An art of small resurrections : surviving the Texas death chamber

by Walter Cromer Long

Paper Book, 2010



Call number

CP 408


Wallingford, Pa. : Pendle Hill Publications, 2010.

User reviews

LibraryThing member bookcrazed
Walter Long, an attorney with a practice in Austin, Texas, specializes in death-penalty cases. Long quotes historical documents to support his claim that, before Rome adopted Christianity as its official religion, Christians could not tolerate violence and specifically abhorred the death penalty.

To me, the most interesting (or should I say, startling) aspect of his essay is his proposal that the idea that Jesus died to save us was developed by the early Christian community as a way to deal with their shock at Jesus's death. Thus, he is maintaining that what many consider to be the cornerstone of Christianity -- the belief that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins -- was born from the post traumatic stress suffered by a nonviolent community when their leader was murdered. Citing modern psychological theory, he says that these early Christians needed to find some meaning in this tragic act of senseless violence.

Long stresses Jesus's teachings about forgiveness. He writes, "each act of self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others is a small resurrection -- a revivifying contact with others -- and a source of hope for a less violent, more just future."

As in all of the more recent pamphlets in this series, included at the end are Discussion Questions. What a rousing discussion this material could stimulate!
… (more)
LibraryThing member QuakerReviews
This wonderful pamphlet addresses the contrast between Jesus' message of fearless compassion and the peaceable kingdom, with the Christian doctrines of atonement (Jesus' death by execution as necessary atonement for human sin) that present God demanding retribution for human sin and responsible for the execution of Jesus. The very most wonderful part, however, is Long's explanation of his use of the Lord's prayer as a spiritual practice, which has helped him to endure his traumatizing work as a death penalty appeals attorney. He sees each act of forgiveness of self and others as a small resurrection and a source of hope for a less violent and more just future.… (more)



Local notes

Pendle Hill Pamphlet 408

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Call number

CP 408


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