Home > Uncategorized > critique of compassion

critique of compassion


Jesus in his solidarity with the marginal ones is moved to compassion. Compassion constitutes a radical form of criticism, for it announces that the hurt is to be taken seriously, that the hurt is not to be accepted as normal and natural but is an abnormal and unacceptable condition for humanness. In the arrangement of “lawfulness” in Jesus’ time, as in the ancient empire of Pharoah, the one unpermitted quality of relation was compassion. The norms of law (social control) are never accommodated to persons, but persons are accommodated to the norms. Otherwise the norms will collapse and with them the whole power arrangement. Thus the compassion of Jesus is to be understood not simply as a personal emotional reaction but as a public criticism in which he dares to act upon his concern against the entire numbness of his social context.

—From The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann

I have never considered this aspect of Jesus’ compassion. Considering his constant non-violent attack upon the blindness of the religious establishment, I think it’s prudent to concur with Brueggemann’s understanding on this. Anything we do that mirrors the nature and character of the Christ pretty much confronts that social “numbness,” ineffectiveness, and lethargy of institutional religion. Any “like Christ” witness very often exposes and looks very different to the norms and attitudes of religious churchmanship (which is a terrible sport). Actually, it might have everything to do with the chronic institutional shrinkage as a whole. —MDP

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Rene Leus
    May 4, 2022 at 8:28 am

    I wholeheartedly agree.

  2. patrickohurleygmailcom
    May 4, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    Thank you for the quote and your comment. So, what shall we do? Together and individually ? ?

    • May 4, 2022 at 5:16 pm

      Patrick…. I think we remember “Who” it is that supposedly wags our tail. We follow “The Way” of Christ. Period. His nature, His character, His compassion, and His love. That’s what we’re supposed to do, yet it’s not a wildly popular or trendy notion. Thanks for reading! M

  3. Sally m miller
    May 4, 2022 at 9:56 pm

    Amen brother

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: