Is Christ King? If so…A Very Different King!

Today is the feast of Christ, King of the Universe.

Since ancient times, men have insisted on having “kings”.  While kings seem to be a thing of the past, too many countries today are abandoning democracy for dictatorships both secular and professedly religious.  Christians too look to kingship…seeking to establish moral realms on earth.  Even we Catholics are modelling our evangelization on Pro-life Christendoms based on Christ as King.  But if Jesus or his Father have anything to do with being King, what kind of kingship do they claim?

On the everyday level, we the people almost always want someone to keep us safe, to keep order…someone to be in control of the chaos of an ever-changing world around us.

Scripture, however, warns us very specifically as to what happens when we long for kings to protect and save us:

that kings and their cohorts will
…conscript your children into their armies…use your children for their own profit and pleasure…tithe you on the little you make or own…take the best of your property to give to his officials…whereby you and your children will become his slaves.   (See 1 Samuel Chapter 8)

“When that day comes, you will cry out on account of the king you have chosen for yourselves, but on that day God will not answer you,” says Samuel the prophet.

“The people refused to listen to the words of Samuel.  They said,No!  We want a king so that we in our turn can be like the other nations; our king shall rule us and be our leader and fight our battles.” 

God was not the king they wanted and so, like us today, the people rejected him.  And God told Samuel,Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for it is not you they have rejected; they have rejected me and my rule over them.”

Even now, as back then, we choose  kings who offer us security and certainty, one who lifts us up in esteem with his power and prestige.  God was NOT this king and so was rejected by the people.

Jesus knew God differently than the people of his time.  Like his image of God, Jesus was no such king as the people wanted him to be. (One has to even wonder if Jesus ever wanted to be identified with the title “king”.)

If Jesus were the king the people wanted him to be, he would have acted differently at the Crucifixion, doing as the Roman soldiers mocked him to do.  He would have miraculously descended from the cross and exacted retribution on all those who persecuted him.  And he would have done this with great force and show of glory.  No such God was Jesus.  No such God was how Jesus knew God to be.

So we must ask, how is God’s rule different from that of an authoritarian leader/king?

And how is it that Jesus is proclaimed King as Christian tradition holds him?   There must be somewhere in that tradition a very different kind of king…or something other than king, no?

Key to these questions is the fact that Jesus saw and knew God differently…perhaps as differently as deconstructionist philosophers and theologians like John D Caputo see God

…repudiating a God of Power and Might who utilizes
rewards and punishments as force to keep order

…disputing the image of a protective parent God

…questioning the image of a God who desires loyal and obedient subjects

…challenging us, as Jesus did in his time on earth,
to look anew at how we see God today.

At a time when Jews expect a miracle and Greeks seek enlightenment, we speak about God’s Anointed crucified! This is an offense to Jews, nonsense to the nations; but to those who have heard God’s call, both Jews and Greeks, the Anointed represents God’s power and God’s wisdom; because the folly of God is wiser than humans are and the weakness of God is stronger than humans are. (1 Cor 1:22–25)

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A few books by John D Caputo which we highly recommend:

The Cross and the Cosmos, A Theology of Difficult Glory (most recent)

The Weakness of God, A Theology of the Event

The Insistence of God, A Theology of Perhaps

The Folly of God, A Theology of the Unconditional

Hoping Against Hope, Confessions of a Post-modern Pilgrim

Also check this John D Caputo Facebook link:





Las Interpretaciones literales y poéticas del Catolicismo, ¿son la división real?

Translation of “Literal & Poetic Interpretations of Catholicism, the real split?”

Por demasiado tiempo no le hemos entrado a la tarea de transvalorar (ver Nota abajo) las doctrinas más importantes, que -por tanto tiempo- le han provisto a nuestra Fé de Estructura y significado.
¿Será posible que nuestras doctrinas católicas han estado guardadas y encerradas de tal manera que, gradualmente han disminuido su habilidad para desarrollar la plenitud de su espíritu,
en cada etapa de la modernidad,
culminando en el rechazo tan evidente, hoy en día, del Catolicismo?

Varios Teólogos lo han expresado diciendo que necesitamos
la teología “correcta”.
También necesitamos transvalorarla (ver Nota) y no diluirla
en cada nueva época-

Por supuesto que el problema se encuentra en saber cuál es
la “teología correcta”
Y cual es el vehículo para la Fé, que nos ha conducido hasta el Siglo XXI.
Existen, y siempre existirán, grandes diferencias de opinión
sobre esta cuestión.

Sin embargo hoy en día, es demasiado grande el número de personas que no aceptan la esencia de un cristianismo basado en la versión literal de
“murió por nuestros pecados”,
que para muchos sigue siendo sagrada.
Este rechazo de una comprensión teológica en la Iglesia Católica de hoy,
está sucediendo en otras denominaciones cristianas.

