Dorothee Soelle Offers Medicine for Christolatry & Christofascism

Having spent the last DMs on the bad news of Christofascism and Patriarchy and their many incarnations at SCOTUS and Opus Dei, it is a refreshing thing to meditate on medicine for such sicknesses. 

“Christofascism” by Dorothee Sölle.
Reading of the complete essay from The Window of Vulnerability: A Political Spirituality. Hear the full text of the out-of-print book HERE. New Transcendentalist

I find much balm in the work of feminist and liberation theologian and lover of Meister Eckhart, Dorothee Soelle.  It was from her that I first heard the words “Christolatry” and “Christofascism” many decades ago. 

Here is some of her wisdom.  Her poem “Credo” (“I believe”) goes like this.

I believe in god
Who did not create an immutable world
a thing incapable of change
who does not govern according to eternal laws
that remain inviolate
Or according to a natural order
Of rich and poor
Of the expert and the ignorant
Of ruler and subject

Dorothee Soelle in Bern, 1985. Wikimedia Commons.

I believe in god
Who willed conflict in life
And wanted us to challenge the status quo
through our work
Through our politics.

Notice how she is taking on dualisms that are so integral to patriarchy which are not “eternal law”:  Rich and poor, expert and ignorant, rulers and subjects do not have to be the rule of the land.  She is urging a society that erases disdain and scorn and arrogance.  Our work and politics matter.

I believe in the spirit
that Jesus brought into the world
In the brotherhood of all nations
I believe it is up to us
What our earth becomes
A valley of tears starvation and tyranny
Or a city of god

I believe in a just peace
That can be achieved in the possibility of a meaningful life
For all people
I believe this world of god’s
Has a future.

Dorothee Soelle reads her Credo For the Earth in the original German. Dorothee Sölle WEWO

For her, peace and justice—a “just peace”—go together.

She writes of moving beyond “Christolatry.” The goal of the Christian religion is not the idolizing of Christ, not Christolatry but that we all ‘are in Christ,’ as the mystical expression goes, that we have an art in the life of Christ.  

She calls Christ a “wounded healer” and encourages us to become as he is.  Be as he is, laugh as he laughs, weep as he weeps and heal those who have contracted the great neuroses of our society.  Because to feed the hungry means to do away with militarism.  To bless the children means to leave the trees standing for them.**

*Dorothee Soelle, Revolutinary Patience, p. 22.

**Dorothee Soelle, Theology for Skeptics: Reflections on God, p. 92.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations, pp. 269, 272, 274.

Banner Image: Connecting hands of restorative justice. A symbol within the Community Bridge. Photo by Jeff Kubina on Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you find relief and empowerment in these meditations with Dorothee Soelle?  It’s important to include the mystics in our consideration of failed patriarchy and failed Supreme Courts, isn’t it?

Recommended Reading

Christian Mystics: 365 Readings & Meditations

As Matthew Fox notes, when an aging Albert Einstein was asked if he had any regrets, he replied, “I wish I had read more of the mystics earlier in my life.” The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.
“Our world is in crisis, and we need road maps that can ground us in wisdom, inspire us to action, and help us gather our talents in service of compassion and justice.  This revolutionary book does just that.  Matthew Fox takes some of the most profound spiritual teachings of the West and translates them into practical daily mediations.  Study and practice these teachings.  Take what’s in this book and teach it to the youth because the new generation cannot afford to suffer the spirit and ethical illiteracy of the past.” — Adam Bucko, spiritual activist and co-founder of the Reciprocity Foundation for Homeless Youth.

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5 thoughts on “Dorothee Soelle Offers Medicine for Christolatry & Christofascism”

  1. Avatar

    Yes! Thank you for introducing us to another prophet for Truth and Justice! Her essay, “Christofascism,” read in today’s DM, is very powerful and truthfully exposes the Patriarchy, racism, unjust societal influences, and spiritual distortions of the fundamentalist/extreme conservatism of the Christian church (including the Catholic Church) in American society, politics, and government policies… Dorothee Soelle, another prophet and spiritual warrior of Truth~Peace~Justice, whose voice, words, and spiritual message and actions we need to hear more of not only in the US, but around the world!!!

  2. Avatar

    The young people are not thinking about Opus Dei right now. They are worried about the slaughter and famine in Gaza while the “liberal media” like the New York Times are demonizing protesters to justify the genocide. The western elites are a sad bunch of people. Dorothee Soelle would be protesting her own government with their Islamophobia and free speech crackdowns. Solidarity and spealingis required right now. Thanks.

  3. Avatar
    Martina Nicholson

    Thanks for bringing Dorothee Soelle to our attention. I love what she says, and how she urges us to continue to push for social justice, freedom, peace, deeper spirituality. We have to protest what is happening in Gaza. It is a genocide, and the incessant bombing, more than any war since WW2 and more than the bombing of Dresden, is obliterating the land and housing, the hospitals, as well as the people. Using starvation and refusal to give potable water, as tools of war. There is no way we can support ongoing “bombs, not food”. The students are right, they see what it means, they are trying to stick to the moral high ground. The oppressed have become quintessential opressors. We have to stop them, force a cease-fire, demand that they allow the Palestinian people to LIVE.

    1. Avatar

      It is tragic to me how antisemitism has been defined as disagreement with the policies of the government of Israel, when real antisemitism, which is hatred of Jews, is growing. Real antisemites are rejoicing and, I am sure, fanning the flames of the protests to mask their own hatred. It is the tactic of despots to frame problems in either/or dualistic terms to hide the real, complex issues. As Brian Mclaren and others have taught, it is easier for people to accept a simple lie than the complex truth, which might require critical and independent thinking.

  4. Avatar

    I appreciate these diverse views. It’s good to hear from other voices once in awhile. Thank you for sharing.

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