Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Blog Address

Dear Friends,

I have fallen prey to the devilish desire to abandon my roots and migrate over to Wordpress.

Follow Me and UPDATE your SUBSCRIPTION to my blog at its new home


Monday, June 8, 2009

Obama is sort of God: The Rhetoric Just Doesn't Get any Better than This

Special thanks to Mike Whitenton for pointing this out to me. Over at SingingintheReign the professors pointed out a very interesting comment on national television by the editor of Newsweek no less, I will let you judge for yourself, but I think this clip points out the unabashed bias, devotion, and fundamentally skewed thinking with regard to the nature of Obama's political career. Sure he's black, he's young, he's hip, he's intellegent, he's left, that's all fine and good. He is a great polititian. However, doesn't anyone else find the rhetoric surrounding his "reign" to be blatantly frightening?

I'm just wondering how long it will be before "those who love America" will offer insense and declare "Obama is Lord" in nationalistic fervor for the new era of America, the "new" "remade" America.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Evil Cheney favored more by American Public than Nancy Pelosi!

Dear Friends,

While we have heard for the past several years what an evil, diabolical villain Dick Cheney is, being the archenemy of basically everything good, I find it absolutely hilarious that more people like him than Nancy ("the whore of Babylon") Pelosi. Frankly, I find Pelosi absolutely detestable, far more than Cheney. I don't personally favor Cheney, but I am thrilled that more people like him than Pelosi. Now it is empirically proven that most people agree with me, that Pelosi is an idiot, lying ideologue, lunatic who has no business being the speaker of the house.

See the Gallup Poll proof HERE.

P.S. Dallas, I told you so!

John Anderson at Wordpress... an exodus?

I would like to highly recommend John Anderson's blog. It has recently moved to wordpress and I'm wondering why so many of my fellow bibliobloggers are being led out of the wilderness and into the Wordpress holy land.

Anderson is a very astute Old Testament scholar working heavily in the Jacob cycle of Genesis. His insight and commentary is very valuable in my estimation. He is also a PhD candidate at Baylor (congrats again on passing your comps). My blogroll link to his site is also now current to his new address. Thanks for pointing that out John.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My Master's Thesis

Today, I received my 2 bound copies of my master's thesis: "Apocalyptic Imagery as Resistance Discourse: An Analysis of the Son of Man in Daniel 7 and 1 Enoch in Relationship to Matthew 25:31." By employing several analytical tools from postcolonial/imperial-critical analysis in tandem with several of Joseph Fantin's observations from Relevance Theory in order to argue that the "Son of Man" discourse is an apocalyptic discourse that is constructed by the marginalized under imperial persecution and thereby may be understood as a discourse of resistance (similar conceptually to the concept of Negro spirituals sung in the 17th century like "Babylon's a-falling" wherein the slaves envisioned an alternative reality over against their present experience in safely nestled in religious imagery so as to be "coded" to use James Scott's concept of hidden/public transcripts). I argue that this is the case independently and historically for the "Son of Man" figure in Daniel 7, the Parables (Similitudes) of Enoch, and Matthew 25:31. However, of importance to my argument, I view the author of the Parables of Enoch to have taken Dan 7 and dynamically transformed the imagery, that is, s/he took imagery that functioned religio-politically and re-envisioned or "reactualized" the image and developed it further. Indeed, it seems Matthew later did the same thing with the Enochic imagery. What the Parables do with Dan 7 radically furthers the development and in some sense the discourse evolves in a new and different direction. My position is that this is equally the case for Matthew 25:31, namely, that Matthew takes Enochic imagery bearing a normative function and applies it to Jesus. In doing so, I believe that Matthew portrays Jesus in Enochic exaltation language which activates various concepts related to the Enochic portrayal with regard to Jesus, albeit in his own way. Therefore, the Matthean discourse is not merely the Enochic discourse, rather, in some sense, I think Matthew grounds the imagery and conceptual expectation of Enoch in a person, Jesus. Thus, I think in doing so he does not merely say "this is that" but....rather... that, really, is this (Jesus). It seems plausible that if Dan 7 may be perceived, as I have argued, as an imperial resistance discourse, and that the Son of Man in the Parables functions in this way also, that by Matthew relatively clearly employing that imagery and language (i.e. the Son of Man seated on his throne of glory") with the referent of Jesus, that in some sense, that manuever may well have been understood by some, those familiar with the Enochic material, as a discourse of resistance against imperial persecution. Jesus becomes the figurehead whom symbolizes the overthrow of the wicked, the institution of justice, and the marginalized becoming elite.