Hay una separación, una hendidura entre las versiones literal y poética
del catolicismo,
como lo ha documentado a fondo el filósofo/teólogo John D. Caputo

¿Será posible que existan dos interpretaciones diferentes, ambas válidas,
de nuestra fé católica?
… ¿y no solamente “continuidad y ruptura?
El Vaticano II dirigió nuestra mirada en la dirección poética,
conservando la hermenéutica literal.
¿Será que necesitamos en la Iglesia de hoy, de las dos interpretaciones, literal y poética, tanto de la Teología, del gobierno y de la liturgia?
… aún si esto implicaría “permitir” (o acaso “fomentar”) el desarrollo de un nuevo rito en nuestra Iglesia,
la cual ha logrado “permitir” la existencia de otros 22 ritos, en unión con
el Rito Romano de la Iglesia de Jerusalem, de los Santos Pedro y Pablo
y los primeros cristianos?

Nota; Transvalorar significa lo siguiente: “Representar o evaluar algo, a partir de un nuevo principio, provocando su reevaluación de una forma diferente… … con el “nuevo principio” que es fruto del trabajo del Espíritu Santo en el Vaticano II y en el muindo,

Las Hermanas Lea y Consilia dan la bienvenida a sus comentarios e igualmente a un “me gusta”, si desean decirlo así.

Ver : Documento de Posición (Position Paper)
Resolving Polarization of Vatican II and Roman Catholic Visions

Muchas gracias a Luisa Maria Rivera por su traducción de este artículo!

On “Relearning critical obedience and faithful dissent” by Massimo Faggioli

Massimo, you say, “…there is actually a deep theological and cultural rift around ecclesiology and in particular about the role of Vatican II in the practical ecclesiology of Catholicism today.”

Could there be at least two different valid interpretations of our Catholic faith, not just “continuity and rupture” or “obedience and dissent”?

As you well know, there is a split between the literal and “poetic” interpretations of Catholicism, well-documented by Catholic philosopher/theologian John D. Caputo in his books, RELIGION WITHOUT RELIGION, THE WEAKNESS OF GOD, and THE INSISTENCE OF GOD.

Vatican II pointed us in the poetic direction while retaining the literal hermeneutic. Might we have need for both literal and poetic interpretations of theology, governance and liturgy in the Church today?…

As for the Church, she has the tradition to address this problem in her agreement to allow differing interpretations of theology, governance and liturgy within the 22 other rites beyond her Roman walls. Apparently the Catholic Church, including the Roman patriarchy of earlier time, was not so hell-bent on its hegemony over Catholicism as it is today, you think?

To read Dr. Faggioli’s article and comments: Relearning critical obedience and faithful dissent – La Croix International

Literal & Poetic Interpretations of Catholicism, the real split?

For too long, we have not tackled the task of transvaluing* the very important doctrines which have provided structure and meaning to our faith…for so long.
Could our Catholic doctrines have been so guarded and locked down that they gradually diminished in ability to develop their fullness of spirit in each modern age,
culminating in the rejection of Catholicism so evident today?

As more than one theologian has said, we DO need “right” theology.
We also need to transvalue,* not dilute it, according to each new epoch.
The problem, of course, lies in what is the “right theology” and
what is vehicle for the faith which has carried us into the 21st century.
There are and always will be great differences of opinion on this question.

However, too many people today cannot “buy” the essence of Christianity
according to the literal “died for our sins” version
that many still hold so very sacred.
This rejection of theological understanding in the Catholic Church today
is likewise going on in other Christian denominations.

There is a split  between the literal and “poetic” versions of Catholicism
and it is well documented by philosopher/theologian John D.  Caputo in his books,

Could there be at least two different valid interpretations of our Catholic faith
…not just “continuity and rupture”?
Vatican II pointed us in the poetic direction while retaining the literal hermeneutic.
Might we have need for both literal and poetic interpretations
of theology, governance and liturgy in the Church today?
…even if that means “allowing” (if not “fostering”) the development of a new rite
in our Church which has managed to “allow” 22 other rites in union with the Roman Rite of the Jerusalem Church of Saints Peter and Paul and the earliest Christians?

Sisters Lea and Consilia welcome your feedback…even a “like” if you are so inclined.


*transvalue here meaning:  “To represent or evaluate something according to a new principle, causing it to be revalued” differently…with the “new principle” being the work of the Holy Spirit in Vatican II and the world.

See Position Paper:  Resolving Polarization of Vatican II and Roman Catholic Visions

No Vatican II Rite!  What Loss to World and Church