Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Two-stage shaming, Naked at the Cross, Trinitarian unity when separated

Stephen Seamands, in "Wounds That Heal," (much of it a free read here) stirs me to wonder if shaming is always perpetrated in two stages:

1)forced/involuntary/public nakedness (literal or emotional) nakedness of soul may be even worse)
2)the promise of continued shaming beyond death (by dishonoring our name after we are gone, or sending us to hell in the afterlife ).

Seamands quotes the most important theologian you have never heard of, Frank Lake, and that section reminds how vital it might be to doggedly defend the doctrine (that most evangelicals seem to think is unspeakable, even though  very conservative Dallas Seminary professors claim it is necessary, let alone Martin Hengel in his classic book "Crucifixion)"that Jesus died completely naked...especially that he might completely identify with, incarnate; convert and subvert our shame, particularly of sexual abuse or memories:
Crucifixions were purposely carried out in public..Executioners heightened the shame by turning the gruesome personal ordeal into grisly public entertainment.. In most paintings, films and artistic depictions, the crucified figure of Jesus is partially covered with a loincloth. But in the ancient world, the victim was always crucified naked. The shameful exposure often continued after death since it was common for the victim to be denied burial.. Hengel explains, ...'What it meant for man in antiquity to be refused burial, and the dishonor that went with it, can hardly be appreciated by modern man.' ...Frank Lake expresses the truth powerfully in describing Christ's experience of shame in nakedness: 'He hangs on the Cross naked. Both the innocent who were not loved and the guilty who have spurned love are ashamed. Both have something to hide. Clothing is the symbol of hiding what we are ashamed to reveal. In His own innocence He is identified with the innocent in nakedness...He was so deprived of His natural clothing of transfigured beauty and glory that men, seeing Him thus, shrank away from Him. The whole world will see this King appearing in all beauty and glory, because He allowed be utterly taken away.' -Seamands, pp 49-50
More posts on Jesus dying naked?  See:.
 See:  "Jesus died naked..but not in Christian art and movies."
and"The Last Temptation of Movie Boycotters,"

That some well-meaning folks suggest we should never mention his nakedness,
 that doing so is so wrong as to be satanic...
 that we should fear thinking about genitalia,
 is represented here:

That he may have been naked is as about as important as what kind of nails were used to nail him there. Copper? Bronze? Iron? Who cares?! Was the crown of thorns made of Briar thorns or Thistle? Who cares?

Did Jesus die? Who cares? (Bear with me).

Did Jesus lay down his life willingly and by his own power, and then take it back up again just as willingly and just as powerfully? THAT is the point.

Don't get distracted by images of genetalia! [sic] And let's face it; as soon as you hear someone say "Jesus died naked on a cross", that's the first thing that pops into your carnal, fleshly, sinful mind. As soon as you hear it, you are IMMEDIATELY distracted.
That man who is telling you that may not know that he's being used as a servant of Satan; but he is.

Of course, I feel for this position, and am aware that the naked Jesus doctrine could be terribly abused...But I fear that ironically, it may be crucial to recover/uncover.
It may not be a "required doctrine,"....but..


Several pages later, Seamands, in a discussion on the practical relevance of the Trinity (Note:see his entire wonderful book on this important topic):

'My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?' On the cross, Christ gave expression not only to his own sorrow and disappointment, and ours, but also to God's...At the foot of the cross, our mournful cries of lament are always welcome...

...This cry is the only place in the gospels where Jesus didn't address God with the personal, intimate, 'My Father,'...

..On the cross, the bonds of trust between the Father and the Son seem to disintegrate. As theologian Jurgen Moltmann says, 'The love that binds the one to the other is transformed into a dividing curse.'....Yet at the cross, the Father and the Son are never more united, never more bound together. They are one in their surrender, one in their self-giving. The Father surrenders the Son...The Son, in turn, surrenders himself...So {they} are united even in their separation, held together by their oneness of will and purpose
-Seamands, 67-68
More on the dynamics of God forsaking God here, and more on the trinitarian centrality of all this by clicking the "trinity" label below this post.

Finally, Seamands helps me grasp that Jesus died not only for our shame, but our rage
(rage, of course, is often enacted as a reaction to shame). Rage, ironically, is what literally killed Jesus (and shamed him into nakedness):

Christ became the innocent, willing victim of their rage. But not only their [those at the cross] rage -ours too. Frank Lake is right: 'We attended the Crucifixion in our crowds, turned on our Healer..' -Seamands, 69
Which of course, leads to Jesus healing us precisely when we deserve it least and need it most.
Naked and (un)ashamed.

If you pray, Pray nakedly. be naked prey. -The 77s

"The Lord Be With You...Even When He's Not!"

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