Therefore, in each chapter I reconstruct a plausible discursive world (conceptual/linguistic world) in which these literary figures arise in order to properly frame the ideological and religious significance of the discourses within the communities in which they arose. Unfortunately, I was severely constrained by the word limitations of a thesis in a school that pressures people who shouldn't be writing a thesis in the first place into doing it. This practice over stretches the faculty and limits those students whose work is advanced enough to warrant much more depth.

Enjoy an excerpt from my conclusion:
This thesis has sought to investigate the literary construction within its milieu of the Son of Man figure within Daniel, the Book of Parables, and Matthew 25:31. Our aim has been to reconstruct the cognitive environment relevant to each document along with its socio-political context in order to analyze the Son of Man figure in that regard. We have determined that each text arose in environments deeply impacted by the phenomena of empire. We have discerned that one aspect of the Son of Man discourse arising in Dan 7, the Book of Parables, and Matthew 25:31 may be understood as functioning among its hearers as a discourse of imperial resistance offering an alternative reality to the hearing community from that envisioned by the dominant imperial powers of the day, in each unique case. Furthermore, we have shown through the use of relevance theory, the likelihood that Matthew 25:31 appropriated and invested with new meaning the “Son of Man” figure as constructed by both Dan 7 and the tradition undergirding the final form of the Book of Parables and applied this new construction to Jesus, in an imperial context, in such way that some of his hearers would have perceived the “Son of Man” as a challenge to the normative power structure enjoyed by the living emperor.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Review of Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament ed. Bock, Enns, Kaiser

I would like to direct your attention, to what I view as a both fair assessment and scathing critique of Kaiser's position in Three Views. Steve Moyise has articulated a very insightful review, available in the Review of Biblical Literature May 2009 Edition (see the RBL blog). I believe that Moyise has captured the subtle nuances and significance offered in this volume by both Bock and Enns, while rightly identifying the naivete offered by Kaiser's outmoded hermeneutical suggestions.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Imperial Power Exerted

Is it striking to anyone that a cancer patient who is dying does not have the right to refuse treatment? He is a 13 year old boy who took one chemo treatment and doesn't want to continue chemo. His parents support his decision. So what happens? Well a doctor and a judge have determined their opinion should trump both the wills of the dying patient and his parents. So what, in a day in which medical care is supposedly so hard to get, the FBI is hunting down this young man to drag him back and force him to receive treatment! Where is the ACLU to fight for this individuals right to seek alternative treatment.
Moreover, what is next? Will the gustapo come drag you out of your house and force you into service or to receive a "treatment" they deem necessary for you?

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pax Pneuma in Print

Pax Pneuma: The Journal of Pentecostals and Charismatics for Peace & Justice (do check out the link) is now being published by Wipf and Stock. I encourage you to pick up a copy or encourage your library to purchase the volumes as they are released. I am one of two assistant editors on the project and I'm grateful to work with such a wonderful editorial board and excellent contributors. Please consider submitting articles on issues of peace and justice or biblical studies that have some import into peace and justice or critical analysis of the socio-political variety. As you will note, we publish an array of topics all connected, albeit sometimes loosely, to Pentecostalism, peace and justice issues, and anything else the board finds relevant.

Current political policy and imperial critical analysis

So I have been thinking (dangerous activity I know). For the record, I am neither a democrat or republican. I find it interesting that most of the scholars I know doing postcolonial biblical criticism, individuals keenly in touch with the evils of empire, are politically liberal, either outright Marxist, socialist, or very left leaning democrats. Most that I know are staunch Obama supporters. Indeed, Obama himself is a very well educated man, in tune with oppression and social justice. However, I find an egregious disparity with the radical expansion of government and postcolonial/imperial critical sensibilities. How can individuals who realize the danger and oppresive domination often weilded by centralized power structures support the radical expansion that this administration is putting forward? It seems to me that such policies of increased taxation and govemmental influence in peoples lives is fundamentally contradictory to the fruits of critical analysis of imperial expansion and domination. Does anyone else see a disparity here?
-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Comments on the Church and the Academy

My good friend Mike Whitenton offered a provocative question in light of his ordination. He queried as to the necessity and relationship of the local church and the academy. I felt my response to him was well worth posting here as well, though I suggest you engage his thoughts also.

