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a preliminary snapshot of cultural Marxism:

Traditional Marxism awaited the overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat, but the remediation of the harshness of proletarian life left the working classes without motivation for class struggle.  Cultural Marxism rather focuses on the fault lines between majorities and minorities, between those who have privilege and those who do not, between established reservoirs of authority and those who are in any way subject to them —  such reservoirs as traditional family structure, traditional national loyalty, and especially the religious and cultural norms of Western European culture.

 

As for the great wound in the fabric of cultural history – the cultural Marxists might say that it is the dominion of traditional Western culture over oppressed minorities.  In this capacity they share the philosophical territory of the postmodernists.  They also share territory with the Zealots who opposed Rome in the time of Christ’s first mission on earth.  The zealots believed that the wound of their history was that Israel was oppressed by Imperial Rome.

Yeshua was a sympathetic witness to the injustice of Roman imperial rule over Israel, even destined to suffer death at the hands of Rome.  Yeshua had come into the world to break the hold of injustice on his people.  The prophets had foretold it, and his advent was wrapped in consciousness of it.

Yeshua, in the synagogue in Nazareth, in his inaugural announcement of his mission, read to the assembly the words of Isaiah written 700 years previous, and he claimed them as his own:

The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him.  Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:  ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.  The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”   Luke 4.17-21

Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, at the circumcision of his son, was filled with the Spirit, and, regarding John’s destiny to herald the coming of the Messiah, Zechariah prophesied:

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.  He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us – to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies and to enable us to serve him without fear…”  Luke 1.68-74 excerpts

Zechariah saw the coming justice both in terms of an immediate healing of the individual and in terms of the enabling of a future just society through the realization of the promises of God to Abraham.

When Yeshua set foot on earth he saw a world in which all men are sharers in the great wound of history – the wound of pride and rebellion against our Creator as it contributes to the death of the human spirit, the wound that we have chosen personal autonomy at the price of fealty to our rightful king, the wound that we are desperate for love as we scorn the One who truly loves us.

Yeshua came and established the conditions to heal the wound of history – established the way to remove the heart of stone and restore the heart of flesh.  He knew that he had to go to the cross in order to  to heal the true grief of the zealot and peel away the arrogance of the Roman.

There would have been no justice in providing a way for the injured Jew to stand on the head of the fascist Roman, when both were dying of an empty heart.  Inversion is not correction.  Retribution is not healing.

Yeshua remained focused on the wound separating man from God and the essential task of healing that wound.  Yeshua kept his vision focused on the mission to see his blood shed as the Passover Lamb honored by the Father since the beginning of the world.   Only such a sacrifice could restore mankind’s access to the throne of God and bring liberation to Roman and Jew alike.

The freedom of Yeshua means freedom from every fear that culture might have power to inhibit the true liberation of the individual.  In Yeshua individual liberation comes not from mundane history but through release from the matrix of mundane history, through identification with and immersion in the person of Yeshua himself.  Yeshua steps beyond every restraint to reach into the history of the individual in his or her own unique suffering of the wound of history.  In that place the individual chooses to acknowledge or disown the need of healing.  In that place, attendant upon the one who is truly wounded and truly enlightened, Yeshua remains with the person, scorning the rage of every hostile power, and asserting a love that reaches deeper than every failure or loss -– so producing the liberty to live and speak without compromise.

 

Lawrence S. Jones

lstewartj@sbcglobal.net

 

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