A Critical Theological Reading of the Crucifixion

Continuing with the previous’ posts sharing of good work by others (it is so much better than my own):

There is an excellent book called A Guide to Prayer published by The Upper Room which I use for my studies. It combines traditional Episcopalian prayers, passages from the Bible, and a great deal of theology and criticism from pretty hard core theologian-philosophers. No Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer here.

Today, I read a profound and challenging interpretation of the meaning of the crucifixion. I’ll share it below, so we can all think on it together, and try to write about it intelligently after I’ve done more meditating myself.

from The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggenmann:

It is the crucifixion of Jesus that is the decisive criticism of the royal consciousness. The crucifixion of Jesus is not to be understood simply in good liberal fashion as the sacrifice of a noble man , nor should we too quickly assign a cultic, priestly theory of atonement to the event. Rather, we might see in the crucifixion of Jesus the ultimate act of prophetic criticism in which Jesus announces the end of a world of death (the same announcement as that of Jeremiah) and takes that death into his own person. Therefore we say that the ultimate criticism is that God himself embraces the death that his people must die. The criticism consists not in standing over but in standing with; the ultimate criticism is not one of triumphant indignation but one of the passion and compassion that completely and irresistibly undermine the world of competence and competition. The contrast is stark and total: this passionate man set in the midst of numbed jerusalem. And only the passion can finally penetrate the numbness.

(This is on page 109 of A Guide to Prayer, Upper Room Ministeries, 1983 http://www.upperroom.org, here: http://bookstore.upperroom.org/cart/upperroom/p-17105.htm )

I encourage us all to chew on this passage. Let’s come back and discuss it soon.


About Shannon Blue Christensen

Storyteller. Author. Editor. Literary Critic. Director. Teacher. Knitter. nascent Musician. Student. Operations and Quality. Marketing. Historian. Lear's Fool. View all posts by Shannon Blue Christensen

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