Please, no violence

At the heart of Christianity is the death of a man on a cross.

Faced with apparent failure, and seeking to hold on to belief in an all-powerful, all-loving God, the church has felt obliged to justify Jesus' death, claiming it was necessary for the reconciliation of humanity with God. 

But for many feminist theologians, it is Jesus’ life, not his death, which redeems. The cross is no more, and no less, than a violent crime. It is neither the will of God nor Jesus’ fate.

In Latin America, women theologians also challenge the violence of many redemption theories. Marcela Bosch (1992) considers how sacrificial theories of atonement legitimated the violence of the Argentine Doctrine of National Security, introduced during the military dictatorship. Marcella Althaus-Reid (2006) argues that Christ's story is not about payment, but about open solidarity and gift. Elsa Tamez (1993) also rejects "salvation by merit" and the unavoidable requirement to pay back debts. Instead, she reiterates God’s abundant grace, suggesting God’s justice is revealed not in the cross but in the resurrection of the condemned and excluded. 

Perhaps today, as Jesus is nailed to the cross once again, we need to turn our back on the crucifixion, and say, "No more."

No more taking up your cross.
No more suffering for others.
No more obedience unto death.


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Althaus-Reid, Marcella (2006) "From feminist liberation theology to queer theology" in Cardoso Pereira, Nancy, Eggert Edla, and Musskopf, André Sidnei (2006) A Graca Do Mundo Transforma Deus : Diálogos Latino-Americanos Com a Ix Assembléia Do Cmi/ The Grace of the World Transforms God: Latin-American Dialogues with the 9th Assembly of the WCC, Colecão Valetas;. Porto Alegre, Brazil: Editora Universitária Metodista, pp. 64-8.
Bosch, Marcela (1992) Del Dios sacrificador de la Doctrina de la Seguridad Nacional al Dios de la Vida (Tesis de Licenciada) Buenos Aires: ISEDET
Tamez, Elsa (1993) The Amnesty of Grace: Justification by Faith from a Latin America Perspective trans. Sharon H. Ringe Nashville: Abingdon Press [translation of Contra Toda Condena]

Comments

99 said…
I agree Rachel, "no more".

Although I am far from being a theologist, to me the exaltation of the crucifix is quite close to a cult to death.
Instead, I prefer the message of reaffirming faith in Life, everyday´s Resurrection and the living Christ in all of us.
No matter what religion.
I rather like to think on the Christ that miraculously walks over the Sea of uncertainties and where there´s no path he shows us the direction.

May I add to your "no more", "no more rules, no more adding sins, no more deaths in name of any religion"?
Or if I may express it in positive: "yes to principles, yes to compassion, yes to Life"

I´m going to leave you here a poem called "La Saeta" from the Spanish poet Antonio Machado (I don´t dare translating it!).
You might have already heard it before but the words are so beautiful and meaningful that I reproduce them here just in case.

¡Oh, la saeta, el cantar
al Cristo de los gitanos,
siempre con sangre en las manos,
siempre por desenclavar!
¡Cantar del pueblo andaluz,
que todas las primaveras
anda pidiendo escaleras
para subir a la cruz!
¡Cantar de la tierra mía
que echa flores
al Jesús de la agonía,
y es la fe de mis mayores!
¡Oh, no eres tú mi cantar!
¡No puedo cantar ni quiero
a ese Jesús del madero,
sino al que anduvo en el mar!


Sorry for the long comment.
Peace and Love
rachel said…
Thank you for all your words 99 and for sharing the poem too.

Today I received a message from a group of women who read the bible together in Argentina:
(http://www.rajab.com.ar/) urging:

"Let us not get used to death!"
david a holgate said…
Dear Rachel

I want to add my yes to this post. No more glorification of death; life is too precious.

David