The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America

By Mark Lewis Taylor | Go to book overview

5. way of the cross as Building Peoples’ Movements

Both the popular messianic movements and the Jesus movement were
interested in establishing the peoples autonomous life free of domination
by the alien and domestic rulers and, presumably, under the direct rule of
God…. There is no indication, however, that people in the Jesus move-
ment thought of theocracy in terms of hierocracy, however egalitarian.

—Richard A. Horsley, Sociology and the Jesus Movement

Central doctrines of Christianity prompted and sustained attractive, liber-
ating and effective social relations and organizations.

—Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity

A theatrics of counterterror comes to its dynamic culmination in the building of peoples’ movements. The power of the way of the cross is an eruption of adversarial politics, of dramatic action, and now, of organizing movements to rival the powers of lockdown America and Pax Americana.

Countering Rome with the theatrics of dramatic action, as the Gospel writers depict a Galilean Jesus movement to have done, was action also prefiguring a new way to organize human relations. When Paul spoke the unthinkable, claiming to “know nothing… except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1–2), he not only was announcing the topic of a message but also beginning the startling process of building human solidarity and community around one who was seditious enough to be contrary to and condemned by empire.

The way of the cross, then, as adversarial and dramatic, prefigures new community. It is kinetic, moving, organizing, dynamic. Hence, the way of the cross, as a theatrics of counterterror, involves the building of peoples’ movements. This chapter points to the peoples’ movements that ultimately are the scenes for not just living against empire but also for flourishing and pressing beyond it. These movements catalyze the power we need to go through lockdown America—resisting and going beyond the forces of police brutality, the terror of today’s prisons and of the death penalty.

While this chapter will focus on movements in lockdown America, against police brutality, prison injustice, and the death penalty, these do not occur apart from the equally important movements against the U.S.-led imperium

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