Thursday, December 02, 2004

postal scrotum: Lee tackles the Jesus question


re: Your question about "taking up your cross" to follow Jesus.

I'm sure this has already occurred to you, but for the record my take on that exhortation has always been that suffering will inevitably be the lot in life of a follower of Jesus because his way is so fundamentally at odds with the standards of the (fallen) world. In other words, Christians don't need to *seek out* suffering, because if they are faithful disciples they will naturally find themselves pitted against the powers that be. The fact that so many Christians nevertheless manage to live quite comfortably perhaps says a lot about our idea of what it means to follow Jesus.

Is it "compassionate" for Jesus to want his followers to live this way? I think the answer is "yes" if you accept that the life of discipleship is consonant with the way the universe works at a fundamental level. To steal a line from John Howard Yoder, "the people who bear crosses are working with the grain of the universe." That is, despite the ample evidence that the universe is an agonistic struggle for existence, Christians believe that the final word is one of love & peace. Living in accordance with that deeper truth (if it is in fact the truth!) would then be the most compassionate thing one could advocate.

Keep up the excellent work.




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