I thoroughly believe that the two should be integrated. Taking the faith in the pew and engaging it with critical scholarship is not only honest, frightening, and somewhat dangerous…in my view it is the right thing to do. Might some lose their faith? Well, quite frankly, losing my faith has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. It happens about once every year or two. I don’t stop believing in Jesus, I just grapple with who Jesus was and what his message meant (then) and therefore means (now). In some sense, Jesus for me has changed, or rather perhaps the change is merely perspectival. As the relationship and knowledge has increased, I think I have a deeper more robust faith, though the crutches I held on to in earlier days, when I had faith and God and truth all figured out have long since fallen away, but yet and still I follow Jesus. I am an ordained minister and full time pastor, I am also an academic, starting doctoral work in the fall and looking forward to a fruitful career in the academy AND the local church.

Capitalist Jesus spotted at Target

Could there possibly be anything more offensive than a Jesus action figure who, when squeezed, speaks Bible verses? For real, this and a Mary counterpart who speaks can be yours for only $19.99! I am speechless. Also, available is a " Warrior Sampson" so you to can make war, God's way. My son said, "Look Mommy, it's God!" (at Target no less).

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, May 16, 2009

He's back!

I am now back. I graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with a Master of Theology degree in New Testament Studies this past week with Highest Honors (top 3 in my class). I am most greatful to my wife and children for seeing me though a four year degree in three years. I am grateful for the education I received, but having evolved significantly in terms of ideology and I am very much looking forward to studying in a less ideologically restrictive environment so I can freely express my thoughts.

Stay tuned I will be posting frequently from my new iphone.

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Name that Messianic Tradition 2: Answer

This text is from Psalms of Solomon 17:27. With some language very reminiscent of the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and yes Enochic tradition, this text depicts what appears to be a militaristic messianic figure. One who will purge the wicked:

Ps_Sol. 17:23 (21) Look, O Lord, and raise up unto them their king, the son of David,
At the time in the which you see, O God, that he may reign over Israel your servant
24 (22) And endue him with strength, that he may shatter unrighteous rulers, 25 And that he may purge Jerusalem from nations that trample (her) down to destruction. (23) Wisely, righteously 26 he shall thrust out sinners from (the) inheritance, He shall destroy the pride of the sinner as a potter’s vessel. (24) With a rod of iron he shall break in pieces all their substance,
27 He shall destroy the godless nations with the word of his mouth; (25) At his rebuke nations shall flee before him, And he shall reprove sinners for the thoughts of their heart.

Ps_Sol. 17:28 (26) And he shall gather together a holy people, whom he shall lead in righteousness, And he shall judge the tribes of the people that has been sanctified by the Lord his God.

Here we see a developed dynastic expectation, embodied in an ideal Davidite, who will "shatter" and "purge," thereby illustrating the militaristic aspect of this messianic tradition. He will wield authority that causes the nations to retreat and will usher in an age of righteousness. His age will be the "end of exile" (e.g. "gather a holy people"). Very interesting stuff.

Name that Messianic Tradition 2

I don't know how much fun this is for you, but I love it. Identify this text and, if you can, describe something specific about the shape of this expectational tradition. :)

At his rebuke nations shall flee before him,
And he shall reprove sinners for the thoughts of their heart.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Name that Messianic Tradition 1 Answer

Mr. Whitenton, you get the prize. This is Ezra's dream/vision figure of a man ascending from the sea.

This text comes from 4 Ezra 13:26. I originally omitted "come up from the sea" because that would give it away. This passage is the interpretation of Ezra's dream/vision.

Name that Messianic Tradition 1

We are going to play a new game called "Name that Messianic Tradition." See if you can discern the author, passage and figure-description (or round about "title") of the figure in view. By the way, "Messiah" is not what I'm looking for, rather see if you can describe the figure's characteristics within the literature.

1. Text: "As for your seeing a man...this is he whom the Most High has been keeping for many ages, who will himself deliver his creation."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

President Obama.... My new Chia Pet?

Well we may be in the worst economic downturn since 1983, but things are looking up... at least for the new "Chia-Pet" Obama head! Too

For an interesting article about this in the Chicago Tribune see here. I am totally going to get a Chia Obama on my desk. Too bad his hair doesn't grow nearly as fast as the national deficit.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Walk through the Fire: Sermon on Facing Life's Adversity

Here is a sermon I preached today at Rockpointe Church (Flower Mound, TX).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Failure of Government to Learn

The Community Reinvestment Act, a policy originated in '77 under Jimmy Carter, essentially legislated banks, by means of employing pressure through the FDIC insurance group to force banks to lend to borrowers that posed a serious credit risk. However, the government's perpetuation of this program led to the housing crisis that we are all now privy to.

