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August 24, 2004

Comments

Scott

Greg

I disagree escatalogically with you, but I do agree that the resurection - the climax of Jesus' mission on earth - is not a focal point of both our ethical and practical focus. I for one am constantly convicted of both my and the church's inadequate performance of Jesus' ethics.

Back to one of your previous blogs, we all have the opportunity of being another Mother Teresa. I'm not saying that we must all achieve what she did...but then again in who's eyes are we looking for achievement? I think she (Mother Teresa) did what she did not because of Jesus' sacrifice, but because of his resurection.

Think about that; if we were truly to act solely on His sacrifice, we'd be doing exactly what the church (as a whole) is doing now... missing the forest for the trees. Discipleship at the cost of relationship is not the answer. Scaring me shitless may get me "saved" in your eyes, but it won't get me to see things in a Jesus-conscious way.

marty

Over the last few years I've had the opportunity to experience a wider array of people than I ever had in my life in Oklahoma (diversity being one of the key joys of living in a city). I've found this specific division of perspective expressed in my experiences with Christians from other countries. Now, this could very well sound ignorant, but I've discussed it at length with one of my service mentors here (an awesome Jebbie raised in New Jersey who actually got to work with Mother Teresa for a short while... I want to tell his whole history, but I've already strayed so much) and I believe it to be pretty accurate:
It would seem that poorer communities- especially non-european ones- focus primarily on the sacrifice of Jesus and wealthier communities focus primarily on the ressurection.
And here's why, I think. The feeling of torment and injustice is so encompassing for so many of these people (not that they're wandering around playing the martyr, but let's face it, they recognize their own struggles), that seeing the sacrifice and the injustice of Jesus bloody execution makes them understand that they have a future and it's not in this lousy place, it's with the one who's been through the terrible things they experience. Well, first-worlders don't have the troubles that third-worlders do, and they wish to experience the rejuvenation that Jesus' resurrection indicates.
Now, even in the first world, as we've all seen, there is suffering and abject poverty, but you'll find that even among the working poor (so many little Baptist churches in Arkansas are full of these noble types who seem to begrudge nobody their wealth, even though they've never prospered) this focus on the blood sacrifice is present. What are the songs I grew up singing? There were songs of freedom and songs of the Blood. I'll Fly Away and Washed in the Blood, et cetera. And I think it mirrors a sort of impetus for the conversion of many of those folks. This life is ugly for us. We have nothing lasting and we feel this pain. There is something better. Thank God we'll eventually die and be able to go on to paradise and not have to feel this anymore.

I hope that wasn't too disjointed.

Scott Jones

James Cone, the African-American Liberation Theologian, however, says that the resurrection hope is central to Black Theology. I just read that chapter yesterday. He references Moltmann extensively as a cross-reference, Moltmann finding the resurrection hope to also be the single most central element of Christianity.

marty

My mentor, the Jesuit of whom I spoke, related a story to me of a conference in Brazil of Jesuits from around the world. He said that on the first day of the conference, before the first session of the day, many of them were sitting in the cafeteria drinking coffee and talking and a huge argument broke out between the South American priests and the European priests about which was more important.
I would have rather enjoyed the spectacle.

Scott Jones

I firmly believe that the Resurrection is the most important theological concept of Christianity. Why, because it is the resurrection that provides hope. It says that life trumps death, beauty trumps ugliness, joy trumps sorrow, liberation trumps oppression, etc. The crucifixion without the resurrection is a horrifying death (see Mel Gibson) that does nothing.

The death came as the result of living a radical life in opposition to the powers-that-be. The resurrection confirms that life and establishes the kingdom of God.

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