Recently I’ve been reflecting on a brilliant little book by Stanley Hauerwas entitled Cross-Shattered Christ.
Cross-Shattered Christ is a series of meditations on the seven last words of Jesus on the cross, and a profound theological engagement with what it means that the Son of God was crucified.
Vintage Hauerwas – few reflections I have read on the passion have been so emotive, humbling, and thought provoking.
Here are a few selections that particularly stood out to me,
On the task of theology:
“Theology is the delicate art necessary for the Christian community to keep its story straight. That story consists of beliefs and behaviors that are actions required by the content of the story. The work of theology is, therefore, never finished.” pg. 17
On atonement theories:
“Such theories try to help us understand why Jesus, the son of God, had to die. We think it is really very simple: Jesus had to die because we needed and need to be forgiven. But, ironically, such a focus shifts attention from Jesus to us. This is a fatal turn, I fear, because as soon as we begin to think this is all about us, about our need for forgiveness, bathos drapes the cross, hiding from us the reality that here we first and foremost see God.” pg. 28
“this thief is right that Jesus is about a kingdom, a kingdom that threatens the kingdoms of this world… ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’ ‘Remembrance’ is the form an eschatological politics – that is, a politics of hope – must take before the cross of Christ. Such a politics is not a utopian ideal to be realized in the future; it is as real as the body and blood of Christ we receive Sunday after Sunday.” pg. 47
Fitting for personal reflection, group study, or Lent, Hauerwas’ meditation on the cross – with accompanying woodcuts by Rick Beerhorst – is well worth reading and re-reading slowly and contemplatively .