Post-Christendom's Opportunity - And Sorrow...

Being Sued for Jesus...

Associated Press

VITERBO, Italy - An Italian judge heard arguments Friday on whether a small-town parish priest should stand trial for asserting that Jesus Christ existed.

The priest's atheist accuser, Luigi Cascioli, says the Roman Catholic Church has been deceiving people for 2,000 years with a fable that Christ existed, and that the Rev. Enrico Righi violated two Italian laws by reasserting the claim.

Lawyers for Righi and Cascioli, old schoolmates, made their
arguments in a brief, closed-door hearing before Judge Gaetano Mautone in Viterbo, north of Rome. They said they expected the judge to decide quickly.

Cascioli filed a criminal complaint in 2002 after Righi wrote in a parish bulletin that Jesus did indeed exist, and that he was born of a couple named Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and lived in Nazareth.

Cascioli claims that Righi's assertion constituted two crimes under Italian law: so-called "abuse of popular belief," in which someone fraudulently deceives people; and "impersonation," in which someone gains by attributing a false name to a person.

Part of me weeps for the faithful who are barraged for speaking truth. Part of me aches for the knowledge of Christ that has been lost from our cultural vernacular...

But I must confess I hold this sorrow in juxtaposition with deep excitement at what occurences like this mean for the future... not for Christendom (the outward manifestation of a politically and theologically infused power structure that has permeated and shaped the Western World for over a thousand years) but for Christianity... perhaps a New Kind of Movement (forgive me Brian) could emerge.

I'm reading Stuart Murray's book, Post Christendom for a class at George Fox Seminary. Leonard Sweet is our gracious professor for the semester and the reading he's subjecting us to is truly invigorating.

Remember, no matter how bad things get for the "ESTABLISHED CHURCH," God is doing something real and active in this world, and it may look like nothing we've seen before.

Sue away! You cannot suppress a living Holy Spirit!

1 comment:

Harlequin said...

IIRC the Plaintiff is a former RC priest. It's less about Jesus NOT existing, but getting the Vatican to PROVE he did, which is what the ex-Priest wants. Two critters that are hard to live with... Converts and folk who've lapsed... converts forever have to prove just how pious they are (Paul of Tarsus, any one?) and the lapsed prove it never happened but want to be wrong....

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