The Associated Baptist Press has published my opinion column "Was Jesus an Object of Childhood Bullying?" Here's the lead:
(ABP) – Reflecting on Scripture, the fourth-century church father Gregory of Nyssa insists that in the Incarnation the Son of God embraced fully the human condition, including “the advance from infancy to adulthood,” and experienced from others the alienation and violence that mark humanity’s sinful condition.
Given recent media attention to the problem of childhood bullying and engaging in a little speculative theology, can we imagine that during his “advance from infancy to adulthood” Jesus may have encountered a bully? (Read the rest of the column on abpnews.com.)
Here's a fuller expression of the four less-speculative theological assertions in which I rooted this exercise in speculative theology, beyond the limits of a brief op-ed column: (1) Humanity, though God’s good creation in the divine image, is fallen. (2) In every time, place, and culture, the sinful condition of humanity is manifest in alienation and violence in all its forms. (3) In the Incarnation the Son of God embraced fully the human condition--including “the advance from infancy to adulthood,” in the words of the fourth-century church father Gregory of Nyssa--and experienced from others the alienation and violence that mark humanity’s sinful condition. (4) The cross, in which Jesus is both the victim of the alienation and violence sinful humans inflict on one another and the one who exposes this alienation and violence as sinful, is paradigmatic for Jesus’ other experiences of the human condition.