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.

The Unground of Our Being

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Nothing is real, if “real” is taken to mean anything beyond a momentary existence. Everything is ambiguous and transitory, unstable. People, which is to say, humans, can only perceive their perceptions. The perceiving of perceptions enables people to be affected. But even this affectedness is not a universal. The perceiver, which is to say the “I,” who is an I by the very nature of her being a perceiver, does not always allow affectedness. In order to enable affectedness, where affectedness means something like what Slavoj Žižek calls being moved to the point of the movements being traumatic (though in a good sense), one views the Other with which one is confronted as a “Thou.” Insofar as one views the Other one encounters as an “It,” she will be incapable of this engagement.

The traumatic affectedness of encountering the Other in all of her Thou-ness does not merely affect one in such a way that one is moved to a greater or lesser degree but remains stable, but moves one in such a manner that the very makeup of her world is altered. Her perceiving of her perceptions change, not because she is nearer the “actual truth” but because the mode of perceiving as well as the Others that she perceives have been fundamentally altered. There is only present, and present is never and will never be static or stable. The past is only existent insofar as it is re-membered and re-présented (that is, [ɹiˈpɹɛzɪntɪd] in IPA, or [ree-prez-int-id] in free form). There is no Kantian “thing-in-itself” that simply cannot be reached or perceived; there is only continual re-ideation of existence.

With this in mind, I think a great linguistic misappropriation has brought confusion and disorientation (vis a vis “faux-stabilized orientation,” as it were) into the “Christian” lexicon. Even this word, “Christian,” has seen stabilizing attempts. Where to travel to “God” through the “Spirit” by “Christ” should be existential and constantly moving, never ceasing to undo and re-ideate, a concerted effort has been made to capture it and ground it, keeping it from its “beyond control-ness.” These other words–“God,” “Spirit,” and “Christ”–are also taken captive by a grounding motive. “God” becomes this being, this entity, this force, moving away from the perplexing “I am who I am/will be.” “Spirit” becomes this force that can be called upon, manipulated. “Christ” becomes this entity that can be asked into one’s heart, understood by one and described.

Instead, these words should be understood as sorts of verbs, or perhaps allowed their own descriptor that is not so limiting. Their ideations are not, I think, either to be understood as grounded in any sense other than their co-temporary grounding as potential affectors and affecteds.

The world is made up of a continual bouncing between the particular “I’s” who are not allowed to remain still, ever, though they cluster together in packs and try to hold on to some groundedness. These clusters try to trap others in their faux-grounding, causing those who “are” otherwise-than-the-faux-grounding to despair in their present. The hope for the future (again, “future” is only ever a part of “present”) is a hope that, though one is trapped by those who would ground the ungrounded, a loosening of the cracks might occur that in turn might affect an irrupting of this faux-grounding, allowing “I” to be affected–traumatized, in a good sense–by the other “I’s” with whom she is confronted.