Tag Archives: the Cross

Mandatory: A Christian Maundy Thursday Reflection

Simon Ushakov's icon of the Mystical Supper.

Simon Ushakov’s icon of the Mystical Supper. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holy Week. What is holiness? Is it about our personal feelings and experiences, our subjectivities and freedom? disruptive: mandatory.

What is Holy Week? What is a week? Keep the Sabbath, remember it, set it apart for you, your family, the foreigners in your land (the aliens, strangers), as well as your forced laborers. disruptive: mandatory.

What is Maundy Thursday? Mandatory. Jesus gave commands to his disciples to go find a man who had a house where they could celebrate the Jewish Passover. Why were they celebrating the Passover? disruptive: mandatory.

Remember that YHWH is the Lord your God, and that YHWH was the one who rescued you from Egypt.

Mandatory. Memory. Remember. Demanding. This is God’s Son’s precious gift to us all: the gift of a memory, and in that moment, a mandate. This mandate is to give ourselves and our possessions to others as God has given Godself to us. Holy Week, because its not about us, its about God’s Son, Christ Jesus. One thing that God requires this week for the Church, and that is to remember for those who are able, to focus our lives on the Cross, a gruesome act of violence, to behold it, and to look out at others outside ourselves who are suffering.

What do these perishing bodies say to us?

disruptive: mandatory

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Paul Tillich and the Protestant Principle

“The criterion of the truth of faith, therefore, is that it implies an element of self-negation.  That symbol is most adequate which expresses not only the ultimate but also its own lack of ultimacy.  Christianity expresses itself in such a symbol in contrast to all  other religions, namely, in the Cross of the Christ. Jesus could not have been the Christ without sacrificing himself as Jesus to himself as the Christ Any acceptance of Jesus as the Christ which is not the acceptance of Jesus as the Crucified is a form of idolatry.”

— Paul Tillich, Dynamics of Faith, page 98.

Tillich goes on to claim that this theology of the Cross, when applied to authoritarian structures, Biblicism, and the “whole history of religion and culture” is what makes Protestantism superior to Roman Catholicism. He goes on to say, “The Protestant faith, in an unmediated, person-to-person, encounter with God, produces more independent personalities than the Catholic faith and its ecclesiastical mediation between God and man” (116-117). My critique for Moltmann’s exclusivism rightly applies to Tillich. Anti-Catholicism is not only unnecessary in this instance, it is also ahistorical. This is not to say there is a difference, but I am saying, its not like Protestantism doesn’t have a history of forming its conformists and fascists, particularly in the American South. Yah, I did say that.

Tillich should perhaps his own commentary on the Cross into account:

“hope is only justified if a religion remains aware of the conditional and non-ultimate character of its own symbols. Christianity express this awareness in the symbol of the “cross of the Christ”–even if the Christian churches neglect the meaning of this symbol by attributing ultimacy to their own particular expression of ultimacy.The radical self criticism of Christianity makes it most capable of universality–so long as it maintains this self-criticism as a power in its own life.”–(Dynamics of FAith page 125)