the gospel in an age of empire
From the place where   But doubts and loveswe are right                           Dig up the worldFlowers will nevergrow  ...
The Hebrew ScripturesThe Egyptian Empire:- A place of refuge and enslavement, genocideThe Assyrian Empire: (about 722 bce)...
Intertestamental PeriodGreek EmpireSeleucid EmpireRoman Empire
The New TestamentRoman Empire   Greek Language, Culture, Philosophy    Roman Politics, PowerThe Jewish Wars (67-70 ce)Chri...
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the                 good news of God.  The time has com...
Question 1:What is the shape of thebiblical narrative?              (A pre-critical question)
Eden                       Heaven       Fall                Salvation              History/              The fallen       ...
Platonic Ideal                  Platonic Ideal        Fall                    Atonement,                                pu...
Pax Romana                 Pax Romana                                  Civilization, Rebellion                       devel...
Perfection               Heaven                         The Gospel of the                         Gap ...             Damn...
Is there analternativeunderstanding?
sdrawkcab gnidaerRick Warren, Billy Graham, Charles Finney, John Wesley (or Calvin), Luther,Aquinas, Augustine, Paul, Jesu...
Exodus: Liberation & Formation
Exodus: Liberation & FormationGenesis: Creation and Reconciliation
Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and                 Mercy        Exodus: Liberation & FormationGenesis: Creation and R...
Ge      Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice andn      Mercyesis    Exodus: Liberation & Formation
HUMAN DESTRUCTION  G  e         Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and  n         Mercy  e      HUMAN VIOLENCE  s  i  s  ...
HUMAN DESTRUCTION  G  e         Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and  n         Mercy  e      HUMAN VIOLENCE  s  i  s  ...
Ge    Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdomnes    Exodus: Liberation
From Everything Must Change ...The Roman Empire was Jesus’ original habitat and thedominant social reality in which he liv...
...The Roman Empire promised peace, security,and equity through domination. The pax Romanarecipe was elegantly simple, as ...
Slaves and servants ...Small farmers ... taxes, land acquisition, tenants, landlessWomen ... marry by 14, raise 5 children...
So unless you were a slave, servant, tenant farmer,woman, or border dweller, you had a great life ofprosperity, security, ...
Obviously, to protect the precious freedom of theempire’s wealthy and powerful men, there would haveto be taxes—taxes that...
There was one other small price to pay so thatpowerful, wealthy men could enjoy the prosperity,security, and equity of emp...
The cross was Rome’s brilliant way of torturing uncooperativepeople. Imperial security forces would erect crosses conspicu...
The quickest glance at a cross would cure almost anyone of theimpulse to shake up the blissful status quo of the pax Roman...
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the                 good news of God.  The time has com...
Jesus came with an alternative  story:          the good news   of the kingdom* of God.     [*reign, commonwealth, dream, ...
Colossians 1:15-20
Christ is the image of theGod who can’t be seen.Christ is the image of theGod who can’t be seen.   The firstborn of all   ...
In him all things were created.     Things in heaven and on     earth -     Things visible and invisible -     Whether thr...
And he is before all things.   All things hold together in   him.And he is the head of thebody, the church.
He is the beginning, the    firstborn from the dead.So in everything he has the firstplace.    For in him all the fullness...
In Him God was pleased toreconcile all things    All things to himself,    All things on earth,    all things in heaven,By...
Christ is the image of theGod who can’t be seen.Christ is the image of theGod who can’t be seen.Amen.
Zealots                                                         Pharisees                                          Herodia...
Empire can be defined in various ways. Duane Clinker offers threecharacteristics:    1. An empire expands beyond normal bo...
In light of these kinds of descriptions, the three priorities of“The National Security Strategy of the United States” have...
two stories ...two gospels ...   G                  e    Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom                  n                  e  ...
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the                 good news of God.  The time has com...
Acts 16The gospel of the kingdom/empire ofGod confronts a colony of the kingdom/empire of Caesar.                         ...
Ivan Illich (Austrian        former priest,  philosopher, social   critic, 1926-2002)
Neither revolution nor reformationcan ultimately change a society,rather you must tell a new powerfultale, one so persuasi...
… one so inclusive that it gathers all thebits of our past and our present into acoherent whole, one that even shinessome ...
Gospel in age of empire
Gospel in age of empire
Gospel in age of empire
Gospel in age of empire
Gospel in age of empire
Gospel in age of empire
Gospel in age of empire
Gospel in age of empire
Gospel in age of empire
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Gospel in age of empire

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  • Gospel in age of empire

    1. 1. the gospel in an age of empire
    2. 2. From the place where But doubts and loveswe are right Dig up the worldFlowers will nevergrow Like a mole, a plow.In the spring. And a whisper will beThe place where we heard in the placeare right Where the ruinedIs hard and trampled House once stood.Like a yard. Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai
    3. 3. The Hebrew ScripturesThe Egyptian Empire:- A place of refuge and enslavement, genocideThe Assyrian Empire: (about 722 bce)- Destroying the Northern Kingdom, genocideThe Babylonian Empire (about 586 bce)- Destroying the Southern Kingdom, ExileThe Medo-Persian and Persian Empires (539 bce)- Religious co-option (Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah,Esther)
    4. 4. Intertestamental PeriodGreek EmpireSeleucid EmpireRoman Empire
    5. 5. The New TestamentRoman Empire Greek Language, Culture, Philosophy Roman Politics, PowerThe Jewish Wars (67-70 ce)Christians as “Barbarians”Christian faith as “the true philosophy” (Athens)Christianity and Rome: Who converts whom?
