The Church for the World: A Theology of Public Witness. In this book McBride is attempting to lay the foundation for a non-triumphalist engagement by the church in the public square. She's using the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as her theological starting point. As I've long been an admirer and reader of things Bonhoeffer, this book has been of great interest to me.
As I've heard some talk in some circles about Christmas Christians and Easter Christians, a discussion of Christ's engagement with/in the world that takes into consideration his incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection seems relevant. Taken from Bonhoeffer's unfinished book Ethics, which he was writing while engaging in the resistance to Hitler, Bonhoeffer speaks of the need to keep all three together. She writes:
The incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ constitute the threefold Christological pattern of this-worldly reality, for they correspond to God's acceptance, judgment, and reconciliation of this world. Bonhoeffer writes in Ethics, "In becoming human we recognize God's love towards creation, in the crucifixion God's judgment on all flesh, and in the Resurrection God's purpose for a new world." God's belonging wholly to humanity rests in the unity of the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection such that making any of the three absolute distorts the picture of the world portrayed by the life of Christ. Isolating a theology of affirmation based on the incarnation will lead to uncritical support of the status quo; a narrow theology of the crucifixion will leave the world judged and condemned; and a theologia gloria confined to the resurrection will foster a triumphal idealism disconnected from the church's culpability in present realities of sin and injustice. (p. 103)
It's easy to pick one of these three elements and focus upon one or the other. Liberals like incarnation, while many conservatives pick the cross, and of course it's easy to choose a theology of glory and skip all the worldly stuff. But that's not Bonhoeffer's vision. If we, who are Christians, are to be present in the public square how does this threefold pattern enable us to do so in a faithful manner?