Hearty Heresy


Happy Dyngus Day! And A Last Word on Last Week
April 9, 2007, 5:03 pm
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Heresy, Jesus, Religion, Theology

I was raised in northern Indiana and lived for quite a while in South Bend–which calls itself the Dyngus Day Capitol of the World (although Buffalo, N.Y may have a better claim)–so I know what Dyngus Day is all about. If you don’t, check out this quiz published last year in the South Bend Tribune. If I lived in South Bend still, I’d probably be too busy partying to blog today. But I don’t, so here I am, with one last word on Borg’s and Crossan’s The Last Week.

First, let me say that it’s an terrific book to read during Lent, no matter what your beliefs about Jesus may be. As Borg and Crossan put it, “Believe whatever you want about whether the stories happened this way–now let’s talk about what they mean.”

If you believe the tomb was empty, fine; now, what does this story mean? If you believe that Jesus’s appearances could have been videotaped, fine; now, what do these stories mean? And if you’re not sure about that, or even if you are quite sure it didn’t happen this way, fine; now, what do these stories mean?

If that isn’t an open invitation to a wider conversation about Jesus and the meaning of the crucifixion and the stories about the resurrection, I don’t know what is. It’s definitely an attitude I’d like to see more Christians taking, rather than: “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”

At any rate, Borg and Crossan see Easter as God’s vindication of Jesus. “God has said ‘yes’ to Jesus and ‘no’ to the powers who executed him. Easter is God’s ‘yes’ to Jesus against the powers who killed him.” As someone who’s trying to comprehend and appreciate the teachings of the living Jesus, I find this a good way to look at the Easter story–God has vindicated what Jesus stood for, what he was passionate about (to use Borg’s and Crossan’s language). And what was Jesus passionate about? Bringing about the Kingdom of God, “to incarnate the justice of God by demanding for all a fair share of a world belonging to and ruled by the covenantal God of Israel.”

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