Thursday, March 22, 2007

POLITICS OF THE CROSS

Here are a few quotes from one chapter in John Howard Yoder's The Politics of Jesus:

NOT MERELY MYSTICAL. “As long as [we] could stay unaware of the political/social dimension of Jesus’ ministry (which most of Christendom seems to have done quite successfully), then it was also possible to perceive the ‘in Christ’ language of the Epistles as mystical or the ‘dying with Christ’ as psychologically morbid. But if we may posit…that the apostles had and taught at least a core memory of their Lord’s earthly ministry in its blunt historicity, then centering the apostolic ethic upon the disciple’s cross evidences a substantial, binding, costly social stance.”

CONSCIOUS OF THE COST. “The cross of Christ was not an inexplicable or chance event, which happened to strike him, like illness or accident. To accept the cross as his destiny, to move toward it and even to provoke it, when he could well have done otherwise, was Jesus’ constantly reiterated free choice; and he warns his disciples lest their embarking on the same path be less conscious of its costs.”

NO LESSER CAUSE OR CLASH. “The cross of Calvary was not a difficult family situation, not a frustration of visions of personal fulfillment, a crushing debt or nagging in-law; it was the political, legally to be expected result of a moral clash with the powers ruling his society.”

IMITATION OF CHRIST. “There is but one realm in which the concept of imitation [of Christ] holds—but there it holds in every strand of the New Testament literature and all the more strikingly by virtue of the absence of parallels in other realms: this is at the point of the concrete social meaning of the cross in relation to enmity and power. Servanthood replaces dominion, forgiveness absorbs hostility. Thus—and only thus—are we bound by New Testament thought to ‘be like Jesus.’”

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