towards liberation

At a certain point the means toward an end lead to very different conceptions of what the end should be and it is thus vital for Christian theology not to merely add Christian terminology to non-Christian or even anti-Christian goals.

Liberation, in other words, is not all the same, and there can be forms of liberation that perpetuate rather than alleviate systemic patterns of violence and oppression.

The goal, in a Christian sense, is not just victory or justice over the enemy, but justice for the oppressed that lead to new patterns of living for all in a shared community.

Love must replace hate, hope must replace despair, joy for anger, life for death.

A true pattern of liberation, in a Christian sense, offers this invitation to all: sinners and tax collectors and Democrats and Republicans, men and women, Greek and American and Palestinian and Jew, Black and Asian and Hispanic and White.

This does not dismiss or erase contexts, rather it encounters the stories, listens to the experiences, acknowledges the hurts, frustrations and shame.  Hope is not through dismissing but acknowledging the depth of hurt is so much that the only way to find peace is through the one who has gone to the depths of death itself and brought resurrection to it.  Our liberation is out of always different situations, and those situations are part of our testimony and our despair. Holding onto death, however, leads us back into oppression.

When Jesus meets us in the place of our death, we can hold onto the story of death or we can grasp onto the future that Christ brings to death.  Liberation never negates; it does offer a way forward, that involves sharing together a path towards life.

Liberation is resurrection, a hope, a dream, a life offered in resolution of shame and guilt and blame and frustration.

This is the eschatological invitation of the Kingdom, not a natural progression. It’s not always even what we want, that’s why Jesus was crucified, after all. But it is the invitation even still, a persistent invitation that defies defiance, confronts violence, resists rage and points to the way that is life.

Precisely because it is not a natural progression is what makes it a particularly Christian proposal. Such liberation is not a vestige of human idealism, over-realized anthropology, or personal ambition framed in the guise of working for gain of others so as to maximize one’s own gain.

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