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DISCUSSION SUMMARY The discussion moderator (Diane Culbertson) asked the highlighting question: "Do we understand what is at stake and the urgency of the Christian message?" Sandor Goodhart then remarked, in the context of talking about the conversion to love, that "what one needs is to think about the confession ...of ownership of violence, the way that I participate in violence so that I can then enable the possibility of a return to a relationship with God that moves away from this deviant path." Regarding the ease with which Christians accept ultimate violence, eternal punishment for the damned, Suzanne Proulx asked: "Has the notion of a final retribution served as a way ofdeferring our own violent revenge, rather than incorporating it?" I.e., the idea of God asjudge and executioner protecting us from the specter of total violence. Charles McCarthy recalled the prayer of Elie Wiesel: "God of mercy, I plead with you not to have mercy on those who created this place [Auschwitz]," and exhorted us to get beyond a possible attitude of nonseriousness in this regard, and recognize the tension between the understanding offorgiveness in Wiesel's prayerandJesus' "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." What place does truth have in the Girardian theory? Also, whatever the practice, the Church did not preach or teach a defense of violence in the first three centuries. Aloysius Lugira then urged Christian theologians and "religiologists" to reflect on the violence in sub-Saharan Africa, aregion whose population is predominantly Christian, and on the fact that the munitions used there have been pumped into that region by Western Christian industrial producers. "Universalism" (speaker unidentified) raises the issue of the in-group and the out-group, and how difficult it is for our imaginations to accept the out-group. E.g., people were less upset by Caravaggio's using a prostitute 40 and her child as models for the virgin mother and child, than by his including "poor pilgrims in their everyday reality" in the painting. OK to inclusivity, as long as it's "not at my table!" It is not easy to imagine and live a vision of true inclusivity. Britton Johnston thanked Nuechterlein for bringing up the issue of sacramentalism. In pastoral situations, issues ofretribution, andultimately, theodicy, constantly recur. How do/can we truly reconcile (1) God all good and loving; (2) God all-powerful; (3) bad things happening; process theology; looking to an afterlife where things will be set right; Buddhist reincarnation; Presbyterian/Augustinian predestination; UnitarianUniversalist /everybody gets rewarded? "What I think I understand Girard to be saying is that retribution is mostly just an excuse to punish people ..." A suggested direction: "...if we get rid of retribution as an issue, universalism isn't necessary as a solution, and neither is predestination. ...universalism is a problem because it still thinks in terms of retribution... in the background." Lisa Bellan-Boyer identified two "gaping holes" in Daly's historical outline: (1) the Church in relation to women, and (2) regarding no. 31, the seamless ethic of life: the violence that can come from an extreme antiabortion position, and that is alreadyOe.g. the AIDS epidemic in AfricaOcoming from the Vatican's complicity in blocking progress from reproductive freedom for women worldwide. (Unidentified)RegardingNuechterlein'sraisingthe sacramental issues, I ask "whether the non-sacramental character of the Radical Reformation was aresponse to [Holy] Communion being a model not only ofheaven but also a model of hell, inasmuch as excommunication is a synonym for damnation?" Daly immediately acknowledgedthatEucharisthasbeenused as a means of power in the Church. Vern Neufeld Redekop: Ifwe are to replace retribution, then replace it with either restoration of relationships or recreation of relationships. Important along the line is that perpetrators of violence need to selfdisclose , show remorse. E.g., I, as a Mennonite, remembering that Ukrainian Mennonites who were exempt under the Russians but formed a Mennonite army when the Germans came in, mustacknowledge thatnot all in the Peace Churches have had clean hands. I cannot judge Elie Wiesel because "what is said is not only what is said but where and when it is said." Maybe ifwe acknowledged that we (Christians) should have known what we were doing...


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