Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Exclusion and Embrace notes

With the vital currency of mission and evangelism, (and considering the fact I've started a half-dozen ideas but developed none of those sufficiently to let them air on this blog), today I'm posting some notes from Miroslav Wolf's first book of free church ecclesiology.

exclusion and embrace cover
In Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identify, Otherness, and Reconciliation, Miroslav Wolf quotes Daniel Boyarin as he points out although the Pauline solution of 1) relativizing Torah; 2) discarding genealogy; and 3) for the sake of all the families of the earth embracing the crucified and resurrected Christ as the seed of Abraham in whom "there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female," offered a "possibility of breaking out of the tribal allegiances...it also contained the seeds of an imperialist and colonizing practice; Paul's universalism even at its most liberal and benevolent has been a powerful force for coercive discourses of sameness, denying...the rights of Jews, women, and others to retain their difference." –pages 45-46

"...baptism into Christ creates a people as the differentiated body of Christ...[which] lives as a complex interplay of differentiated bodies—Jewish and gentile, female and male, slave and free—of those who have partaken of Christ’s self-sacrifice. The Pauline move is not from the particularity of the body to the universality of the spirit, but from separated bodies to the community of interrelated bodies—the one body in the Spirit with many discrete members." –page 48

When I read this book in early fall 2003, Wolf's articulation of Paul’s universalism really wowed me! However, it's easy to see how some of Paul's theology and ecclesiology – as well as his anthropology – could be one of many factors that has caused all too much cultural arrogance, leading in turn to cultural, economic, political and social colonialism and imperialism.

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