Some Words of Wisdom from John D. Caputo
Ok, this might seem a bit random, and that is because this is a bit random. Yesterday, amid working on what turned out to be several projects, I happened upon a collection of “clippings” on my Kindle from John D. Caputo’s little book, On Religion (Routledge, 2001). Those who regularly read this blog are probably familiar with Caputo and my admiration for his work. Those who are new, I invite you to check out some of his work. In addition to many excellent scholarly books and articles, he has begun writing to some broader audiences with book like On Religion and What Would Jesus Deconstruct? When I had the chance to speak with him, wow now two years ago, while we were both on campus of Siena College — he giving an annual lecture and I interviewing for the teaching job that I’m now completing — he mentioned to me that he is working on another text for an even broader audience, so stay tuned for that!
Anyway, here are some excellent little reflections. The whole book is one excellent reflection, these might be considered microstudies of the larger text. May they speak to you and enliven your reflection and faith.
- “But the meaning of the Cross is that God chose to manifest solidarity with an innocent man, a convicted criminal, legally speaking, who suffered an ignominious execution, just the way Paul says that God chose to manifest solidarity with the foolish of this world to shame the wise, and with the low-born nobodies (ta me onta) to shame those who “are” (1 Cor 1:28), the powers that “be.”
- “The great religious symbols and figures have always been figures of suffering, for the love of God always comes to rest upon the least among us, upon the ones who suffer needlessly. If anyone is indeed “privileged” by God, it is the underprivileged, because with God the last are first. The name of God is the name of the One who takes a stand with those who suffer, who expresses a divine solidarity with suffering, the One who says no to suffering, to unjust or unwarranted suffering.”
- “In the United States, abortion clinics are bombed and physicians killed in the name of life and saving the unborn, while terrorist atrocities in the name of God abound in Northern Ireland and the Middle East. That contradiction, murdering and maiming in the name of the right to life, killing in the name of the love of God, is an emblem of the contradiction in which fundamentalists and the radical religious right are caught up today, forced as they are to fall back upon the resources of the world whose basic scientific and cultural presuppositions they reject. They are forced to take nourishment from the fruit of a poisoned tree.”
- “To be sure, these are people with sex on their mind, not social justice, with a passion for sexual purity, not a passion for the poor. The morals that are melting down for them are sexual, not social. They do not burn with passion for immigrants, for the poorest and least among us in our inner cities, or for campaign finance reform (since they are among the biggest spenders when it comes to buying politicians). They do not see the victims of AIDS as the new lepers, with whom Jesus freely mixed and sometimes cured, but as objects of a biblical retribution.”