Untamed Jesus

Aug 13, 2014 by Stanley Hauerwas  


Distinguished New Testament scholar Gerhard Lohfink and his brother, Norbert Lohfink, a Jesuit and an Old Testament scholar, are members of the Catholic Integrated Community in Germany. The community was founded in 1945 by Catholics who thought that Nazi rule in Germany was not some freak event but an indication that a deep moral failing was at the very heart of German life. Members of the Integrated Community believe that if Germany is to have a moral future, a fundamental reconstruction of German life is demanded. That project, they believe, requires a people committed to living as an alternative community. The Catholic Integrated Community now has over a thousand members.

That Lohfink and his brother are members of the Integrated Community is no surprise given the character of their work, which is centered in the presumption that faith is entry into a long history constituted by a people whose lives have been shaped by a narrative enacted in rituals. That history is first and foremost the history of God’s promised people, Israel—a history that Christians have suppressed. This suppression of Paul’s message in the ninth through 11th chapters of Romans is what made the unsurpassed horror of Auschwitz possible. Christians’ suppression of Israel and the Jews has also meant that Christians misunderstand the character of the church.

English readers’ introduction to Lohfink’s account of the Christian faith came in his book Jesus and Community, published in 1984. There Lohfink responded to the oft-made suggestion that “Jesus came preaching the Kingdom and instead we got the church” by observing that Jesus could not have founded a church because there had long been a church—namely God’s people, Israel. The calling of the disciples and the requirement that they renounce violence, Lohfink argued, manifests Jesus’ determination to call into existence a people who are an alternative to the world.

Read more . . .



Popular posts from this blog

Spikenard Sunday/Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut

The time when America stopped being great

Idolatry of the Family