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A Radical Form of Criticism

Posted By Becky Giovagnoni On April 18, 2008 @ 1:00 am In Advocacy | 2 Comments

I ran across this quote on another blog. It’s definitely deeper than your average beach reading, but it’s worth your time. What do you think?

… Jesus in his solidarity with the marginal ones is moved to compassion. Compassion constitutes a radical form of criticism, for it announces that the hurt is to be taken seriously, that the hurt is not to be accepted as normal and natural but is an abnormal and unacceptable condition for humaness. In the arrangement of “lawfulness” in Jesus’ time, as in the ancient empire of Pharaoh, the one unpermitted quality of relation was compassion. Empires are never built or maintained on the basis of compassion. The norms of law (social control) are never accommodated to persons, but persons are accommodated to the norms. Otherwise the norms will collapse and with them the whole power arrangement. Thus the compassion of Jesus is to be understood not simply as a personal emotional reaction but as a public criticism in which he dares to act upon the concern against the entire numbness of his social context.

(From The Prophetic Imagination [3] by Walter Brueggemann)

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