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One of Christianity’s hidden strengths is that it flourished when it was weakest. That is to say, when it was in the minority, culturally and religiously speaking. From the beginning the apostles, reflecting what Jesus directed, cared for the poor among them and those who had no standing in the culture — women and children. They opened their arms to those from outside their group, they pooled their resources and provided for themselves and for others. They were mocked or ignored: they persevered. They were persecuted, harassed, and slain: they went underground and thrived. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,” wrote the Christian apologist, Tertullian, in the year 197 CE.
The strength-in-weakness theme takes an even more prominent place with the Apostle Paul. He spends years and travels thousands of miles to proclaim "Christ crucified," a message that is anathema to the Jews and ridiculous to the Greeks and Romans. Paul sees the crucifixion as part of a story that begins with God humbling himself to be poured into human form and ends with Jesus dying on the cross. He is acutely aware that claiming God incarnate was a prisoner executed by Rome as a seditious threat defies logic. It is, in fact, horrifyingly offensive.
Crucifixion - Christianity - Heart - Redemption - Theories
The Crucifixion is central to Christianity. The heart of redemption theories, it is emphasized in creeds and liturgies — it is Christianity for most people. Yet, we probably cannot grasp just how humiliating a death it was, to say nothing of how deliberately cruel the physical torture.
The fact that Jesus was crucified outside the walls of the city where people dumped their garbage, where slow-burning fires were constant, and where he was visible to any who wanted to watch him die in torment, testifies of the brute indifference of the religious and...
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