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The Scapegoating Pattern
The Scapegoating Pattern

The Scapegoating Pattern: Weekly Summary

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Holy Saturday

Human nature, when seeking power, wants either to play the victim or to create victims of others. Once we start feeling sorry for ourselves, we will soon find someone else to blame, accuse, or attack—and with impunity!
—Richard Rohr

If Jesus’s life reversed the fate of victims he had met, then his death reverses the fate of future victims. He becomes the scapegoat to end all scapegoats—and exposes the truth that could end human blame and violence once and for all.
—Jennifer Garcia Bashaw

The central message of Jesus on love of enemies, forgiveness, and care for those at the bottom was supposed to make scapegoating virtually impossible and unthinkable.
—Richard Rohr

Because God was present with Jesus on the cross and thereby refused to let Satan and death have the last word about his meaning, God was also present at every lynching in the United States…. The lynching tree is the cross in America.
—James Cone

Jesus came to reveal and resolve the central and essential problem—humanity’s tendency toward fear and hate. Love is the totally enlightened, entirely nonsensical way out of this pattern. Love has to be worked toward, received, and enjoyed.
—Richard Rohr

God is not revealed in killing and conquest … in violence and hate. God is revealed in this crucified man—giving of himself to the very last breath, giving and forgiving.
—Brian McLaren

Week Thirteen Practice

Lingering in the Tension

Author Kat Armas reflects on the spiritual practice of lingering in the tension between winter and spring, the cross and resurrection:

You know those last few weeks before spring, when winter is trying desperately to hold on, her bony fingers cold and frail, losing their grip to the warmth of the sun? The trees towering above your head might still be bare, but when you look down, buds of purple are sprinkled across the ground, bursting forth from earth’s womb….

If we pay close attention, we might notice the earth constantly beckoning us to receive this gift. On bended knees with cool breath and a warm touch, the natural world asks us to stay in this moment. Right here. A little longer.

Do you feel it?…

The life and death of Jesus offers an invitation to sit in a sacred tension, but many are not comfortable doing this. We are a people hell-bent on fix-its, uncomfortable with struggle or with sadness. Perhaps this is why, for many of us, Holy Saturday has long been ignored. This is the day between the death of Christ on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. In the immigrant Catholic church I attended with abuela [grandma] growing up, this holy day of waiting was as important as Easter Sunday because it mirrored our reality—the constant push and pull between sorrow and joy, death and resurrection. On this day, we lit velas (candles) and sat in front of the altar for what felt like years. We knew joy would come, but there was no rush. The holy tension was a space in which we felt most alive. I didn’t know it back then, but la Espíritu Santa [Holy Spirit] was forming something sacred in me.

Armas invites us to consider:

What moments of sacred tension stand out in your life? What did they speak to you about your humanity?

Kat Armas, Sacred Belonging: A 40-Day Devotional on the Liberating Heart of Scripture (Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2023), 55, 56, 58.

Image credit: Benjamin Yazza, Untitled (detail), New Mexico, 2023, photograph, used with permission. Click here to enlarge image. Who do we push outside the circle of our acceptance to sing alone on the branches of a burnt and mangled desert tree?

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