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Engaged Swedenborgianism is the Way of the Cross

Social Justice Committee

By Dru Johnson

Whoever wants to follow me must set aside their selfish interests, pick up their cross, and follow me (Mark 8:34).

Discipleship, following Jesus,… is about following the way of the cross—commitment to the path of personal transformation… and… of confrontation with domination systems, equally symbolized by the cross (Marcus Borg, Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings and Surprising Relevance of a Spiritual Revolutionary).

These falsities and evils are removed by the combats of temptations. This is what is meant by the “cross,”… and “to follow the Lord” means to acknowledge His Divine and to do His commandments (Emanuel Swedenborg, Apocalypse Explained §893).

The big picture message the Lord Jesus (a.k.a. Rabbi Yeshua) lived out has been summarized as “The Way of the Cross.” Swedenborg perceived Yeshua engaged in continual combats of internal and external, personal, and societal temptations all through his life, until his final moments on the cross. Yeshua’s state execution came precisely because he insisted on confronting the evil “Big Bad” domination system of his day—the Roman Empire—paralleled in our day by our own oppressing “Powers that Be.” Yeshua calls his followers to the path of generous loving Divine partnership. We are called to internally and externally confront the seducing, self-centered, falsity-driven shadow paths of domination and Empire.

Yeshua walked a lifelong path of the cross, concluding in the uniting of the human and the Divine. Yeshua completed his ultimate transformative accomplishment in unbounded, unsurpassed generosity of spirit. He distributed overflowing forgiveness not just to the tool-like imperial and religious forces of torment that actually carried out the imperial execution that particular day, but to everyone, and everything, everywhere, all at once. Yeshua compared the Beloved Community to a tiny mustard seed exploding into an uncontainable organic entangling network. Engaged Swedenborgianism is all about “The Way of the Cross”—mindfully partnering with the Beloved in personal and societal regeneration through the ultimately unstoppable Divine truth and love.

Read the full issue of the April 2023 Messenger

Meet Dru Johnson

Dru Johnson (they/them) is a graduate of Pacific School of Religion and The Center for Swedenborgian Studies in Berkeley, California. Dru was especially excited to hear his mentor, Rev. Dr. Jim Lawrence, use the phrase “Engaged Swedenborgianism.”