Text: Elizabeth A. Johnson, Abounding In Kindness (published in 2015)
Dr. Elizabeth Johnson is a popular award-winning author, speaker and contemporary Catholic theologian whose provocative presentations appeal to wide audiences worldwide.
1 Passing on the Faith: The Banquet of the Creed
2 Jesus, the Living One: Jesus Research and Christian Faith
Remembering the Holy Spirit: Love Poured Out
4 Truly Our Sister: A Critical Reading of the Marian Tradition
This course offers a new inclusive, innovative educational program for spiritual transformation for contemporary believers, activists and ministers. The aim is to inspire all to be visionaries, mystics and prophets in our time.
Each topic will present a beautiful tapestry of the God of life present in all and working for justice for all. The purpose is to integrate theological insights and spiritual experiences in order to develop commonsense approaches to living a faith-filled life of contemplation, compassion and prophetic action for justice in our world today.
The group used the "lectio Divino" sacred reading approach to reflect on the text, take a prayerful pause to let it sink into the depths of the soul, and then share insights.
. The creed begins by affirming that God makes and loves the entire magnificent universe.
God is infinite, incomprehensible, holy mystery beyond imagining.
The God who is beyond all images and beyond all telling can be described in the following images from scripture: “father, of course and also mother, midwife, shepherd, lover, artist, potter, liberator, friend, Wisdom, hovering mother bird, angry mother bear, blowing wind, blazing flame, flowing water, unapproachable light, the One in whom we live and move and have our being.” Loving the Earth: Through time, “God was continuously empowering the cosmos’ own creative emergence.” The natural world is a beautiful sacrament of divine presence. The task now is to develop a “life-affirming theology of earth/matter/ bodies, one that will do better justice to this world that God makes and so loves.” We must hand on to the “next generation a faith that loves the earth.”p.9
"The Messiah “heals the sick, exorcises demons, forgives sinners, and cares for those whose lives are a heavy burden. He practices table companionship so inclusive that it gives scandal.” MT. 11:19 He establishes divine solidarity with those who lack basic necessities. (Mt 25:35, 42) “Neglecting the least of these means turning your back on God.”
…”Jesus death on the cross is the price he paid for his prophetic ministry…He is risen that there will be a blessed future for all the violated and the dead, cast off as if their lives had no meaning.” Contemporary theology is “moving away from the notion of the cross as a death required by God in repayment for sin and toward an appreciation of the cross as an event of divine compassion in solidarity with human suffering, sin and death.” P.14.
Atonement theology comes from St. Anslem in the 11century. He took the idea of satisfaction as it was practiced in feudal times and applied it to God, namely that our sins so offend God that he demands death as recompense. “Aquinas, Scotus and others criticized this theory… but it won the day for the next thousand years.”p.13.
Criticism of atonement theology is:
1. It focuses on purpose of Jesus’ life was to die.
2. Diminishes importance of ministry
3. Glorifies suffering rather than joy as path to God
4. Fosters domestic violence and child abuse
5. Image of blood thirsty God placated by suffering
1. Not as repayment for sin, event of divine love
2. Creator of world entered into contact with human suffering, sinfulness and death in order to heal, liberate and redeem from within
3. Jesus did not come to die but to live and help others live in the joy of the reign of God. God is not a sadistic father, and Jesus was not a passive victim of divine desire for satisfaction.
4. Rather his suffering, borne in love out of fidelity to his ministry and his God is precisely the way our gracious God has chosen to enter into solidarity with all those who suffer are lost in this violent world, thereby, opening up the promise of new life out of the very center of death." P. 14.