Thursday, December 07, 2006

I've been getting a lot of insight from the book The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann. Here's a quote from page 91...
Jesus is remembered and presented by the early church as the faithful embodiment of an alternative consciousness. In his compassion, he embodies the anguish of those rejected by the dominant culture, and as embodied anguish, he has the authority to show the deathly end of the dominant culture. Quite clearly, the one thing the dominant culture cannot tolerate or co-opt is compassion, the ability to stand in solidarity with the victims of the present order. It can manage charity and good intentions, but it has no way to resist solidarity with pain or grief. So the structures of competence and competition stand helpless before the one who groaned the groans of those who are hurting, and in their groans they announce the end of the dominant social world. The imperial consciousness lives by its capacity to still the groans and to go on with business as usual as though none were hurting and there were no groans. If the groans become audible, if they can be heard in the streets and markets and courts, then the consciousness of domination is already jeopardized... Jesus had the capacity to give voice to the very hurt that had been muted, and therefore newness could break through. Newness comes precisely from expressed pain. Suffering made audible and visible produces hope, articulated grief is the gate of newness, and the history of Jesus is the history of entering into the pain and giving it voice"
I am coming to realize that much of the hard work of the kingdom involves entering into the pain of others and visioning alternatives. It is indeed a journey to the cross. It is in enlarging our capacity to suffer that we become like him and know him.

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