I found Jesus.
I don’t mean in the; ‘I’m born again’; ‘send money to my t.v. ministry’; ‘hooray for Sarah Palin’; sense. I mean I found an image of Jesus in the frame beneath an 8×10 photograph of my cousin Steve. Steve’s picture was taken when he was about 5 years old. He’s 56 now.
With my previous serendipitous finds under old family photos, I have shared the results of my research about the subjects and their filmography. That doesn’t seem appropriate in this case. Most people, arguably any that care, already know what they believe to be true about his bio. Also, most of us know many of the movies in which he was involved. I guess true believers could argue that he was involved in all movies (maybe not porn….or Ishtar) but I was thinking of a more narrow definition; Greatest Story Ever Told; The Robe; Quo Vadis, The Life of Brian, etc. Given that someone in the dark days of my family’s past thought it prudent to slide my young cousin’s picture in on top of an image of JC, I thought my time would be better spent looking into something of more pressing concern; like the definitions of and penalties for blasphemy and what info I can glean about generational curses.
Blasphemy’ is; “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for a religious deity or the irreverence towards religious or holy persons or things.” Poop!
Cousin Steve was an exceptionally beautiful child and my Grandmother certainly thought he could do no wrong, but I would be hard-pressed to claim that covering up the face of OLAS (our Lord and Savior) for the past 50 years with his youthful countenance might not represent “irreverence towards religious or holy things”. So just how big a deal is this?
Christian theology condemns blasphemy. It is spoken of in Mark 3:29, where blaspheming the Holy Spirit is spoken of as unforgivable—the eternal sin”; I guess, in that sense, it is like the Cruciatus Curse in Harry Potter. Yikes! I can already feel the Dementors circling over Phoenix.
Thomas Aquinas says that “it is clear that blasphemy, which is a sin committed directly against God, is more grave than murder, which is a sin against one’s neighbor. … it is called the most grievous sin, for as much as it makes every sin more grievous.”. Come on Tom; give a guy a break!
The Westminster Larger Catechism explains that “The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, the abuse of it in an ignorant, vain, irreverent, profane…mentioning…by blasphemy…to profane jests, …vain janglings, …to charms or sinful lusts and practices.” I’m not sure what “vain janglings” are but I choose to believe they have nothing to do with the wanton framing of family photos. Unfortunately, I am still seeing ‘irreverent practices’ mentioned. Double Poop!
For a moment I thought there was a loophole in there. They specifically cite the 3rd Commandment; which makes sense since the Westminster Catechism was written by and for Protestants. For Catholics, however, the 3rd Commandment is; “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy”. I have no reason to believe the heinous framing transgression occurred on a Sunday so I can claim a pretty clear conscience re: violating Catholic #3. I’d like to think that gets me off the hook with Thomas Aquinas but he would probably point out the clear violation of the Catholic #2. I don’t like my odds in a debate of the issue with T. A. He has an unfair advantage; being a saint and all.
On the other side of the coin, if I were Catholic there are specific prayers and devotions known as Acts of Reparation for Blasphemy. Unfortunately, all of my family are Southern Baptists so we take no truck with such papist gyrations.
Islam and Judaism are equally harsh in their condemnation of blasphemy but since it was a picture of OLAS involved in the actual framing offense I think they will both cede jurisdiction to the Christians. That doesn’t help me much.
One would think there ought to be some kind of break since I am not the one who committed the actual framing offense. No such luck! I couldn’t find anything specific about blasphemous framing practices but everywhere I looked was more bad news. If blasphemy is worse than other sins, I can’t really claim the punishment should be more lenient than, for example, having a child out-of-wedlock where the family is cursed for 10 generations. I am not too worried about downstream generations since I do not anticipate progeny. It is the upstream generations that are worrisome. Both Exodus and Numbers refer to; “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation.” That’s no cause for optimism. On the back of the image is a note stating it was copyrighted in 1937. More importantly, Steve’s picture was taken about 1960. I can’t assume the guilty ancestor was more than 4 generations removed but still framing photos in 1960.
To add insult to condemnation, I saw on the news this morning that the United Nations General Assembly plans to introduce a resolution condemning blasphemy. I don’t know who told them about my cousin Steve’s photo but I think that is a bit of an over-reaction. In any case, there is no way to spin it as good news.