Well, James Cameron, of all people, has apparently found not only Jesus’, but also Mary Magdalene’s, Mary’s, Joseph’s, and Jesus’ and Mary’s son’s coffins. Now, that would be the archeological find of the millenium, no? I have no idea, at this point, what Mr. Cameron has found, though of course the story of the so-called James ossuary does give one pause. Details, no doubt, to follow.However, what I do find interesting is the reactions of Christian leaders of various denominations, including, apparently, the Archbishop of NY, who continue to conflate Christianity with fundamentalism and the media’s obsession with getting these people on the record.
Much, if not most, of twentieth century biblical and systematic theology was an attempt to reconcile Christian revelation with the realities posed by the natural sciences and the emerging science of history. Bultmann, Kung, Rahner and many others have done paradigm altering work that allows reasonable Christians to make sense of the content of revelation in a world where scientific, archeological and historical discovery is forever progressing. No doubt, evidence of the physical body of Jesus would require quite a bit of theological explaining. However, the basic tools to understand the cosmic validity of Christian revelation even in the face of such an earth shattering archeological discovery has already been done. And yet, there is no attempt made by the Christian churches, perhaps most especially, the Catholic hierarchy, to make that learning and pastoral comfort available to the people in the pews.
They find it easier no doubt, to organize boycotts of the DaVinci Code and to strongly encourage parents to remove all copies of Harry Potter from the house. They strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. In an effort to maintain a simple and pietistic Vatican I spirituality among the laity, which consistently veers into the heresy (and it is a heresy, make no mistake) of fundamentalism they ignore, at their peril, the miraculous modern additions to the vibrant Christian tradition.
I guess good homiletics doesn’t get you a 30 second spot on the six o’clock news….Sigh.