Would you believe that the FDIC is still, yes, currently using using this Act to tarnish the records of banking executives who were more careful with their lending? Insanity! See here in the Boston Business Journal, a bank executive who was careful, so careful with his lending that his bank is still turning a profit and presently holds no defaulted loans, while holding a top credit rating... Was he given the "Banker of the Year" award? Was he praised for using good judgment, for being faithful to do business well? No, his bank was slapped with the label "needs to improve" under the Community Reinvestment Act!

Why anyone would be ignorant enough, in light of the data so evident in almost every realm, to continue to believe the government is capable much less skilled in accomplishing anything productive is quite frankly, beyond me.

I am disgusted with America and infuriated at the imbeciles who continue to get re-elected, despite their complete stupidity and inability to accomplish anything.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sermon about Overcoming Heroin Addiction: My Life Story

I had the opportunity to share my life story at my church last week, Pastor Ron Holton and myself c0-taught a message. The first 13 minutes or so are Ron setting the message up and walking through the narrative in John 4 about Jesus encountering the Samaritan woman. Then I give my life story in about 12 minutes and conclude the message with some applicational points. The gist of the message addresses maladaptive behaviors, our metaphor being "the cycle," those that lead to addictions of all kinds, and it also offered a foretaste of a class I will be teaching on addiction at Rockpointe Church for the next three weeks.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Entering the PhD program in Biblical Interpretation at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University Fall 2009

I am very happy to report that I have been offered and have accepted admission to the Doctor of Philosophy program in Biblical Interpretation at Brite Divinity School, TCU (Fort Worth, TX). I will be afforded the opportunity of working with some very cutting edge thinkers in imperial-critical thought (imagine that!) such as Warren Carter (Matthew and Empire [2001]; John and Empire [2008]), Fransisco Lozada, Jr., Leo Purdue, and a host of other excellent scholars. Needless to say, I am thrilled.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Obama, now more popular that Jesus, God, Ghandi, JFK, Mother Teresa

There is hard data to prove that Barack Obama is now more popular than Jesus, God, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, JFK, Oprah, Bill Gates, and every other figure that could be deemed a "hero" by the populace.

See Harris Interactive poll HERE. But don't worry, I'm just over the top when I say that we too, like ancient Rome, give more than honor to our emperors.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Scholar Who Will Be Missed: Harold Hoehner 1935-2009

Several evenings ago, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Seminar for the Discussion of Early Catholic Christianity. There Dr. Warren Carter from Brite Divinity School presented a paper: "Matthew: Empire, Synagogues, and Horizontal Violence." While the dialogue that evening certainly deserves comment, that shall have to wait for a later post. That evening, I sat next to Harold Hoehner, Distinguished Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Little did I know, that night would be the last time I would encounter Dr. Hoehner on this side of the great divide. This morning, Dr. Hoehner passed on, leaving behind a cacophony of voices who will sorely miss him. Hoehner was a stalwart of scholarship, exemplified a charitable fair-mindedness, and without question played the most pivotal role in shaping the face of the New Testament department both in makeup and fundamental exegetical methodology over the past quarter century.

Although I was not personally one of Dr. Hoehner's students, my several encounters with him were always warm. He was understanding and very thoughtful. The other night, just in our casual conversation, these characteristics were apparent. He was interested in me and my studies. Upon hearing which undergraduate I attended, Professor Hoehner immediately brought up a former student of his, Bruce Rosdahl, who was one of my professors in undergraduate study. I remember being surprised by how sharp his mind was and how thoughtful a person he was to have paid such close attention to those whom he taught. I am grateful for having known him, even in a limited sense, and I express my deepest condolences both to his family and the Dallas Seminary family who will miss Dr. Hoehner. I am sure that more substantive accounts will be forthcoming from Hoehner's colleagues of the great legacy that he has left behind.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fantastic Resource on Romans: "Coded Resistance: A Proposed Rereading of Romans 13:1-7" by Sze-Kar Wan

As a grader at for a graduate exegetical class on the book of Romans, I am constantly looking for cutting edge critical resources. Two years ago, I heard a most compelling paper at a conference held at Southern Methodist University called Religion and Empire which hosted a robust panel of critical scholars from various disciplines within biblical and theological studies. Among the presenters were Sze-Kar Wan, Abraham Smith, Joerg Rieger, Namsoon Kang, Marc Ellis, and others. One lecture that stood out was presented by Sze-Kar Wan, Professor of New Testament at Perkins School of Theology. Later I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Wan, who was not only an engaging scholar, but a genuinely kind man. I found out that his paper was subsequently published as "Coded Resistance: A Proposed Rereading of Romans 13:1-7" in The Bible in the Public Square: Reading the Signs of the Times, eds. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Ellen Bradshaw Aitken, and Jonathan A. Draper (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2008), 173-84.

