Wednesday, April 18, 2007

No grounds for pride

Do Christians today have any idea of just how shameful and repulsive crucifixion was in Jesus' day? Mark Lauterbach pulls no punches in comparing the shame of crucifixion to having one's name added the sexual predator's list today:
Give us morality so we can improve ourselves. Give us religion so we can discipline our lives. Give us philosophical systems so we can think our way to a better life. Give us money and political power so we can make a good society. But do not give us a crucified, bleeding God. That insults us. We do not want a Savior who humbles our pride -- we want a God who makes us proud -- or we want a God who assists us in our good intentions.

Can you hear the pride in it? Can you hear the quest for respectability? Can you hear the desire for self-help and self-improvement? Can you see the love of visible success and obvious gain?

I have come to a simple question these days -- if this is how humankind hears the Gospel of a crucified Savior -- why do I think I can dress Jesus up in a more appealing way? He simply cannot be dressed up. The Son of God became totally weak, was reduced willingly to the most shaming form of death, and in his suffering and death, God was bringing redemption. Faith in Jesus is a call to be identified with One who was despised -- not with "Jesus as my homeboy"
Amen. That's from Part One. Part two is worth reading, too. Mark concludes: "There is no ground for proud preaching of the cross."


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