Jesus as He is seen through the eyes of the Black, Asian and Latino/a Churchs.
Jesus as He is seen through the eyes of Queer Christians.
Jesus as He is seen through the eyes of Women.
Jesus as He is seen through the eyes of those who are 'differently abled'.
Jesus as He is seen in the global context of diversity, pluralism and interfaith realities of a world filled with pluraform truths.
I keep reading a chapter here in one book, then flipping over to a chapter there in another, and all well before the progression of reading I'm supposed to follow in the syllabus.
I simply can't wait for this class to begin on Wednesday so the class discussions can begin. I'm really looking forward to engaging with other students who are seeking Christ so we may better serve God's people.
Thinking About God" which was entitled, "Who is Jesus Christ for us today?"
Solle, of course, is a post-Reformation theologian who was deeply influenced by Martin Buber's "I and Thou". She was also writing contextually, as a feminist, and a post-Holocaust Christian and thus is seen as a major contributing influence to the development of liberation theology.
Her theological work on suffering as touched me for many, many years.
Solle's critique is against the assumption that God is all-powerful and the cause of suffering; humans thus suffer for some greater purpose. Instead, God suffers and is powerless alongside us. In Solle's theological approach, humans are to struggle together against oppression, sexism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of authoritarianism.
She made this one point which I'm still ruminating about this morning, and invite you to share some of your thoughts.
She writes that
"Liberalism produced a self-confident union of Christianity and culture, the "Christ of culture" of which Richard Niebuhr speaks. History appeared as a gradual progress. . . . that the human race is slowly being 'educated' by God to a greater humanity . . . is at the heart of liberal Cultural Protestantism. This optimistic perspective collapsed with the outbreak of the first World War. .... Behind the facade of industrial and scientific culture there suddenly appeared the barbarism of imperialism, of militarism, of contempt of the foreigner."Solle then writes about Karl Barth, who, in August, 1914 was shaken by the fact that all of the pastors and theologians he admired were jubilantly supportive of the First World War. Solle continues:
"Barth had been a young pastor when he experienced between the workers and cultural-liberal Christianity in Safenwil. He had come to experience the class struggle and in this helpless situation, he had to ask himself, 'What shall I preach? Where do I belong? What side am I on?' He understood that this culture was not a harmonious progress but stood under a judgment, a crisis. Judgment and crisis are important terms for this new theology: we are subject to God's judgment not to an increasingly refined divine education. History is not a history of progress, but a history of catastrophes and judgment."
I mean, I don't think I agree. But, that may be because my image of God is very different from Solle - because, well, for one, I am a woman in a different culture and of a different time. Certainly, the Holocaust continues to challenge my understandings of God and humanity, but not as I imagine it would as a German Christian woman who had lived through two world wars and the Holocaust.
I think I have a decidedly post-modern perspective that is probably more influenced by immoral wars like Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as the threat of Nuclear Arms. My theology has also been shaped and formed in the crucible of the AIDS pandemic, which has opened my thinking to the interconnection of global trade routes, imperialism, militarism and disease.
This just may be me being Anglican, but I'm not sure it's a "either / or" as Barth or Solle want me to believe. I suspect that catastrophes are part of the ways God teaches us about the mystery of the Divine nature as well as the enterprise of being human.
I suppose I have the luxury of taking a longer view. Sometimes, that "progress" is harmonious. Sometimes, it's catastrophic. Either way, I think it comes down to this: The awe-full gift of Free Will.
What do you think?
What do you know of God through your knowledge and experience of Jesus from your own 'social location' of things like your gender, race, ethnicity, and social/class status?
I'd love to hear from you and promise to take some of your perspectives into class with me, which I trust will make important contributions to the discussion.
I promise not to do this every day, but I might be a little heavy handed at first. You'll understand and forgive me, I trust.
So, what do you think: Is history a history of progress or catastrophe and evidence of God's judgment? Is it either/or or both/and?
And, as you consider this question, also consider the following two:
If you were in the midst of Mark's Gospel (8:27), and Jesus asked you, "Who do men say that I am?", how would you answer?
If Jesus then pushed you a bit further and said, "But who do YOU say that I am?" how would you answer?
I'm so looking forward to hearing your thoughts.