Towards a Crucified Theology

Source: The Guardian

The Logic of the cross is portrayed as the folly of God to the human eye. St. Paul celebrates it in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1: 22-25).  Cross does interrogate the human logic of power.  It does present us with a weak God.  There is what we may call weak theology of the cross. It is in contrast to the high and might thinking and speaking of God. We may call such theologies as strong theologies as John Caputo does.  But there is a paradox that St. Paul discovers in his own weakness. He told us  When he said: when I am weak I am strong ( 2 Cor 12: 10). This is why a weak God is a strong God from the other side.  

 

Paul blurs the strict boundaries of our either /or thinking that would like to think weakness and strength as opposing each other. Paul seems to challenge us to think together the weakness and strength of God. His weak God is deep God, the strong God of the depths.  We need non-dual thinking to get into the depths of God and to see God’s wisdom in the folly of the cross.  What we consider as the logic of the fool (morologia) is the logic of madness of love. God madly loves humanity to the point of the cross. This is why maybe the cross has to become the Archimedean point, the zero point of God for us to zero on to the logic of love.  It is in the meta (next to / not in the sense of above but next to physics as in metaphysics, after physics) that follows along the hodos ( the way)  of the cross that we can dig out/ mine an explosive weak theology that is already celebrated by St. Paul.  It the way of the cross that shows how God sides with weakness to manifest his strength.  It is a logic of inversion that Pauls celebrates when he says when I am weak I am strong. 

 

 The weak theology thinks God outside the power and wisdom of the world.  It voids thinking of God as high and mighty. It is theology from below and not from above. We may use a familiar metaphor in India to understand it. It is a bullock cart theology and not a helicopter theology.  Thus the theology of the cross is not disguised/ masked theology of glory.  If that is so then we may have to grant that the folly of God is a way of God to fool the world.  It is  God’s unconditional love, the mad love. It is not a weapon to bring humanity to submission and it does not follow the logic of debt that is transactive and smacks of a  deal.  God’s love is a pure Gift. It seeks no return. It is not about the economic logic of exchange. It is above the logic of debt.  This is why it is mad. It is foolish as it is fullness of love without any condition. It contests our conceptions of a hero. The line between the fool and hero is crossed on the side of the fool.

 

  This means God chooses kenosis, emptying, becoming non-being and makes it a site of his power and wisdom. In doing so, God follows the logic of love, the logic of his mad love that the smart world will call scandal and look at with scorn.  Therefore, to the pious who wish that the high and mighty God come in power and crush his/her enemies with miracles and magic,  the weak theology is a  scandal and to the theologians who think with their God on high (bracketing that God is with us, the God of the cross) the weak theology becomes the logic of the fool ( morologia), a foolish nonsense (moira).    This means we have to come to accept a crucified theology.  The crucified theology is hanging the naked/ weak and is deprived of the triumphant language of strong theologies. 

 

The mad and unconditional love of God is not a cunning winning strategy aimed at gunning humanity.  The mad love is unconditional and hence respectful of human freedoms.  If the cross of  Christ was simply a cunning strategy of God to win humanity, it would be a heresy that we call Docetism.  Docetism makes the entire passion on the cross not real. It follows the deceptive logic of the high and might of the world. The transacting logic of the economic exchange is not the logic of love. Love that is unconditional is not a symbolic exchange that is parallel to the symbolic exchange of commerce.    The crucified theology does not follow the logic of the market. It cannot mimic the capitalist stratagem in its thought and articulation.   The folly of the cross is not a smart God trying to outsmart the world.  Such logic is not the logic of the cross. It is not the strength of God that is hiding in apparent weakness.  The God of the cross is really weak. But as Paul would say we can say in his weakness he is strong.  

 

This is why the crucified theology has the challenge to think together and not apart the strength and weakness of God. They do oppose each other on the cross. They stand together manifesting the madness of God’s love. The logic of this mad love has an imperative. It calls us.  it beckons us to it. Understanding that God’s love stays outside the chain of the economics of exchange by being a pure gift, our response cannot be one that follows the logic of debts.  We respond to this self-giving love by only self-giving surrender in Faith that stands outside the logic of debt. We in freedom come into the embrace of the love on the cross to pick up our cross and follow the Lord on the cross. This means we become partners, sons and daughters of God in and through the cross.  This means the paschal mystery becomes a way of life, the way of our cross.  We become the secondary sacraments, the community of disciples, the Church by following Christ of the cross, our primary sacrament.  Hence,  We need to be counter-cultural, be the other to be true witnesses of the crucified Lord.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao