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Beat

May 29, 2008

The following is a poem I’m working on in the spirit of the Beatitudes. It was birthed out of this week’s focus in the Missio Dei Breviary. Let me know what you think. I’m actually going to perform it “Beat” style at our Sunday Missio Dei gathering (by the way, the name “beat” actually comes from the Beatitudes):

Beat

Good pauper, happy pauper
Others pay top dollar to look the way you look
When you roll out of bed
Simple, shabby, and unadorned.
Thrift-store necessity not thrift-store chic
Working with your hands to build today
No hope to purchase the future
Caught on the wrong side of the white picket fence

Good pauper, happy pauper
The Landlord of Heaven has been temporarily evicted
Making his home in your part of town
Walking your cracked sidewalks
And eating at your White Castle
He’s come to clean up the neighborhood
And has a place for you in his mansion
Which is yours for the taking

Good mourner, happy mourner
Seeing the world as-is
Your belly aches for all the misery
Your throat catches for all the beauty
The King Mourner comes
Calling the tax-man to account
Wooing the whore to be his lover
Receiving the treasure of the poor

Good mourner, happy mourner
Your feet are sore from wandering
Your eyes swell shut to close out the lies
Your fists clench against injustice
The Chief Cynic twists the plot
Naming your enemies as his beloved
His feet glistening with smutty tears
The stranger becomes host

Good gentle-soul, happy gentle-soul
You don’t want to stick it to the man
You don’t want to step on the woman
You want them to be happy
Seeing no difference between plumber and prince
You humbly bumble through this vicious world
Confused by oppression and pride
Your tender heart is bruised by inequity

Good gentle-soul, happy gentle-soul
Your mouth curls up to giggle
Your ears embrace the word made flesh
Your fingers tap a song of ascent
Dancing in the retinue of the King of Fools
He knocks over the cash registers of the Christian bookseller
He puts the town slut on the deacon board
He gives the poor his crown

Good famished, happy famished
Your stomach growls for justice
Your throat scratches for righteousness
But the amber waves of grain are a desert
And the Mississippi has dried up
As your children die for oil and sand
As the breadbasket becomes a dust-bowl
And the Church makes dirt-pies

Good famished, happy famished
The Spirit is God’s sous-chef
Marinating the days
Sautéing the bitter herbs
To create a culinary masterpiece
Soon you will eat yourself sleepy
And take a nap at Abraham’s bosom
As darkness scratches at the window

Good merciful, happy merciful
You’ve broken the gavel
Tossed aside the stone
Dropped your lawsuit
And torn up your shit-list
Your own shame is still wet
How can you paint guilt on another?
So you stencil the courthouse with doves instead

Good merciful, happy merciful
Your anger has dropped to a whisper
And your wrath has ebbed
Like the tides of God’s justice
That carved you into a smooth stone
That skips across the deep
And sinks to the bottom
Where you rest in the cool calm

Good pureheart, happy pureheart,
You don’t leave an aftertaste
Like tap water from the white house
Which tastes like steel and rot
And only good for flushing
God uses you to water his orchard
And to make lemonade
Which he serves at fancy dinner parties

Good pureheart, happy pureheart
You see God for who he is
You can see him without your face-melting
Like the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark
You aren’t enslaved to power or greed or sex
You don’t hoard stuff of whore self
Or treat God like a vendor or pimp
So you’re invited to the next dinner party!

Good peacemaker, happy peacemaker
You weld machine-guns into bicycles
And sabers into garden hoes
You grow vegetables in rich soil
And load them into your bike trailer
Where you make vegetarian chili
Share it with your neighbor
And season it with love

Good peacemaker, happy peacemaker
You don’t hide away from violence
But lay down in front of it
Calling soldiers to become farmers
And turning tanks into turnip trucks
You dance with your enemy, cheek to cheek
The divine tango of the transformed
A sacred salsa of salvation

Good persecuted, happy persecuted
You’ve upset the wrong people
For all the right reasons
Some write bad theology against you
While others plot murder
But the roads of the Kingdom of God
Are paved with the bones of the prophets
And are edged with the skulls of the saints

Good persecuted, happy persecuted
You will be roasted, crushed, and French pressed
An earthy-sweet beverage in the mouth of God
But bitter in the mouths of your enemies
They offer you a death sentence
As you offer them your prayers
They are building an Empire
But you dwell in the Kingdom of God

Mark Van Steenwyk is the editor of JesusManifesto.com. He is a Mennonite pastor (Missio Dei in Minneapolis), writer, speaker, and grassroots educator. He lives in South Minneapolis with his wife (Amy), son (Jonas) and some of their friends.


