A sculpture of Ronald McDonald on a cross ignites violent clashes in Israel

Artwork depicting a crucified Ronald McDonald remains on display in Israel despite protests and calls for its removal from the country’s Arab Christian community.

The sculpture, named “McJesus,” was meant to be a critique of society’s capitalistic culture, Haifa Museum of Art officials told the Associated Press. The demonstrations began last week and came as a surprise to museum director Nissim Tal, who indicated that the sculpture had been up for months and shown in other countries without incident.

The AP reports that the protests were sparked by scores of visitors to the museum sharing photos of “McJesus” on social media, upsetting many Arab Christians, who considered the sculpture insensitive to their religion. Tal told the Jerusalem Post that more than 30,000 people have viewed the exhibit featuring “McJesus” since opening night in August.

.. “This is very offensive, and I cannot consider this art,” Amir Ballan, an artist in Haifa and a Christian, told the AP. “We will continue through peaceful rallies and candle vigils. … We won’t be quiet until we reach a solution.”

.. “This is the maximum that we can do,” Tal told the AP. “If we take the art down, the next day we’ll have politicians demanding we take other things down, and we’ll end up only with colorful pictures of flowers in the museum.”

Jani Leinonen, the Finnish artist behind “McJesus,” told the Jerusalem Post that the sculpture was displayed against his wishes. He said he wants it removed from the exhibit because he supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, better known as BDS. The Palestinian-led initiative calls for boycotting Israeli goods and services to pressure Israel to end its occupation.

Israel argues that BDS is anti-Semitic and undermines the nation’s right to exist, and it has banned those associated with the movement from entering the country.

Cynthia Bourgeault: The Law of Three

 the foundational principles of the Law of Three:

  1. In every new arising there are three forces involved: affirming, denying, and reconciling.
  2. The interweaving of the three produces a fourth in a new dimension.
  3. Affirming, denying, and reconciling are not fixed points or permanent essence attributes, but can and do shift and must be discerned situationally.
  4. Solutions to impasses or sticking points generally come by learning how to spot and mediate third force, which is present in every situation but generally hidden.

.. The Paschal Mystery is another example, with affirming as Jesus the human teacher of the path of love; denying as the crucifixion and the forces of hatred driving it; and reconciling as the principle of self-emptying, or kenotic love willingly engaged. The fourthnew arising revealed through this weaving is the Kingdom of Heaven, visibly manifest in the very midst of human cruelty and brokenness.

Richard Rohr Meditation: Christ Is the Template for Creation

In Bonaventure’s writings, you will find little or none of the medieval language of fire and brimstone, worthy and unworthy, sin and guilt, merit and demerit, justification and atonement, even the dualistic notions of heaven or hell, which later took over.

Bonaventure summed up his entire life’s theology in three central and sacred ideas:

  1. Emanation: We come forth from God bearing the divine image, and thus our inherent identity is grounded in the life of God from the beginning (Genesis 1:26-27).
  2. Exemplarism: Everything in creation is an example, manifestation, and illustration of God in space and time (Romans 1:20). No exceptions.
  3. Consummation: All returns to the Source from which it came (John 14:3). The Omega is the same as the Alpha; this is God’s supreme and final victory.

.. The Christ Mystery—the crucified and resurrected Christ—becomes the visible template for the pattern of all creation. Christ reveals the necessary cycle of loss and renewal that keeps all things moving toward ever further life. The death and birth of every star and atom is this same pattern of loss and renewal, yet this pattern is invariably hidden, denied, or avoided, and therefore must be revealed by Jesus—through his passion, death, and resurrection.

.. Bonaventure’s theology is never about trying to placate a distant or angry God, earn forgiveness, or find some abstract theory of justification. He is all cosmic optimism and hope! Once we lost this kind of mysticism, Christianity became preoccupied with fear, unworthiness, and guilt much more than being included in—and delighting in—God’s positive, all-pervasive plan.

