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Can we still smile amidst the fear and consternation of our days

05/05/2014

In my already long theological trajectory, from the beginning in the 1960s, there have always been two central themes that represent the singularities of Christianity: the society-like conception of God, (the Trinity) and the idea of the resurrection after death. If we omitted these two themes, almost nothing would change from traditional Christianity. It fundamentally predicates monotheism (only one God), as if we were Jews or Moslems. And instead of resurrection, it prefers the Platonic theme of the immortality of the soul. This is a sad loss, because we have stopped professing something special, I would say almost exclusive to Christianity, which is charged with joviality, hope, and an innovating sense of the future.

God is not the loneliness of the one, the terror of philosophers and theologians. God is the communion of three Uniques, that because they are unique are not just numbers, but a dynamic movement between diverse, equally eternal and infinite relationships – relationships so intimate and intertwined that they preclude the existence of three gods, but only one God-love-communion-inter-retro-communication. Ours is a Trinitarian monotheism, and not a-Trinitarian or pre-Trinitarian. This is how we differ from Jews and Muslims, and other monotheist traditions.

Saying that God is relationship and communion of infinite love, and that from God all things derive, allows us to understand what quantum physics has been saying for almost a century: everything in the universe is relationship, the intertwining of all with all, creating an intricate network of connections that form the unique and only universe. God, in effect, is the image and likeness of the Creator, the source of infinite interrelations between diverse beings, that are called Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This concept removes the foundation from any and all centralism, monarchism, authoritarianism and patriarchies, that used to find in a unique God and unique Lord their justification, as some critical theologians have already observed. The society-like God, however, offers metaphysical support for all types of sociality, participation and democracy.

But since preachers generally do not refer to the Trinity, but only to God (lonely and unique), there is lost a source of criticism, creativity and social transformation in the development of democracy, and of a participation that is open and without end.

Something similar occurs with the theme of the resurrection. The resurrection constitutes the central nucleus of Christianity, its point d’honneur. It gathered again the community of the apostles after the execution of Jesus of Nazareth on the cross (they were all returning, broken hearted, to their homes). It was the testimony of the women who said: “that Jesus who was dead and buried lives and has resurrected”. The resurrection is not a kind of reanimation of a corpse, such as Lazarus, who finally died like anyone else, but the revelation of the novissimus Adam in the joyous expression of Paul: the irruption of the definitive Adam, the new human being, as if a good ending to the entire process of anthropogenesis and cosmogenisis were being forecast. Consequently; a revolution in evolution.

The Christianity of early times lived in this faith in the resurrection, summarized by Saint Paul saying: “If Christ did not resurrect our preaching is empty and our faith vain” (1Cor 15,14). In that case, it would be better to think: “let’s eat and drink because tomorrow we will die” (15,22). But if Jesus was resurrected, everything changes. We will also be resurrected, because He is the first among many brothers and sisters, “the first of those who died” (1Cor 15,20). In other words, and this is a good response to all those who say that we are beings-for-death: we die, yes, but we die to be resurrected, to leap towards the end of evolution and to anticipate it in the here and now of our temporality.

I do not know a more hope filled message than this one. Christians should announce it and live it everywhere. But Christians put it aside and were left with the Platonic pronouncement of the immortality of the soul. Others, as, ironically, Nietzsche already observed, are sad and taciturn, as if there were neither redemption nor resurrection. Pope Francis says that “they are Christians of Lent without resurrection” with “a funeral face”, they are so sad that they look as if they were going to their own funeral.

When someone dies, the end of the world arrives for that person. In that moment, the moment of death, resurrection occurs: it inaugurates time without time, the blessed eternity.

In an epoch such as ours, one of a general disintegration of social relations and of threats of devastation of life in its different forms, and even with the danger of the disappearance of our human species, it is worth standing for these two illuminations: That God is the communion of three who are a relation of love, and that life is not destined to personal and collective death, but to still more life. Christians point to a sign of this bet: The Crucified that was Transformed. He bears the signs of his painful passing among us, the marks of the torture and crucifixion, but, now transformed, the human potentialities hidden within Him were fully realized. That is why we announce Him as the new being among us.

Easter is not for celebrating anything other than this joyous reality, that helps us smile and to look to the future without fear or pessimism.

Free translation from the Spanish by
Servicios Koinonia, http://www.servicioskoinonia.org.
Done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.

4 Comentários leave one →
  1. Bernie permalink
    05/05/2014 12:04

    Resurrection is not central central to Christianity. The message of Jesus is central. That legend about the corpse suddenly disappearing – come on. Now you say: I don’t get the point. Then I answer: you are using the wrong language. Stop using “resurrection” as if you are talking about something getting up. Can you please explain in simple, everyday language – not using these terrible words that the church has used for ages to subjugate the faithful. Could it be that you are caught in some self-constructed theological system of thoughts? If it helps you, fine. But for me, it is not only meaningless, I get angry when I hear it because those pushing these stories are the one who abuse kids, are the one who unconditionally follow stupid rules from the vatican like the Nazi Germany followed Hitler, they are the ones who only care about themselves and being higher than anybody else, especially women. There is nothing these clerics can say anymore that will have any credibility with my kids. And what can I tell my kids? The world of religion has become so negative for them, that I cannot tell them anything!

    • 06/05/2014 23:16

      Bernie
      Me permito escribirle en español. La primera expresion que las comunidades primitivas dieron a la vida nueva de Jesús n fuee resurecion sino “elevación hacia Dios”. Después cuando Paulo se pone entre los griegos ahi si utiliza la palabra resureccion pero en un sentido totalmente diferente de lo usual. No es la reanimacion de un cadaver como el de Lazaro, sino la trasfiguración de la persona de jesus. Utiliza un termino griego soma pneumatikon, cuerpo espiritual. Pero si es cuerpo ya no es espiritu, si es espíritu ya no es cuerpo. El lucha con las palabras para signficar el hecho de que con Jesus irrumpió el “novissimus Adam” el hombre nuevo. Poco importa como llamemos a esto. Pero si el no está vivo entre nosotros, o solamente por la memoria, estariamos todavia en el viejo orden. Yo creo que lo central del cristianismo es Jesus vivo, cosmico, presente en el proceso de evolucion, dentro de los procesos sociales y en las personas. El es el primero entre muchos hermanos y hermanos, nosostros partiipamos de esta viva nueva.
      abrazo
      lboff

  2. 05/05/2014 17:13

    Republicou isso em PASO A LA UTOPÍA.

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