Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Colossians Remixed 44

posted by xscot mcknight

The second to last section in Colossians Remixed concerns the story of Jesus as a story of suffering — and this, they suggest, provides a foundation for the Colossian Christians to understand their own suffering.
Cross-bearing is integral to being the body of Christ
The church is destined to affliction or, better yet, to oppression. See 2 Cor 1:3-7; Phil 3:8-11 and Rom 8:17. [Question: If “oppression” — translating thlipsis — was the analogy between the church and Christ, why is that word never used for Christ’s sufferings in the Gospels? It is often used in the Gospels for eschatological tribulation.]
The story of the church is the story of oppression.
“Where does that leave a Christian community that seems to avoid any sort of suffering?” (229).
Paul made known the “mystery” and the “hope of glory.”



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Peggy

posted November 15, 2007 at 2:01 pm


Scot,
I’m doing a lot of processing these days on what I am calling Purple Martyrdom…and I agree that the Christian community has made a bad turn at the fork when it separated itself from suffering and oppression.
It’s a hard road back to that fork…and I am considering cutting a trail across the field!



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Jason Barr

posted November 15, 2007 at 8:16 pm


It reminds me a lot of J.H. Yoder’s statements in Politics of Jesus about how, in the consistent witness of the ancient church, the precise point at which we are called to imitate Christ is at the cross, not as the enduring of any or all kinds of trials (which often gets made into some kind of vague “feel-good” statement for times when one is down), but as the very real social result of making the decision to conform one’s ethical relations to the pattern of Christ and the nonviolence that entails.
Regarding the question about thlipsis, I had the same question when reading Colossians Remixed. What I would say is that the eschatological tribulation of the church (not to be confused with the Great Tribulation of dispensationalism) is intrinsically tied with the suffering of Christ, both related to the fact that Christ’s suffering is itself an eschatological event and (perhaps) even related to Paul’s statement about making up what was lacking in Christ’s suffering. I see it as a statement of identification with Christ in his sufferings as those sufferings form the locus of God’s once-for-all act in history, as it encompasses history from creation to New Creation.
But yes, I question any easy identification with “oppression” and making an easy connection between church and Christ – Paul does the latter more explicitly elsewhere with identification language.
Perhaps the reason we don’t suffer is because we’re too used to being on the side of the rulers.



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