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Pushback: Should Christians be Desperate?

April 2, 2010

I’m grateful for the pushback from Phil Morice Brubaker on my recent post The Burning Patience of Easter. As we head into Holy Friday, I want to allow Phil’s challenge to speak:

“We’re not desperate,” said the white, male, tenured professor of a well-endowed institution. Maybe I’m missing some nuance or context somewhere, but I can’t get on board with this. It seems to me that the Psalms are full of desperation, and if “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” isn’t the cry of a desperate man, then I don’t know what is. (Chris, if you could spell out more how you see it as something other than desperate and despairing, I’m all ears.)

For me, a primary critique of the Duke/Hauerwas project has always been that its eschatology is rather too “here” and not enough “not yet.” The world is full of desperate Christians who are not comforted to know that their desperation isn’t appropriately eschatological. I’d suggest that it is precisely those who are desperate who are left with nothing but their hunger and thirst for justice. They will be filled. In the meantime, they are desperate.

I don’t think this takes away from your main point of the tenuous balance of holding together joy and lament, death and resurrection. Perhaps “burning patience” is akin to “fire in the bones.”

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