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Christians, non-violence, Lent and the Stations of the Cross

"We are living in a period of commerical globalization. What we really need is spiritual globalization." ~
Sister Joan Chittister, Charter for Compassion Trailer

For many with a Catholic Christian upbringing like mine, attending the "Stations of the Cross" was standard Lenten devotional practice. Catholic school kids often daydreamed through the service, secretly glad their time in church earned them a reprieve from classroom drudgery during the Church's annual penitential season, the six weeks preceding Easter. To actually pay attention to the devotion was horrifying.

That's because the Stations of the Cross focus on the torture and execution of Jesus Christ--a most violent and excruciating death. Centuries of religiosity perhaps attempted to sanitize the drama, but it really can't be tamed. Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ," a 2004 portrayal of the events in all their gruesome detail, provoked great controversy in that respect as well as praise.

As an adult I rejected the concept of a personal God who was so offended by sin that it was deemed necessary to subject a beloved offspring to abusive treatment and annihilation in a reparation or "get-it-right" project. So I had to reframe the event of Christ's death in a way that made more sense to me.

With the onset of Lent upcoming--February 17th is the Ash Wednesday kickoff--perhaps you're looking for a fresh lens through which to view the death and resurrection of Christ. Here are two helpful resources:

The Center for Christian Nonviolence offers a booklet containing the Stations of the Cross of Nonviolent Love for private meditation or group prayer. You can get it through the CCNV Store at the . You can view them and download copies for free at the same website under Resources [or directly:HERE].

Another Stations of the Cross that highlights the spirituality of Nonviolent Love is found on Sister Joan Chittister's website at and is simply entitled "Way of the Cross: Gateway to Resurrection." Since it is not available for free download, I will simply give it my personal recommendation. Anything she writes is worth a read.

Both booklets recast the violence inherent in this central event of Christianity-- the via dolorosa (way of suffering), crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus-- as the quintessential nonviolent event of history. I found their efforts meaningful and relevant.

Lord knows our world can use less violence and more peace.


The author is not connected in any way with the products listed in this post and received no money in exchange for their mention.

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