Saturday, December 19, 2009

Captured faith

Here's a strong and, some would say I'm sure, controversial word from my friend Dr. Joerg Rieger, professor of theology at Perkins School of Theology at SMU.  After  you read it, let me know what you think.

. . .we need to face the forces that constantly threaten to hold captive our thinking about Christ. Theologies and Christologies that do not dare to confront their assimilation and bondage to empire stand little chance to push through to new versions of liberation (p. 315).

Other truths are still hidden and covered up, especially the question: Who ultimately benefits from the current structures of empire? Why else would so many common people vote for the interests of the wealthiest and most powerful members of society – for instance by endorsing tax cuts for the rich and for limits to the social and ecological accountability of monied interests – and against their own interests, that might better be served by a strong social security net that includes health care for all and a well-funded educational system? (p. 316).

The problem here is not so much an intentional cover-up or a conscious lie (although lies and cover-ups are part of the repertoire). The problem is with the fact that the most basic truth about empire is often invisible, to be found between the lines… The American empire… took shape… in a state of denial that did not allow reflection or debate. (pp. 317 & 318).

Awareness of a powerful alternative reality that cannot be captured by empire inspires fresh action and generates new energy… (Continue in my word: - John 8:31). Why not think about “continuing in [Jesus’] word” in terms of participating in Jesus’ alternative reality, which includes the realities of the kinds of people on the margins with whom he developed

from Joerg Rieger, Christ and Empire:  From Paul to Postcolonial Times (Fortress Press, 2007).

1 comment:

Arlene Kasselman said...

Larry, these are powerful, insightful, convicting words - thanks for sharing.