Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Empire and the Christian Tradition--Thoughts

I had the opportunity today to read through Dr. J. Rieger's introductory chapter in Empire and the Christian Tradition: New Readings of Classical Theologians (Fortress Press, 2007). I think it provides an insightful and cursory introduction into the book's content for one, but also the trajectories within the "Empire" discussion. Rieger skillfully set forth the parameters of the discussion of Empire in a theological context. Moreover, he introduced "ambivalence" technically speaking, but in such a way that virtually anyone could grasp it. While I feel much more could have been said, this would be a helpful chapter in discussing the topic with someone who simply doesn't understand what all the hub-bub about empire is. This latter point is something I have been dealing with in my own context. I've had several days now to reflect on my last "encounter" of sorts in which, by seminary students, I was asked to describe postcolonialism to individuals who had never heard the term. I realized in those few moments, that my own grasp and interest in the subject, and indeed aspirations for future research were better situated in the interior recesses of my psyche than packaged and ready for export (to borrow readily available capitalist lingo).

While I think that I accurately described the study, as a biblical criticism, I also was confronted by the reality of how radical, to the average conservative Christian such critical ideas posed to the reigning presuppositions whether conscious or unconscious of the average evangelical situated in an American context. What does it mean when your thinking, reasoning, and critical reflection make others nervous?

I will be posting much more frequently in the coming days, as finals ease their seeming strangle-hold and my limp mind falls upon the floor. :)

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