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Yet downplaying human suffering in this way creates even greater suffering, by anesthetizing us to its effect on human beings. Some of the critics of modernity also criticize Christianity as a religious version of the modern myth of progress, or even as its very source. Inspired in part by the political theology of Johann Metz and by the liturgical scholarship of Don Saliers, Robert Taft, and others, the author argues instead that in the liturgies of Holy Week, the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ form a context in which Christians recognize human suffering not as an unfortunate moment on the way to salvation but as the very field of God's saving activity.
James W. Farwell is aProfessor in the Department of Religious Studies at Bethany College, WV.