Friday, February 1, 2013

Moltmann and The Liberation of the Cross

"It promises first of all the pain of repentance and fundamental change. It offers no recipe for success. But it brings a confrontation with the truth. It is not positive and constructive, but is in the fist instance critical and destructive. It does not bring man into a better harmony with himself and his environment, but into contradiction with himself and his environment. It does not create a home for him and integrate him into society, but makes him homeless and rootless, and liberates him in following Christ who was homeless and rootless. The 'religion of the cross', if faith on this basis can ever be called, does not elevate and edify in the usual sense, but scandalizes; and most of all it scandalizes one's 'co-religionists' in one's own circle. But by this scandal, it brings liberation into a world which is not free." 
--Jurgen Moltmann, "The Crucified God" pg39.

In thinking about Christology and working my way through the myriad of material, I was struck by Moltmann's quote above. I don't quite agree with all of it so I'll start with that.

I think in some ways, depending on context, the truth itself is a positive proposition. If one is incorrect, then certainly the truth can be devastating, but I wish to nuance this a bit. I think it depends on the level of falsehood within a certain viewpoint. There are certainly differences between Mormon and Evangelical Christians, but there would be greater differences between the lack of religion within certain European countries and the "americanized" Christianity most of us would fall into. I think it would be better to say something instead that the crucifixion can mean a whole host of things to one who is already familiar with the concept and one who has no conception of what they would concieve of as monotheism.

But that's more nitpicky on my part.

The biggest aspect of this that struck me was the idea of the cross as liberation. Moltmann sees Jesus' death as solidarity with all of humanity, dying a common and painful death like most of those who currently sleep, to borrow a Pauline term. It awakens us to new perspective and identification with those that are not only outside our circles, but also in that we can never see such ideals in the same light again.

It demands change and self-involvement with those that would rather be alone and afraid and isolated. It breaks down the social barriers that divide and instead proposes an entire unity within not only the church but with all humanity. Moltmann doesn't proof-text above, but I think Paul's letter to the Galatians is something that Jurgen would get giddy over right about now.

Consequently, this invites another dilemma in that the cross demands change, and this brings forth contradiction. We cannot live in such a way as we currently are when encountered by the Crucified God. This invokes freedom ἐν Χριστῷ.

Something has to give. 

--Nick

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