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March 27, 2008


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John Shorack

Thanks for your response, Brad. It helped to activate my thoughts a bit. Forgiving, on the part of an abused woman, shouldn't be equated with taking back the abusive husband and submitting to continued abuse. Walter Wink's interpretative of "turning the other cheek" comes to mind (and as applied by the Linn's in "Don't forgive too soon") and is illustrative of this, and helpful in my thinking. Parenthetically, I look forward to reading the book you recommended.


Dear John,

I think on this point that your wife's objection is not to be taken lightly. Indeed, Alison himself would concur. The history of atonement theology has often been extremely oppressive to women, but I know for Alison's part, Jesus' view of the nonviolence of God would take her concerns seriously.

A tremendous companion volume to "Stricken by God?" that takes into account the feminist and womanist perspectives is "Cross-Examinations: Readings on the Meaning of the Cross Today" edited by Marit Trelstad.

John Shorack

My name is John Shorack. I read "Raising Abel", in part, through the lenses of another article by James Alison, "God's self-substitution and Sacrificial inversion" found in the book: "Stricken by God?" I deeply appreciate the author's basic narrative, that is, the disturbing reality of being approached by one's forgiving victim. Yes, this is scandalous. It is also, I believe, liberating, for all parties. Curiously, when I shared this with my wife, her response caught off guard. In essense, she said: "That's what the Church has always been telling abused women to do: forgive their abusive husbands. That's not liberating." Though she has a good point, I'm not ready to give up on the truth of Alison's insight into the biblical narrative of God's redemptive work. Can anyone have thoughts on this?

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