Why Jesus is still crucified and not resurrected; or, Venturing into the thinking of Being

Christ is crucified and resurrected. But while Christ has been crucified, existentially or something, he has yet to be resurrected in that same manner. The Christ of this present is the crucified Christ; to focus on the yet-to-be-realized resurrected Christ is to ignore the immanent.

That is, Christ is resurrected, but only after the pain and suffering of the cross has been lived; the truth of resurrection is a transcendent one, one that is beyond what is present and has been present.

We have it backwards. To celebrate the resurrection as a having-happened for 364 days and the crucifixion as simply a step in that process to be remembered only on one day out of the year is not only bad theology, it’s unhelpful and dangerous.

Instead, the daily remembrance needs to be of the having-happened of the crucifixion, and the future-promise of the resurrection. “All our heart’s courage is the echoing response to the first call of Being which gathers our thinking into the play of the world” (Martin Heidegger: Poetry, Language, Thought, 9). The resurrection is yet in play, because the crucifixion is still the reality. So, in the days after Easter, when we return to “business as usual” or whatever, the usual must be the crucifixion. We cannot take Christ down off the cross. He must be remembered as nailed to the cross, crying out in pain, yet remembering too that this will not always be the having-happened reality; it is the tension between the having-happened reality of the crucifixion with the not-always-having-happened hope found in the resurrection that must be lived in.

“The oldest of the old follows behind us in our thinking and yet it comes to meet us. That is why thinking holds to the coming of what has been, and is remembrance” (Heidegger 10). This is, in part, an epistemological claim, but I think it goes beyond that; the “coming of what has been” is not a happening that can be taken for granted as assured in its coming. For Christians, the centrally important element of the crucifixion/resurrection narrative is, presumably, the Trinity, the Godhead, the Other-than, the eternal YHWH, or something. In particular, this is a “call of Being,” to use Heidegger’s words, that takes us not into abstraction, generality, or future-focus, but into the present, into the pain, and into death.

Grab a glass of wine. Preferably red. Maybe some bread. Ideally 12-grain.

This is not just a plea from a faggot for the minorities who are pushed down on a regular basis. This is not truth for only some people. The world has pain. It is “expected of the attentive [person] that [she] faces creation as it happens” (Martin Buber: Between Man and Man, 19). It should be expected of the Christian that she turn towards the resurrection while standing in the crucifixion.

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2 thoughts on “Why Jesus is still crucified and not resurrected; or, Venturing into the thinking of Being

  1. I think I get what you’re saying, but I have zero grasp of Heidegger. To focus on the resurrection already having happened, we are susceptible to ignoring the ongoing pains of the world now. I see this need for healing now, but it seems like you are very much committed to the eschaton being something far off in the future—something that we have no handle on or chance of realizing now. I’m confused between the call for action now and the necessity of suffering now. I tend to be more of the “realized” eschaton-type. I would say that the practice of Christ’s ethics of justice brings us closer to realizing the eschaton. I wasn’t sure if you were arguing for a practicing of realizing this or whether you are stating something more about a mindset—“We shouldn’t ignore pain now, because the eschaton is in the future.” Or maybe I missed it entirely…

    • I think, probably, I’m not committed to the eschaton much at all–I only am committed to its having been not in the past, perhaps. I think it’s less a “things are bad now, but at some point in the future they’ll be all better” and more a “there are always breaths of the ‘eschaton’ (though that might not even be the right word, then) but one can never and will not be able to hold onto the eschaton as a having-happened or consistently or reliably present reality.” So–and maybe I’m missing your comment–I think I would say that it is an always could happen, but only in a breathing sort of way, where the breath has to be released almost immediately after having consumed it. One’s gaze is fixed on the resurrection because that’s the only way to move forward, but one’s feet are firmly fixed a few feet off the ground, strung up on the cross. Or something.

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