.. The problem is solved from the beginning in Franciscan theology: “Before the world was made, God chose us in Christ” (Ephesians 1:4). If more of the Church believed St. Francis and Bonaventure, they could have helped us move beyond the inherently negative notion of history being a “fall from grace.”

.. Bonaventure invited us into a positive notion of history as a slow but real emergence/evolution into ever-greater consciousness of a larger and always renewed life (“resurrection”).

Crucifixion of the Warrior God with Greg Boyd

Get ready for a theology nerd fiesta with Greg Boyd. Greg is the co-founder of Woodland Hills Church, where he currently serves as senior pastor, and the founder of Re|Knew. Greg is on talking about his new, two-volume book, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God. Over two volumes, Gregory A. Boyd argues that we must take seriously the full range of Scripture as inspired, including its violent depictions of God. At the same time, he affirms the absolute centrality of the crucified and risen Christ as the supreme revelation of God.

In this episode, Tripp and Greg talk about:

  • how to understand the “violent God” of the Old Testament
  • the revelation of God and the role the cross plays in it
  • the role the warrior God passages played in the Roman empire
  • the cosmic conflict narrative, where the cross is the final battle between God and cosmic powers
  • plus, how we fit the demonic into our worldview today

Richard Rohr Meditation: Saved by the Cross

The cross is a perfect metaphor for what I meant when I titled one of my books Everything Belongs. God is to be found in all things, even and most especially in the painful, tragic, and sinful things—exactly where we do not want to look for God. The crucifixion of the God-Man is at the same moment the worst and best thing in human history. It validates the central notion of paradox at the heart of Christianity.

The cross is saying that there is a cruciform pattern to reality. Reality is not meaningless and absurd (chaos/no patterns/nihilism), but neither is it perfectly consistent (rationalism/scientism/fundamentalism). Reality, rather, is filled with contradictions, what Bonaventure (1221-1274) and others called “the coincidence of opposites.” [1] Bonaventure even found sacred geometry in the symbol of the cross: “For the center is lost in a circle, and it cannot be found except by two lines crossing each other at a right angle.” [2] In other words, some kind of suffering is the only way to reconcile differences.

Jesus was killed on the collision of cross-purposes, conflicting interests, and half-truths. The cross was the price Jesus paid for living in a “mixed” world that was both human and divine, simultaneously broken and utterly whole.

.. . Jesus agreed to carry the mystery of suffering and not to demand perfection of creation. He taught, in effect, that it is the “only” way to be saved. We are indeed saved by the cross—more than we realize. The people who hold the contradictions—and resolve them in themselves—are the saviors of the world.

Jesus as Scapegoat

Picture yourself before the crucified Jesus; recognize that he became what you fear: nakedness, exposure, vulnerability, and failure. He became sin to free you from sin. (See 2 Corinthians 5:21.) He became what we do to one another in order to free us from the lie of punishing and scapegoating each other. He became the crucified so we would stop crucifying. He refused to transmit his pain onto others.

.. Your sin largely consists in what you do to harm goodness—your own and others’. You are afraid of the good; you are afraid of me. You kill what you should love; you hate what could transform you. I am Jesus crucified. I am yourself, and I am all of humanity.

.. You never asked for sympathy. You never played the victim or asked for vengeance. You breathed forgiveness.

.. We humans mistrust, murder, attack. Now I see that it is not you that humanity hates. We hate ourselves, but we mistakenly kill you. I must stop crucifying your blessed flesh on this earth and in my brothers and sisters.

Richard Rohr: The Cross

God is to be found in all things, even and most especially in the painful, tragic, and sinful things, exactly where we do not want to look for God. The crucifixion of the God-Man is at the same moment the worst thing in human history and the best thing in human history.

Human existence is neither perfectly consistent (as rational and control-needy people usually demand it be), nor is it incoherent chaos (what cynics, agnostics, and unaware people expect it to be). Instead, life has a cruciform pattern. All of life is a “coincidence of opposites” (St. Bonaventure), a collision of cross-purposes; we are all filled with contradictions needing to be reconciled. This is the precise burden and tug of all human existence.