"in truth, people who have suffered much often find their greatest hope in jesus' suffering. is this because it justifies their suffering? I doubt it. yet, the suffering of jesus does honor and identify with their suffering. it is not strange, therefore, that in parts of the world where poverty and oppression are intense, so is devotion to the crucified christ. it is not strange that people in the early christian church crawled on their knees up the steps in rome that were traditionally thought to be the steps jesus walked to meet pilate. it is not strange that the holy sepulchre in jerusalem, where jesus is thought to have been crucified and buried, is shared by six churches--latin catholic, greek orthodox, armenian, syrian, coptic, and ethiopian. it is not strange that the same church is a pilgrimage site for thousands of people each year. people yearn for god when they suffer. they yearn to know that god is with them and suffers with them."
--from teaching as a sacramental act by mary elizabeth mullino moore [her emphases]
moore's reasoning is solid here except that she glosses over a very important aspect of suffering and xianity: what about when the church itself or xianity itself is the cause of peoples' suffering? I'm not only talking about historical suffering--the murders and massacres of early and later churches, from the rooting out of heretics to crusades to witchhunts--I'm also talking about more recent aspects--the ease with which xianity found itself explaining slavery as god's will; the use to which missionaries put deutoronomy 13 to justify having natives who would not convert put to death by their newly xian neighbors (or, in the case of amerindians, killed by xian settlers); the xian mine and business owners who used the words of romans 13 to justify unionbusting and busting the heads of unionized workers and their families; the alleged cozying up by the catholic church with nazi authorities in rome and berlin and occupied nations; the xian pastors and priests who sat on the fence (at best) or defended the actions of bull connor and such men (at worst) during the civil rights movement; and the xians who find it all too easy today to preach hatred of gays and lesbians, or of immigrants, or of muslims or jews, and the xian prosperity movement that blames the poor for their own situation.
my point is not that mullino moore's point is wrong or offbase but that there are numerous examples in which xianity or xians are the cause of others' suffering. and it is of this suffering mullino moore is silent. while it is wrong to criticize a book for what it is not, this is a topic that she should at least have mentioned in passing. failure to do so is an implicit suggestion this suffering does not exist. this decision spits on the graves of people who suffered this way.