"Scripture without theology is Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark."


No Language, however strong, violent, or emphatic will expunge from the mind of the average anti-Christian the picture he has formed of Christian Soteriology, viz: that Jehovah (the old man with the beard) made the world and made it so badly that it all went wrong and he wanted to burn it up in a rage; whereat the Son (who was younger and nicer, and not implicated in his Father's irresponsible experiment) said: "Oh, don't do that! If you must torment somebody, take it out of me." So Jehovah vented his sadistic spite on a victim who had nothing to do with it all, and thereafter begrudgingly allowed people to go to heaven if they provided themselves with a ticket of admission signed by the Son...This grotesque mythology is not in the least exaggerated: it is what they think we mean.

Dorothy L. Sayers, 1941

But I find hope in [James] Alison’s understanding of Christ as the one who takes over the place of shame and violence so others no longer have to—that it is not God who required sacrifice, but us. Jesus walked into the space of our hate and showed us our folly. Alison says: “My thesis is that Christianity is a priestly religion that understands that it is God’s overcoming of our violence by substituting himself for the victim of our typical sacrifices that opens up our being able to enjoy the fullness of creation as if death were not.” 
Both Christ on the cross and Vince on the cross are reminders to me of how foolishly I demand victims for my own violence and sacrifice others to cover my own shame, when ultimately, God would have me set down both violence and shame and choose instead to stand with Christ on behalf of those who’ve been forced into the place of shame and have suffered at the hands of violence. The cross should not be a symbol of sacrifice God required, but instead, a proclamation from God, saying, “No more”. Vince may remind us of those who “fit” on the cross, but it’s us, not God, who put him there. Will we say “No more”?

- Kj Swanson, 2010

(Thanks 2008 and 2010.)  Happy Easter, 2012 to you and yours!

1 comment:

Kj said...

I love you