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Mental Crucifixions

June 27, 2012

Have you noticed how the world is made up of mental crucifixions? When men get together they crucify the Rugby Union. When teenagers get together they crucify teachers, members of other schools, and yesterday’s celebrities. When politicians get together they crucify Winston Peters. When Winston and his friends get together they crucify immigrants. When conservatives get together they crucify the politically correct. When liberals get together they crucify American evangelicals, when American evangelicals get together they crucify John Spong. When wives get together they crucify husbands. When scientists get together they crucify evolutionists and  homeopaths.

Sometimes these mental crucifixions result in real crucifixions and holy wars, but usually they just make up the world we live in.

Once upon a time there was a man who knew this, but appeared, to all who knew him, to come from another world. The world he came from was apparently made differently. It was created by a different god. The things he believed about this god and this world bore little resemblance to anything that had been heard of since the foundation of the world. They were so different that he had to come at people sideways with riddles and paradoxes. However, when he did speak directly about these matters here is what he said.

  • God is an indiscriminate giver of good things. Unlike us God is non-retributive, operating an unjust justice which gives to just and unjust alike regardless of desert. To put it in his words ‘God gives rain to rain on the just and the unjust’ and like a parent with children ‘gives good gifts’.
  • God’s non-retributive mode of giving extends even to God’s enemies and because it is self-involving deserves the name of ‘love’. In other words: “You have heard it said, an eye for an eye, but I say to you love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you… be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful”.

As I suggested before, this man knew about mental crucifixions, so he made it his business to seek out the crucified ones and befriend them. In so doing he threatened to invade a world made up of mental crucifixions. The more he did it the more he realised that he too would end up being crucified. The world of mental crucifixions would not admit of such an assault.

And so it came to pass. Still misunderstood and engaging with the world  ‘sideways’, he allowed himself to be destroyed by the crucifying machine. His ‘giving father’ would have it no other way. And as a true child of this ‘giving father’ neither would he. Of course if it ended there he would have interrupted the machine only to remain invisible and so forgotten.

As it happened, a few days later, word got around that the man from somewhere else had been given back. Death, the driving force behind mental crucifixions, had proven much flimsier than previously suspected. Indeed the non-retributive giver had not stopped being non-retributive. Rather than giving-back we had a case of for-giving. How it happened remains a mystery but it appeared, at least to those who spread the word, that the invisible interruption of the world was becoming visible, and that a new world was emerging as an impossible possibility.

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