Central to Christian theological perspectives on criminal punishment is the requirement of discerning the difference Jesus Christ makes for Christian understanding and possible participation in societyâ€™s meting out of punishment.
I advance here a thesis significantly indebted to Hauerwasâ€™s work; a Christian praxis of good punishment offers a healing politics of better hope for societyâ€™s practice of criminal justice.
Good punishment, as an embodied Christian praxis, involves a particular story-informed and worshipful practice of â€œhealing memoryâ€ in the service of â€œontological intimacy.â€ Essentially, good punishment involves a peaceable Christian politics of healing the memories of wrongdoing by way of the acknowledgement of sin within a communal setting of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Ontological intimacy is the Christian confession that all things participate in the power of Godâ€™s being through bonds of radical communion.
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