Friday, April 13, 2007

subverting the empire

This subject has been on my mind most of my life, yet I didn't know what it was or what to call it.

Claiborne's book was influential in my life as it gave simple definitions and action oriented examples for these weird life-long thoughts.

So did Colossians Remixed, that Agent X shared with me. But that book was too wordy for me. Kind of like a doctoral version of the Claiborne book.

And I still don't have any commentary on undermining the empire. Yet.

I think I can live it easier than I can explain it.

So I'll post a snip of some other guy's words on the subject, along with this link of links for his series on subversion:

...from Josh Brown:

They say nice big gas guzzlers are the way to go. So we get rid of a car, ride a bike, carpool, and walk. They say we should be left to ourselves when we pull into our suburban home. So we sit on our front porches with our garage doors open. They say we should buy what we want when we want it. So we cut up our credit cards and give micro-loans to videographers in Ghana and a medical clinic in Kenya. They say having a multi-million dollar building campaign and excessive utility bills is worth the 3 hour event on Sunday mornings. So we break bread with our friends 7 days a week and give our tithe away. They say the truest indication of beauty comes from the commercials, magazines and what you wear. So we say a child’s way of life is more important than any lotion, t-shirt, or luxury that a child can provide us. They say you should care only about yourself and do whatever it takes to get ahead. So we live together with other couples as family sharing expenses and resources. They say the only way to protect ourselves, ensure security, and live peacefully is by way of state of the art weaponry directed at our enemies. So we usher in peace by way of the cross for our enemies.

Undermining is a radical posture and extremely polarizing. It is a dangerous thing to suggest that there is another way to live. So much that it can get you killed by the empire.

So Jesus comes and talks to women. He touches them and they touch him. The host culture did not allow that. But he didn’t care. He was too busy undermining the cultural role of men and women.

So Jesus comes and washes the feet of his friends. The host culture did not understand this “lowering” of one’s self for the sake of others. But he didn’t care. He was too busy undermining individualism and pride.

So Jesus comes riding a donkey. A farcical and mischievous thing for someone claiming to be a king to do. But he didn’t care. He was to too busy undermining Caesar and Herod and every other political leader who ruled from position and not service.

Speaking of the empire Walter Wink writes, “The Domination System tenuously maintains the upper hand; shattering its hold at any single point threatens its stability all along the line.”

That’s why people dismiss us. That’s why people dismiss half of what Jesus taught. It threatens stability. It’s too true and too revolutionary to be safe."

Hope that makes sense.


josh said...

welcome to the tension my friend.

miller said...

"They say you should care only about yourself and do whatever it takes to get ahead. So we live together with other couples as family sharing expenses and resources."

i like this part, and its a part i've been dreaming of for some time.

thanks for the post and for the link.

i'm right there with you


Agent B said...

Thanks Josh. And great posts.

But truth be told, I've been at this for a little while. And thanks to descriptive writings like yours, I'm just beginning to understand what's going on in my world.

Miller -

I like that part too.

Still trying to figure out what "live together" means without becoming a commune.

I think I have a definition, like how our neighbors and us share nearly everything...but a roof.

I don't know.