Momentum

May 28, 2008

For some time now, I’ve had the itch. The itch to do something more, something real. Something to make my faith more than mere intellectual assent or warm feelings in my chest. And the itch has been getting worse. Its like I’ve been rolling around naked in poison ivy. Sites like Jesus Manifesto, the faith of a Shane Claiborne or the challenge of a Thom Stark only make it worse. And the things I see around me everyday - people wasting their lives in pursuit of mindless consumption, or worse, at the end of a life spent alienated from loved ones due to apathy or pride, being unable to overcome the barriers - add a note of desperation to the itch. It makes the itch more than frustrating and uncomfortable; it makes it downright painful.

And yet the effort it takes to scratch seems almost insurmountable. The sheer inertia inherent in my daily status quo feels like a mountain. Predictably, this results in very little forward momentum and my faith remains nothing more than assent and warm fuzzies. I see the posts. I read the stories and books. I listen to the talks. I am challenged and uplifted, but only to quickly settle back into the quicksand that has me so thoroughly trapped. And what I’ve noticed is rather than making the itch worse, this is starting to make me numb to it. Instead of the ecstasy of a scratch at just the right spot, I’m losing sensation all together. Apathy and surrender are laying claim to the throne.

Why do I fail? More importantly, why do others succeed? How do they gain sufficient momentum to surmount the seemingly insurmountable? From what I’ve gleaned from their stories, I think it comes down to four things. First, they have a desire to see things change because they are not content with the world as it exists. Second, they have both the courage and the faith to move forward, even when risking significant loss. Their faith makes them bold. They are able to trust that God will provide for their loss as they have need. Finally, and in my mind this is the linchpin that truly holds it all together, they have a community that shares their desire and bolsters their faith & courage. They have people around them cheering them on, dressing their wounds, inspiring & encouraging them, thinking with them and lighting each others paths.

I now see that it is only in community that desire, faith and courage can work together synergistically to create momentum. And when one person finally overcomes their inertia, they start bouncing into other people which may be the little shove they need to overcome their own. I realize now more than ever, that I need to find a community that will give me that shove. Frankly, I need a cheer squad to get me taking those first few hesitant steps. Without such people around me, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to scratch the itch.

How do we find and build communities where we can start transferring momentum? Are we looking for ways to cheer each other on?

Author Bio:: Nathan recently had a son, finished nursing school and moved to Indianapolis. He’s trying to figure out how to live in allegiance to the slaughtered Lamb.

Missio Dei Internship Opportunity

May 27, 2008

Missio Dei is looking for two internsfor this fall. One of those internships could be filled by a married couple. This is a great opportunity for those who want a hands-on learning experience with a new monastic / radical intentional community. You can find out more here.

Everybody Must Get Stoned

May 26, 2008

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A Review of Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s FREE TO BE BOUND

May 26, 2008

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove has two books that are being released this spring. The first of these books to hit the market is Free to Be Bound: Church Beyond the Color Line. One wouldn’t know it by catching a glimpse of the title, but this is no “how to” guide to racial reconciliation. Rather, it is the story of Jonathan’s own wrestling with issues of race and faith, from his roots in rural North Carolina through his time at Eastern University in Philadelphia to the place today where he lives in Walltown – a mostly black section of Durham, NC – and worships and serves with a historically black church there. To quote John Perkins’s foreword, this book is indeed a “testimony,” in the finest sense of the word.

Jonathan guides us through the journey he has taken, which begins with the confession that he, as a child, was oblivious to the racism of his North Carolina hometown. It is only as an adult that he discovers that the presence of the Ku Klux Klan in his home county was estimated by some to be as bad as that of Mississippi or Alabama. Through his youthful political aspirations, Jonathan meets the eloquent Rev. Barber, a black preacher from another rural town in North Carolina. Their friendship sparks a relationship between their two churches, and starts the long process of opening Jonathan’s eyes to the depths of the racial divide. Jonathan continued to ponder and explore racial reconciliation, but ultimately it was the experience of a profound gift of hospitality extended to he, his wife and a few others while on a peacemaking mission to Iraq in which the Wilson-Hartgroves discerned a call to learn from “those who were supposed to be our enemies” (73-74). Jonathan and Leah followed this call to the predominantly black Walltown neighborhood of Durham, settling first just outside the neighborhood and later moving into the heart of the neighborhood.

The narrative that unfolds over the pages of Free to be Bound, suggests a direction toward the goal of racial reconciliation that is strikingly familiar. The Apostle Paul in writing to the Philippian church, encourages his readers to follow in the way of Jesus:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (2:5-8 NASB)

In a similar way, one can read the Wilson-Hartgroves’ story as one of emptying themselves of the comforts of white privilege and immersing themselves in the black church. Although Jonathan is quick to admit that they have a long way to go on this journey toward seeing the reconciliation of all people, the course that they have taken is particularly poignant because of its resemblance to the way of Jesus and because of its honesty in confronting the depths of our own racial sin (as well of that of those who have gone before us). It seems that other possible trajectories – e.g., inviting blacks into a white church or trying to engineer a multi-racial church – are prone to what Jonathan calls the “tragedy of our public life in America” : i.e., “that we have tried to move beyond a history of racial injustice without accounting for how race made us who we are” (180).

Although Jonathan’s narrative provides a solid backbone for the book, Free to be Bound should not be dismissed as merely memoir. Jonathan fleshes out his own story by reflecting on writings from black history, black theology and black literature. His honesty about the difficulties of crossing the racial divide is refreshing, and his examinations of his own experiences in light of the Scriptures raise perhaps more questions that they answer. For instance, near the end of the book, Jonathan ponders the implications of churches’ adoption of the American, melting-pot variety of multiculturalism, in which diversity can be maintained by uniting under the prevailing narratives of patriotism and capitalism. When churches embrace this sort of multiculturalism, Jonathan wonders, are they selling out to “the powers that would unite us in middle-class rationality against the global poor” (182)?

Overall, Free to be Bound is a very readable and very challenging story of racial reconciliation in the church. From his experiences, as recorded here, Jonathan knows the pains and struggles of pursuing God’s call to be ambassadors of racial reconciliation, and yet he hopes unwaveringly in God’s promise of reconciliation. He concludes the book:

We do not have a blue print for what a new world of peaceful and just relationships with one another will look like. We do not know for sure how we will survive in a world yet conditioned by the logic of race. But we know that the only place where we will have the power to figure these things out is in the resurrected body of Jesus. And He is going ahead of us into Galilee. So, we follow the lead of the women – Mary, Mary and Salome – and chase after God’s new world, assured that our identity as disciples offers us a better hope than the cultural identities that we are leaving behind (192).

May we truly hear the words of Jonathan’s story, and may God transform our hearts!

Free to Be Bound: Church Beyond the Color Line
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. Paperback. NavPress. 2008.

Author Bio:: Chris Smith is a part of the Englewood Christian Church community in Indianapolis and an editor for Doulos Christou Press. He is the author of WATER, FAITH AND WOOD: STORIES OF THE EARLY CHURCH’S WITNESS FOR TODAY has compiled the INTRODUCTORY BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE NEW MONASTICISM.

Radical Dissent: Poetry By Wendell Berry and the Mad Farmer

May 23, 2008

Wendell Berry is one of my favorite authors and, perhaps, one of my favorite humans (at the very least, an exemplary man). I wrote him a letter last year to express my gratitude for his books and to ask his advice about my upcoming graduation/anxiety over an impending “Career.” He responded back pretty quickly. When his letter arrived, my wife knew about it before I did but kept it a secret all day. She was waiting until I could see for myself his personal envelope. Let me just say, her patience wasn’t for nothing. One of the biggest smiles I’ve had in a long time snuck right up—like an upturned watermelon poking out of my mouth. To tell you the truth, I almost yelped!

Mr. Berry seems to embody an aged aesthetic—like an expensive bottle of wine. In our culture of immediate consumption, trash heaps, and throw-away containers he narrates a relevant (not pre-packaged) vision of community wholeness: a delicate balance between the tannins, fruits, and acidities of deeply imagined membership and radical dissent. Yet many modern readers and critics feel satisfied labeling Mr. Berry as merely a “regional” author, unwittingly relegating his poetry, prose, and fiction into the dark cellars of marginal notoriety. And it seems Mr. Berry is perfectly fine with that arrangement—much like his satisfaction in traditional farming. In fact, though this tends to infuriate the naysayer, he actually prefers working within certain small-scale and low-tech limits—i.e., using independent publishing houses and refusing a computer. As a result, his work, rest, and play—as both an author and farmer—tends to produce a taste that is borne along the so-called periphery.

Despite flying under the mainstream radar, many prominent reviewers across dividing lines count him as one of America’s most vital prophetic voices alive today. He has inspired many of us to work with our hands so to speak and to do so creatively in light of the Industrialists’ and Militarists’ technocracy we currently find ourselves in. He represents a subversive and creative outpost for economic and ecological health (i.e., true sustainability), and yet somewhat surprisingly he has not been given a prominent voice in the American social and political conversation. However, through his writing and way of life, he has been able to at once reassure many of us about what is true and to invite our cooperation in his ongoing “resistance.”

Copied below are two poems written by his infamous agrarian anarchist, the Mad Farmer. This character, like Mr. Berry, embodies a biting (yet magnetic) religious, economic, and political conviction—and demonstrates a truly paradoxical and inspiring path. As you read these poems keep in mind the language he uses and the relative ease by which his message and critique can be applied to the political/economic life of modern evangelical communities. And let me know what you think.

The Contrariness of the Mad Farmer

I am done with apologies. If contrariness is my
inheritance and destiny, so be it. If it is my mission
to go in at exits and come out at entrances, so be it.
I have planted by the stars in defiance of the experts,
and tilled somewhat by incantation and by singing,
and reaped, as I knew, by luck and Heaven’s favor,
in spite of the best advice. If I have been caught
so often laughing at funerals, that was because
I knew the dead were already slipping away,
preparing a comeback, and can I help it?
And if at weddings I have gritted and gnashed
my teeth, it was because I knew where the bridegroom
had sunk his manhood, and knew it would not
be resurrected by a piece of cake. “Dance,” they told me,
and I stood still, and while they stood
quiet in line at the gate of the Kingdom, I danced.
“Pray,” they said, and I laughed, covering myself
in the earth’s brightnesses, and then stole off gray
into the midst of a revel, and prayed like an orphan.
When they said, “I know that my Redeemer liveth,”
I told them “He’s dead.” And when they told me
“God is dead,” I answered “He goes fishing every day
in the Kentucky River. I see Him often.”
When they asked me would I like to contribute
I said no, and when they had collected
more than they needed, I gave them as much as I had.
When they asked me to join them I wouldn’t
and then went off by myself and did more
than they would have asked. “Well, then,” they said
“go and organize the International Brotherhood
of Contraries,” and I said, “Did you finish killing
everybody who was against peace?” So be it.
Going against men, I have heard at times a deep harmony
thrumming in the mixture, and when they ask me what
I say I don’t know. It is not the only or the easiest
way to come to the truth. It is one way.

Wendell Berry
from Farming: A Hand Book

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry
from The Country of Marriage

Author Bio:: The most important details anyone might need to know about me are the following: (1) I am married to a beautiful Peruvian woman (who, incidentally, knows how to make the best ‘comida peruana’ in the whole-wide-world!) and (2) my current life consists of graduate school, social work, writing, and procrastination–the real way to get stuff done! You can read my further ramblings at www.waysofresistance.com.

Faith Half-Mast

May 22, 2008

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Identity in poverty - blessed are the poor in spirit

May 20, 2008

We must desperately seek to be poor in spirit. When we have much, and we are focused on our own needs and our own lives, we think everything we have is earned of our own works, or owed to us because of who we are. When we have nothing and seek nothing, all we are given is more than enough and we can share this freely with one another. And truly, dear brothers and sisters, we are poor.

We have nothing to offer our Creator, and we can give Him nothing. But in our spiritual poverty, he has filled us in His pleasure to be overflowing. We cannot take his grace and horde it for ourselves; we must share his grace with others. We cannot keep His forgiveness in jars in the basement; we must take it to others who are spiritually starved. We cannot live in our comfortable homes in our comfortable lives without all of our blessings given freely away. We cannot go on in this life accepting everything and giving nothing. Dare I say it is spiritual constipation?

Because we have received such great a love we cannot contain it, we must share this love with others. We can say “those in need,” but who is not in need of grace? Who does not need the love God shared with us? How dare we keep it to ourselves! When I read the scriptures I find our Savior lived a scandalous life. He had lunch with capitalists and tax men. He shared dinner with whores and homos. He stopped off for coffee with rebels and vagrants. Our Lord, the Creator of all, shared a sandwich with the sick and dying, and a drink with the political powers, outcasts of society, and ethnic enemies. This is a daring life to be sure (it did kill him after all). It seemed as if everywhere he went, Jesus was eating with someone. Always at some one’s place breaking bread.

