First Peter about Jesus preaching to the dead in “prison” since the “days of Noah.” I assume this is the origin of the strange idea of “purgatory.” Over waffles and poached eggs we had a light conversation about the psychology of persecuted peoples and their need for stories that give meaning and hope. As we finished I made the comment, “You know, if people hadn’t made these stories so literal and presented them from the beginning as myths of meaning and hope, we might all read them alongside Greek myths and other fables to enjoy and draw common ethics and such from them.”
There are times I consider writing another book and I would title it, Saving Jesus (from his followers): A Secular Chaplain’s Gospel. Or something like that.