… those earliest Eucharistic meals were not our present morsel-and-sip ritual but a true meal, called the Lord’s Supper because it was the style of share-meal created by Jesus as a meal-symbol of equality within a community that believed in God’s ownership of food as the material basis of life itself. The radicality of God’s egalitarian Christian meal opposed the normalcy of Rome’s hierarchically patronal meal.
Thus John Dominic Crossan in his fascinating book God and Empire: Jesus against Rome, Then and Now.
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Thus Galatians 3:28. As Ulrich Duchrow notes, in his foreword to Antonio González Fernández’s God’s Reign and the End of Empires, ‘this is a new creation without domination, oppression and violence’.
I have found Walter Wink’s brief little book on non-violence a thought-provoking read. He makes it quite clear that non-violence does not imply passive acceptance of an inhumane situation. Here’s an example of what non-violence does not mean:
How many a battered wife has been counseled, on the strength of a legalistic reading of [Matthew 5:38-41], to ‘turn the other cheek,’ when what she needs, according to the spirit of Jesus’ words, is to find a way to restore her own dignity and end the vicious circle of humiliation, guilt, and bruising. She needs to assert some sort of control in the situation and force her husband to regard her as an equal, or get out of the relationship altogether. The victim needs to recover her self-worth and seize the initiative from her oppressor. And he needs to be helped to overcome his violence.
(From Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way)
The last point ties in with Margaret Mead’s comment that ‘every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man’ (quoted in Lisa Appignanesi, Rachel Holmes and Susie Orbach [eds], Fifty Shades of Feminism). How true!