Thank you Pastor-friend for this response to my "Resacrilizing" post. Perhaps I deserved it.
The Copernican shift was required not as a mere shift in paradigm but a shift in reality. A Copernican shift was required because the previous view was simply wrong. Thus I would not say that reading the Scriptures through a different lens (non-sacrificial) is the same as geocentric thinking vs. heliocentric thinking. This is to say that a non-sacrificial way of reading the Scriptures is the more enlightened way and ultimately the correct way to read the Scriptures. It is also saying that any reading other than a non-sacrificial way is antiquated and ultimately wrong. Is this what you’re saying by putting it on the same level as a Copernican shift? Is the sacrificial approach is antiquated and have we become more enlightened? Or are you just saying that some have just chosen to read the Scriptures differently??
My use of "Copernican shift" as metaphor is admittedly strong. But I need to hold to it. Now, this is NOT at all to confer enlightenment to the "non-sacrificial side" and antiquity to the "sacrificial side", but instead to highlight my own existential shift in coming to understand what I do regard as the correct way to read the scriptures. (For me, Grow Mercy is all about the arrival of this "existential moment", which I had not anticipated or looked for.)
But I want to avoid using the term enlightened because of its currency in placing value. I didn’t use the term "enlightened", or the term "antiquated" in the "Resacrilizing" post. I ask forgiveness if I left any hint of my "being better" because I hold a non-sacrificial reading. Most Christians (hopefully) would not refer to non-Christian neighbours as Unenlightened and themselves as Enlightened. But at the same time most Christians also view the faith-they-hold-true as worthy of publishing and defending. I see this in the same light.
So no, it’s not a matter of just choosing to read scripture differently. I actually do believe that there is a Copernican-like difference concerning sacrifice and non-sacrifice. There is a Copernican-like difference in sacred-violence or what Walter Wink has called "redemptive violence" and no-violence-at-all. I do believe that Christ’s "sacrifice" was wholly self-giving and God-revealing without any trace of appeasement and transaction. And I believe this in reality and not merely in paradigm or image.
I believe Christ’s exposÃ© of sacrifice was inherently understood and lived out to a great degree in early Christendom. In the first three hundred years of Christendom there is no evidence of Christians taking up arms. I think it can be shown that Christ’s death and resurrection was understood as usurping the power of sacrifice (scapegoating) and violence and that this was evidenced in the almost universal adoption of non-violence. The resacrilizing that came subsequent to Constantine and later formalized by St. Anselm is a doctrine/theory (substitution sacrifice) that we can and in my view must live without.
No question their are Christian pacifists that still hold a conventional "sacrificial" view of the gospel. However, I don’t believe that anyone who holds a non-sacrificial view could be anything but non-violent.
Non-sacrifice is all about a God without violence and wrath. Sacrifice has to do with a god who resorts to occasional violence to straighten things out (redemptive violence). Following this god allows us to canonize our own violence as is evident with Charles Stanley’s sermons on the Iraqi war and Michael Coren’s latest editorial in the Toronto Sun. (I have deep respect for Coren as a Christian journalist but take huge exception with this editorial. I am one of his "usual suspects".)
All this said, I pray that the revolutionary gospel continues to inform and reform and transform all our lives as we try to move ever closer to the heart of Jesus.