    6. 6. After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. The time has come, he said. The kingdom of God has come near.Repent and believe the good news! Mark 1:15
    7. 7. Question 1:What is the shape of thebiblical narrative? (A pre-critical question)
    8. 8. Eden Heaven Fall Salvation History/ The fallen world Hell
    9. 9. Platonic Ideal Platonic Ideal Fall Atonement, purification IntoAristotelian Aristotelian Real Real Hades
    10. 10. Pax Romana Pax Romana Civilization, Rebellion development, into colonialism barbarism Barbarian/ assimilation pagan world Destruction, defeat
    11. 11. Perfection Heaven The Gospel of the Gap ... Damnation Hell
    12. 12. Is there analternativeunderstanding?
    13. 13. sdrawkcab gnidaerRick Warren, Billy Graham, Charles Finney, John Wesley (or Calvin), Luther,Aquinas, Augustine, Paul, Jesusreading forwardsAdam, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus
    14. 14. Exodus: Liberation & Formation
    15. 15. Exodus: Liberation & FormationGenesis: Creation and Reconciliation
    16. 16. Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and Mercy Exodus: Liberation & FormationGenesis: Creation and Reconciliation
    17. 17. Ge Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice andn Mercyesis Exodus: Liberation & Formation
    18. 18. HUMAN DESTRUCTION G e Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and n Mercy e HUMAN VIOLENCE s i s HUMAN EXPLOITATION Exodus: Liberation & Formation
    19. 19. HUMAN DESTRUCTION G e Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom - Justice and n Mercy e HUMAN VIOLENCE s i s HUMAN EXPLOITATION Exodus: Liberation & Formation
    20. 20. Ge Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdomnes Exodus: Liberation
    21. 21. From Everything Must Change ...The Roman Empire was Jesus’ original habitat and thedominant social reality in which he lived. Its framingstory demanded absolute submission. The empirecould demand this submission because it could boastamazing successes: a system of roads and ports tofacilitate commerce, urban planning that featuredunprecedented engineering advances—fromaqueducts to amphitheatres, an economic system thatprovided a common currency and a cultural systemthat spread Roman values through the Greeklanguage.
    22. 22. ...The Roman Empire promised peace, security,and equity through domination. The pax Romanarecipe was elegantly simple, as it is for all empires.Concentrate the power of violence in once source—the emperor (literally, the king of kings, the supremeking to whom all regional kings defer and submit).Decisively crush any and all opposition to theemperor. Then, unified under the emperor’s supremewill, the empire will defeat its enemies and punish itscriminals so that all will experience prosperity, equity,and peace . . . All, that is except ...
    23. 23. Slaves and servants ...Small farmers ... taxes, land acquisition, tenants, landlessWomen ... marry by 14, raise 5 children to adulthoodNeighbors ...Conscriptable men ...
    24. 24. So unless you were a slave, servant, tenant farmer,woman, or border dweller, you had a great life ofprosperity, security, and equity in the empire. Until, ofcourse, full-scale wars broke out. Then, it wasn’t goodto be a conscriptable male. But thankfully, the sons ofthe wealthy and those in power wouldn’t beconscripted to go to the front lines. The commonpeople and their sons would be given that honor.
    25. 25. Obviously, to protect the precious freedom of theempire’s wealthy and powerful men, there would haveto be taxes—taxes that fell disproportionately on thenon-elite. But these were small prices to pay for thepleasure of being part of a great and peaceful empire—a pleasure enjoyed by all except slaves, servants,tenant farmers, women, border-dwellers, conscriptablemales, and those who were not given tax breaks.
    26. 26. There was one other small price to pay so thatpowerful, wealthy men could enjoy the prosperity,security, and equity of empire: freedom of speech, ofthought, of religion. Of course, all three wereofficially celebrated and defended by the empire—except when they might undermine support forimperial policy. For example, if people were temptedto use their free speech to complain about excessivetaxation in the empire, or if their religion came intoconflict with the patriotic ethos of the empire—perhaps by doubting the supreme, divine authoritygiven to the emperor—they’d better keep quiet aboutit, or they may experience the dark side of the paxRomana: the cross.
    27. 27. The cross was Rome’s brilliant way of torturing uncooperativepeople. Imperial security forces would erect crosses conspicuouslyon hillsides near well-traveled roads near major cities of the empire.By impaling rebels like insects on pins for public view, securityforces would demonstrate both the absolute and fearsome power ofthe empire and the complete and pathetic powerlessness ofwrithing, gasping, crying would-be insurrectionists. It would justtake one quick glance at a cross, perhaps supporting a naked victimcovered in sweat and blood, feces dripping down his leg, screamingand moaning and sobbing, and the lesson would be learned. Orperhaps a second quick glance a few days later, the Roman crossholding high the rebel’s rotting remains as they were attended to byscavenging crows, a vulture or two, feral dogs, a cloud of flies, andmaggots.
