A Thin Violence in the Desire to Influence
The way is down, friends. This way to freedom.
What does it mean to “influence?” The dictionary reads: “…the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.”
How do we look at it, at the process of influence? What’s our first visual image? Someone with charisma and someone with a little less than? Someone with a good answer and someone with a little less than? Someone with _______ and someone with a little less than?
Is it the “strong” making something happen in the “weak?”
But, friends, what is “strong?” What is Continue reading
(The conclusion of a short series: comparing four views of the cross from the four Gospel writers.)
“John ‘spiritualizes’ the cross more than the synoptic [Matthew, Mark and Luke] authors do, stressing the intimate connection between Jesus’ crucifixion and his exaltation. The life of the Son of God is best understood as a journey: he comes from his preexistent state in heaven, dwells among women and men, then returns to heaven. In essence, John overcomes the scandal of the cross by interpreting in terms of Jesus’ exaltation (12.32-36). Of spiritual significance for believers are the moments on the cross when Jesus confers a familial relationship on the beloved disciple and Mary, then gives up his spirit (19.26, 30). Orthodox Christian faith sees the establishment of the Church and Christian tradition in these acts. Christian spirituality is thus understood to be informed by Jesus’ spirit.” The New Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, “Cross and Spirituality”, Elizabeth Koenig, p. 221.
I think we can agree that John’s take on the cross (and so much else about Jesus) is a bit different than the other Gospel writers – but we love his perspective all the same.
As you remember reading John’s description of the cross, how do you relate to what Koenig wrote? I found the Orthodox conferring of the spirit part most intriguing.
This concludes the short series comparing the four Gospels and four views on the cross. I hope the brevity and the resource was helpful. I enjoyed thinking through this myself.
“Luke brings two distinctive emphases [on the cross]. One the one hand, he inserts a psychological and spiritual theme when Jesus says, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me’ (9.23) [quoted author's emphasis]. On the other hand, Luke’s identification of Jesus’ passion as that of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah emphasizes the salvation-historical necessity of the cross, the universality of his mission, and highlights Jesus’ exaltation and vindication as the salvific event (24.46-47). Spiritually, this suggests that believers should mirror that universality through gracious acceptance of others, Gentiles, Jews, and criminals in particular. Moreover, they should also embody the righteousness, humiliation, and lowliness of the Servant.” The New Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, “Cross and Spirituality”, Elizabeth Koenig, p. 221.
When I read this description of the cross and Luke’s gospel, I think about the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan. In those stories we see God in Jesus coming to embrace us, redefine solidarity with us, and send us loved in order to love.
How do you resonate?