Me Versus We: Part 2, Kenosis

experimentaltheology.blogspot.com | 8/21/2019 | Staff
n.king (Posted by) Level 3
It's one of the most famous moral exhortations in all of the Bible. From Philippians 2:

being born in human likeness.

Death - Cross

even death on a cross.

to the glory of God the Father.

Text - Kenosis - Heart - Christlikeness - Christian

Because of this text, self-emptying--kenosis--has been taken to be at the very heart of Christlikeness, the defining Christian virtue.

And yet, kenosis has been hit pretty hard in the last few decades in light of feminist scholarship. Specifically, it seems both toxic and dangerous to expect a woman to practice kenosis if she's dealing with an abusive spouse. And the same goes for any other oppressed person. Should someone at the very bottom--victims in particular--be expected to go even lower in the name of "being like Jesus"?

Women - Fact - Advice - Sort - Theology

What makes this even worse is that women have, in fact, been given pastoral advice guided by that sort of theology, that by being "submissive" to her abuser the woman is "following the example of Jesus."

There's a whole lot to be said here, about how to read Philippians 2 in light of these concerns, but for this post I want to make a simple observation.

Point - Series - Kenosis - Rails - Terms

Again, to the point of this series, kenosis goes off the rails when we think in terms of "me" rather than "we."

Let's back up and look at what Paul is encouraging with his appeal to Jesus' self-emptying:

Encouragement - Christ - Consolation - Love - Sharing

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better...
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