    28. 28. The quickest glance at a cross would cure almost anyone of theimpulse to shake up the blissful status quo of the pax Romana thatbenefited everyone equally—except slaves, servants, tenantfarmers, women, the people of border territories, soldiers, those notgiven tax breaks, and those unable to control their dreams offreedom and impulses for free speech. ... How ironic that the cross—the icon of the dominating Roman framing story—became the icon for the liberating framing story of Jesus. And howmuch more ironic if we who believe in Jesus don’t get the irony.
    29. 29. After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. The time has come, he said. The kingdom of God has come near.Repent and believe the good news! Mark 1:15
    30. 30. Jesus came with an alternative story: the good news of the kingdom* of God. [*reign, commonwealth, dream, dance, economy, ecosystem, movement, beloved community, network, etc]
    31. 31. Colossians 1:15-20
    32. 32. Christ is the image of theGod who can’t be seen.Christ is the image of theGod who can’t be seen. The firstborn of all creation.
    33. 33. In him all things were created. Things in heaven and on earth - Things visible and invisible - Whether thrones or dominions, rulers or powers.Through him all things havebeen created.For him all things have beencreated.
    34. 34. And he is before all things. All things hold together in him.And he is the head of thebody, the church.
    35. 35. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.So in everything he has the firstplace. For in him all the fullness - The fullness of God - Was pleased to dwell.
    36. 36. In Him God was pleased toreconcile all things All things to himself, All things on earth, all things in heaven,By making peace through theblood of his cross.By making peace through theblood of his cross.
    37. 37. Christ is the image of theGod who can’t be seen.Christ is the image of theGod who can’t be seen.Amen.
    38. 38. Zealots Pharisees Herodians and Sadducees EssenesAt first glance, all of this might seem rather remote to us today, althoughthere has been much talk in recent years about the United States as a newimperial power. But upon further reflection, it’s clear that thesecounternarratives have various counterparts in our world today, maybeincluding some of us, or maybe parts of each of us. For example, somegroups call believers to withdraw into isolated subcultures like the Essenes– with their own TV stations, their own radio stations, their own literature,their own schools. Others stir people to “take America back for Jesus,”often using the rhetoric of warfare, recalling the Zealots. Some identifyvarious scapegoats – liberals and gays have been popular in this role – toblame for our world’s problems. Others call on believers to support theirpresident or party without criticism, and to accept the current politicalarrangement as the will of God, echoing Herodians and Sadducees.
    39. 39. Empire can be defined in various ways. Duane Clinker offers threecharacteristics: 1. An empire expands beyond normal boundaries, so its national interests extend to include military installations abroad, multinational corporations owned by the empire’s citizens, and the interests of its allies. 2. An empire normally develops extraordinary military power. 3. An empire exerts its influence in a variety of ways—through economics, culture, religion, education, and politics.David Korten offers four characteristics of an empire: 1. Empires embrace the idea of material luxury and excess for the ruling classes. 2. Empires are dedicated to absolute military supremacy. 3. Empires emphasize the masculine values of violence and domination over the feminine values of nurture and cooperation. 4. Empires create a ceiling for human development and impede development beyond their current level.
    40. 40. In light of these kinds of descriptions, the three priorities of“The National Security Strategy of the United States” havea rather eerie significance: 1. Perpetuate US military dominance globally so no nation can rival or threaten the US. 2. Be prepared to engage in preemptive military strikes, whenever the US government considers another nation to be a threat to the US, its forces or installations abroad, or its friends or allies. 3. Maintain immunity for US citizens from prosecution by the International Criminal Court. In other words, dominate, intimidate, and refuse to playby the rules you expect everybody else to play by—aclassic manifesto of the imperial spirit.
    41. 41. two stories ...two gospels ... G e Isaiah: Peaceable Kingdom n e s Exodus: Liberation
    42. 42. After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. The time has come, he said. The kingdom of God has come near.Repent and believe the good news! Mark 1:15
    43. 43. Acts 16The gospel of the kingdom/empire ofGod confronts a colony of the kingdom/empire of Caesar. What happens? What does “salvation” or “saved” mean in this context?
    44. 44. Ivan Illich (Austrian former priest, philosopher, social critic, 1926-2002)
    45. 45. Neither revolution nor reformationcan ultimately change a society,rather you must tell a new powerfultale, one so persuasive that it sweepsaway the old myths and becomes thepreferred story …
    46. 46. … one so inclusive that it gathers all thebits of our past and our present into acoherent whole, one that even shinessome light into the future so that we cantake the next step…. If you want tochange a society, then you have to tell analternative story. - attributed to Ivan Illich (Austrian former priest, philosopher, social critic, 1926-2002)

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