The Cross and/as Civil Resistance
We need a nonviolent soteriology that honors scriptural and theological traditions about enemy-love, suffering, sacrifice, and satisfaction and refuses to further harm victims of violence and oppression. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolence and Bernard Lonergan’s way of understanding Christ’s satisfaction by analogy with the sacrament of reconciliation disclose one way suffering can be redemptive: When nonviolent activists “present their very bodies,” they expose the violence latent in unjust situations. Similarly, when Christ presents his body, he exposes the violence at the heart of sin. Like Christ, activists “become sin” (1 Cor 5:21)—not because they take responsibility for the sin, but because sin becomes visible in the wounds it leaves on innocent bodies. Once visible, healing can begin. Further, both men argue for a proper unfolding of the extension of love to enemies, lest victims be further harmed and injustice ignored.