Discussion questions for ch 7

Christ and Salvation

An ecological economic Christology… looks to God through Jesus.   (see p. 170)

God is with us: Jesus is the model for what ‘God with us’ means:


God is with us in life and in death:
God is with us in Jesus’ earthly life (giving a pattern for cruciform living)           
and in his resurrection (giving us hope for eternal life).    

God is with us in body and in spirit:
God is with us through embodiment in Jesus of Nazareth
           (showing care for the human body)
and  God is with us in the Risen Christ
           (showing victory over death and despair)

What do you think?

1.  McFague identifies some central features of the conventional picture of Jesus as Savior that make it bad theology from her perspective. (p. 159f)

  • Jesusolatry (Jesus alone does it all)
  • Anthropocentrism (Its concern is only for humans, not the whole creation)
  • Individualism (Humans are seen as single individuals, not individuals-in-community)
  • Asceticism (A purely spiritual understanding of salvation, without concern for the material world)

McFague argues that this conventional view is a ‘docile, non-threatening partner’ for market fundamentalism (neo-classical economics).  Do you agree?

2.  McFague writes, “Jesus’ ministry to the oppressed resulted in his death on a cross.  Solidarity with the oppressed is likely to end this way, as many of his loyal disciples over the centuries have discovered. This suggests a theology of the cross:  reality has a cruciform shape.  Jesus did not invent the idea that from death comes new life…. Some must give that others might live.  Raising the cruciform shape of reality to the central principle for human living is Jesus’ contribution.” (p. 168) 

How could our understanding of the ‘cruciform shape of reality’ shape our ministry to oppressed people and a depleted natural world?

What can you do?

 1. “Who is Jesus Christ for us today?” Imagine that you are getting to know one of the following people – each of whom is facing a personal crisis magnified by systemic problems in the wider community. What would Jesus say to them?  What could Jesus’ disciples do?

  • an uninsured San Luis Obispo parent whose child has cancer
  • a Paso Robles small farmer whose well has gone dry
  • a mentally ill teenager with persistent thoughts of violence
  • a homeless family seeking food, shelter and employment

2.  Expanding the traditional picture of Christ:  The summary the author provides at the beginning of the chapter (p. 157f) sketches the dominant picture of Jesus Christ in traditional Christian theology. This view is precious to many in the church and has been the medium of countless experiences of God’s liberating love.   If you were preaching, teaching, or part of a discussion group in your church, what could you say to expand the traditional picture of Jesus and the ongoing work of Christ’s Spirit?  

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