Firstly, I would like to commend this entire volume to those interested in engaging the biblical texts through an imperial-critical optic. This text happens to be dedicated to the influence of Richard A. Horsley (something I was not aware of prior to owning the volume) and contains a host of provocative essays on a variety of biblico-theological issues from some world class thinkers: Warren Carter, Cynthia B. Kittredge, Steven J. Friesen, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, and many others. The articles are arranged in a tripartite framework, namely, Biblical Insight into the Present Moment, Questioning ἐκκλήσια and the Academy, and Prospects for Politically Engaged Biblical Studies. Leaping from the Table of Contents are several topics such as C. Kittredge's "Echoes of Paul in the Speeches of George W. Bush," A. Callahan's "American Babylon: Days in the Life of an African-American Idea," S. Friesen's "The Blessings of Hegemony: Poverty, Paul's Assemblies, and the Class Interests of the Professoriate," A. Smith's "'Nobody Tasted Blood in It': Public Intellectuals Interrogating Myths of Innocence in Biblical Studies," and E. S. Fiorenza's "Reading Scripture in the Context of Empire" just to name a few.

Secondly, I would like to commend specifically Sze-Kar Wan's article for anyone critically engaging Romans 13:1-7, a text that has been frequently democratized into a biblical mandate for American patriotism. That is not to say that everyone has been compelled by such a prima facie reading of imperial complicity, but many have. What Wan proposes is a "rereading" with an eye to the conflictual nature of the text and its readers; indeed, he underscores the duality of the discourse as read by "insiders," those Roman Christians who would be familiar with the message of the early Jesus movement and Paul's thought over against the powerful, ruling elite who may read the text as reinforcing the dominant class's own view of themselves (174). Wan employs a "two-level reading" (a development inspired by Herzog, "Dissembling") akin to John C. Scott's public and hidden scripts (cf. Domination and the Arts of Resistance). This reading strategy offers the tools to decipher a functional duality within the text, a surface reading through one socio-politically situated community and a reading that individuals in a shared cognitive environment, privy to the religious convictions of the early Jesus movement, would have likely perceived. Moreover, this unmasks the "coded resistance" evidencing the "safe" reading for the elite, which enshrines the subversive, subtle script of resistance. Wan's lexical, exegetical, and biblical-theological moves are cohesive, cumulative, and should be reckoned with by those who tout the tacit Western imperial reading.

I have intentionally omitted a detailed analysis of his argument because I think it a very worthy read. However, I will say that his points regarding several subtleties in the text necessitate consideration, such as Paul's explicit fight elsewhere over the title διάκονος and its use in this passage (Wan, 179-81), the shift of number between ἐξουσίαις and ἐξουσία as well as οἰ ἄρχοντες and ἐξουσίαν (180-83), and others which are amply sustained with detailed observations illustrate the thought and effort Dr. Wan has exhibited in this work as well as the justification for his argument to be grappled with by those with opposing viewpoints.

Indeed, if one probes Wan's argument long, the question necessarily arises as to why the reigning reading of Romans 13:1-7 by the majority of so-called orthodox/conservative Christianity has been Paul acquiescing to Caesar and justifying the empire and her behavior; this, in turn, has translated into the legitimation of the Christian Right's theocratizing tendenz; and the commissioning of complicity with the whims of imperial leaders and their programs
among the populace, regardless of the degree to which those enterprises stand in contradistinction to the way of Jesus. The implicit answer, I think, is because the modern American necessarily, devoid of the lexico-syntactic Κοινή indicators that Wan identifies (i.e. unable to see the subtlty couched in an ancient language and text), coupled with a Weltanschauung constructed largely by imperial power and legitimation, read the text as the ruling elite, as the world superpower, as the empire by which all peoples should do obeisance. Might the standard reading that Paul, contrary to his other stances toward empire, be instructing Christians to obey the rulers because disobedience is tantamount to disobeying God be a self-condemning reading, thereby convicting the imperial reader?

