Blog Template Theology of the Body: Let those who pray go over: a proposal for grace among the Christians of Uganda

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Let those who pray go over: a proposal for grace among the Christians of Uganda

For those of you who kindly cheered me on during my conference presentation at the University of Massachusettes this past fall (and for those of you who charitably asked for a copy of my remarks), I've recenly been honored by the publication of my little talk by the International Institute of Historical Mediation and Conciliation at Boston University. The title is above; the essay is here; and a relevant excerpt goes like this:

"Given that conflicts over discrepant Roman Catholic/Protestant Christian doctrines may tend to aggravate politial instability in a divided 'Christian' such as Uganda nation, it becomes important to appeal to the divided parties on the basis of the theological principles that they hold in common. Celebrated Yale theologian Miroslav Volf urges that the Christian doctrine of grace must become the tool for ecumenical and political reconciliation in nations like Uganda. At this point, I presume to offer a definition: in Christian theology, grace is understood as God’s free and loving determination to act with the utmost mercy towards those who are opposed to Him. Grace is essentially God's will to embrace His enemy. In this way, principles of the Christian doctrine of grace may translate into workable proposals as to how Christians should go about seeking peace among one another. Accordingly, I propose that Ugandan Christians who are divided by doctrine must give rigorous attention to the essential tradition in which all Christian doctrines are situated.

The central principle of the Christian tradition is grace. Any confessing Christian of any denomination will locate the conceptual center of his faith at the Cross, where God is believed to have poured out His very life for the sake of His indebted and impoverished creature, thereby inviting the enemy into his good fellowship. If Ugandan Christians have identified their theological disagreements as irreconcilable, if they have identified one another as the enemy, it remains to them to treat their enemies in the way that Christ treated His enemies: with grace, with service, and with embrace."