In some ways it's arguably the same Good Friday sermon I preach every year ... part of my life-long vocation of debunking substitutionary atonement one Good Friday at a time.
But I also felt this year -- in the shadow of this crazy election season and the violent extremism dominating our news cycles -- that it was particularly germane to tackle (once again) the Myth of Redemptive Violence that I learned about from Walter Wink 20 years ago. A myth that still masquerades as reality. From the sermon text:
Anyone who thinks that Domination System is not alive and well listening to the rhetoric on the election campaign trail or watching the evening news with its onslaught of violence begetting violence, in thought, word and deed. In terrorist bombs in Belgium, Turkey and Nigeria and in gun violence in the streets of Pasadena; in policies that endanger our planet and incarcerate our youth; in state sponsored discrimination against LGBT people and in court decisions that strip communities of color of their voting rights. I could go on and on.And that -- I believe -- is the work of Easter: to resurrect the authentic narrative of Jesus' life, work and witness from the tomb of dogma, doctrine and domination where the institutional church tried to hide it.
This violence – in thought, word and deed -- is the Domination System Jesus came to dismantle -- and the truth we face is that two thousand years later the same Domination System which conspired to kill Jesus on Good Friday is still conspiring to co-opt the Christian narrative intended to overcome it.
Because (stop me if you've heard this one before:)
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!