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Nonconformity and Transcendence

“The church can be a foretaste of the peace for which the world was made. It is the function of minority communities to remember and to create utopian visions. There is no hope for society without an awareness of transcendence. Transcendence is kept alive not on the grounds of logical proof to the effect that there is a cosmos with a hereafter, but by the vitality of communities in which a different way of being keeps breaking in here and now. That we can really be led on a different way is real proof of the transcendent power which offers hope of peace to the world as well. Nonconformity is the warrant for the promise of another world. Although immersed in this world, the church by her way of being represents the promise of another world, which is not somewhere else but which is to come here. That promissory quality of the church’s present distinctiveness is the making of peace, as the refusal to make war is her indispensable negative transcendence.”

– John Howard Yoder, The Priestly Kingdom: Social Ethics as Gospel (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984), 94.


  1. Andy Rowell wrote:

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    Monday, October 27, 2008 at 7:33 am | Permalink
  2. Nate Kerr wrote:

    Man, this is such a good quote! I am convinced that Yoder has something very unique to say with regards to all the current talk of “immanence” and “transcendence” that is not reducible to the stale terms of the debate as it now stands.

    Monday, October 27, 2008 at 8:58 am | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    Yeah, Nate I think he was far smarter than all of us.

    Monday, October 27, 2008 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  4. Brilliant, keep the Yoder-quotes coming!

    Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 5:40 am | Permalink

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