Regardless, Dr. Wan's exegetical case is one that must at least be considered when interacting with this text. As a grader, nothing is more of an affront than a paper that does not illustrate a clear and concerted attempt to find alternative viewpoints and weigh them critically, irrespective of the conclusions reached, whether one finally arrive at a "conservative" or "liberal" judgment, academic integrity necessitates a fair consideration of opposing viewpoints.

I will likely comment on several other chapters at future dates, but time presently does not permit it. Whatever tradition one finds themselves in theological or ideologically speaking this volume is one that should be reviewed by all.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Enthronement of a New Emperor: Reflections on the so-called Inauguration

With the recent accession of the new President, the world watched as the new emperor ascended the throne. The praise rang out in the streets, peoples all over the empire watched as their new leader came to power. Indeed, millions around the world tuned in to watch. The festivities included many banquets, a tour symbolically re-actualizing parts of American history as Obama made his way to Washington by train. Then the grand festival took place, the former rulers gathered, the new ruler was crowned, and he proclaimed the good news of his rule, in the name of justice and mercy. Millions crowded the streets, crying, singing, with great joy at the monumental greatness of their new emperor. Songs were sung, poems were read, priests invoked the gods, and the new emperor was enthroned. Then the emperor was lead through the streets as the cheering denizens waved so they could catch a glimmer of his greatness and beauty. In the evening multitudes of banquets were held to honor the new emperor, gifts were bestowed upon him, and he was extolled.

One woman spoke of the Benefactor as follows:

In an age in which millions of Americans are financially crippled and struggling to pay their bills, we spent more than 80 million dollars for the inaugural festivities, the most expensive inauguration in American history. How is this financially responsible? How is this doing the "hard thing"? How is this change? I am very hopeful that our standing in the world will improve and some of our injustices may well recede with this new emperor, but I fail to see that this new ruler will actually change the shape of our empire in a significant way. And moreover, I am perpetually concerned that our present practices, seemingly so "secular" and "political" or "patriotic," do not have a greater significance religiously, and do not resemble with both aspects of similarity and dissimilarity the Roman Empire during the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

An imperial critical perspective of the inauguration would be sensitive, despite one's own personal stake and hope in the change of political rulers, to the praxis of the empire in these festivities. There is a fine line between where religious affections border on what appears to be simply nationalism. Can politics be bifurcated from religious affection? It was not in the ancient world, and I question whether such a distinction itself isn't an imperial construct to perpetuate the imperial religion alongside alternative religious expressions in order to appear unrelated and thereby logically consistent to hold simultaneously. Just a thought.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Israel and Gaza: Removing the Imperial West's Goggles

Frankly, I have never been more disgusted in my entire life than I am with the way in which the media portrays the crisis in Gaza. Although I have been mulling over this for several weeks, I read a fantastic blog on this today over on James Crossley's Earliest Christian History blog. My sentiments couldn't have been articulated more clearly; thanks to Professor Crossley for beating me to it. As he points out, when will we start the narrative being woven? This is the point. The media, with wall to wall coverage, begins the narrative with Hamas lobbing puny rockets at Israel. But that is not where the Gaza crisis begins! It began in 1948 when the Palestinians had their land high-jacked and were relegated to the slums of Gaza. However, this isn't the narrative that gets told. No, we Americans have legitimated our own world domination through God and thus we have also legitimated Israel's occupation of others land and terrorism against the Palestinians theologically, with the Bible. Yes, that is right. Here in America, because of our faithful friends the dispensational looney tunes who believe Israel raping the land from the Palestinians is God's ordained end-time scheme, have used Jesus to justify war against those on the margins. I'm ashamed. Ashamed of so many Christians who can't see that Jesus never justifies war. Ashamed of so many so-called Bible believers who have a naive theological system they are protecting, yet most are unable to perceive that they have been given biblical goggles that are not biblical (maybe mine aren't either, but certainly closer to the historical Jesus is the way of peace regardless of empire)! Ashamed of the American media, who has no problem showing the utmost bias, almost as if they don't have a bias (much like fundamentalist) when it comes to American politics, but fail to offer cogent, moderately balanced reporting when it comes to presenting both sides of a conflict. And day by day, hour by hour, the media continues to cast the same narrative that it is all the wicked Palestinian terrorists fault. Never are Israel's practices called into question, I mean seriously, they were just totally minding their own business when these nutty Palestinians started persecuting them, right? I think not.