Our church fellowships certainly carry on this tradition with potlucks and banquets. But there is so much more to this than we know. In that culture of 1st Century Palestine, a meal was an invitation to a deeper relationship, and equity. When two men broke bread together, they were equals, and they were sharing their lives with one another. The symbolism is deep. Then Jesus went and messed things up. He said that when we have a party to invite the poor and oppressed.

Go out to the streets and find the hungry and bring them in for your luncheon. This is an invitation for us to relate with the poor and oppressed. This is bringing the poor onto our level, but more importantly bringing our haughty selves down to their level. We must be careful with this last point, and I will emphasize it once more: We are not simply bringing the poor into the fold of the rich. We are not counting the oppressed in the ranks of the oppressors. We condescend from our place of wealth, from our identity as oppressor and become poor, become oppressed. Christ Jesus lowered himself from the high place of authority in Heaven down to the level of sinful man.

Our example for life did not grasp at his rightful place of power; he humbled himself and master became servant (Philippians 2:5-8). We should not bring the poor/oppressed to the level of the rich/oppressor. We need a new world where neither designation exists. Slave/free, poor/rich, Jew/gentile: Christian. The Church talks about helping the “poor.” That very term is levying a wall of separation between two worlds. “Us” the church; “them” the poor. When the church can identify with the poor, and become poor themselves, we have equity and mountains are brought low and valleys are raised high (Isaiah 40:4). And all nations stream to the great mountain of Zion and learn the laws of the King of kings (Isaiah 2:2, 3). A

nd the challenge is not in the understanding, but in the practice. How do I, as a white, male, Christian, middle-class American identify with the black/brown/red, female, Muslim/Buddhist/tribesman, poor foreigner? I identify by my very being as “oppressor” in everything I am. And I hear Scripture screaming at me that Jesus condescended to the lowest level: the Samaritan, adulterous woman and identified with her where she was. This is a great challenge I may struggle with my whole life.

Author Bio:: Steven Kippel hosts the humble Branch Community in La Quinta, CA and facilitates materialism as a day job.

“Now a New King…”

May 20, 2008

The story of Joseph is usually told as a hero tale, and in general it wants to be read that way. We might interrogate it for more meaning — there might be some significance to the roles of the other brothers in light of the later tribal relations that probably color the telling of the story — but the ‘hero tale’ designation seems to hold. Joseph is marked as a kind of seer, lauded for his moral certitude in the face of temptation and his placid acceptance of his fate. The story, like many such stories, has an ironic twist at the end where everything predicted comes to pass in an unexpected way and everyone lives happily ever after.

Except they don’t. The opening lines of Exodus add another twist, a dark and almost deconstructive turn that throws a wrench in our expectations and shatters the fairy-tale ending. Without getting into speculations about who redacted what and when, Exodus 1:8 unsettles the usual reading of Joseph’s story: “Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” This sets the stage for YHWH to deliver and claim the Hebrew people in a formative act of liberation; in some ways, the import of Joseph’s story is that it gets them to Egypt. But it is more than a narrative device or literary convention. Read in light of verse 8’s unsettling revelation, we can see that Joseph, though he meant well, leveraged the short-term survival of his family against the future of his people.

It is impossible to say what Joseph should have done — the story has to end the way it does, for any number of reasons — but his acceptance of privilege under Pharaoh, this sidling up to power that he uses to his family’s advantage (and understandably so), results in betrayal, in tragic loss, becoming the dark ground against which the figure of redemption and liberation will be defined. All it takes for Joseph’s collusion with the superpower of his day to turn ugly is a regime change, which is not so much a random stroke of bad luck as an inevitable part of life in empire.

In a way, we should see this coming. Joseph’s life is full of circumstances wherein some sort of privileged status turns around to bite him. He rises to prominence in Potiphar’s household in a sub-plot that often serves to underscore a Protestant work ethic: be diligent, and you might just be put in charge of the whole operation. On the dark side, you might also get seduced by the boss’s wife and thrown in jail. Or the privileged status — the technicolor dreamcoat and all that — that raises the ire of his brothers and lands him in slavery to begin with. Sit with this thread long enough and you begin to wonder if maybe if Joseph isn’t really a tragic figure, who never quite learns. The happily-ever-after ending is not just subverted by the opening lines of Exodus, it’s unmasked as false to begin with.

This thread is present in other parts of Genesis as well. Abraham is called out of Ur of the Chaldees, which have been Sumeria and thus the height of civilization at the time. Regardless, Abraham is called out of a settled existence to become a nomad, wandering in the direction of God. Along the way, none of his compromises with the powers-that-be seem to turn out well; he does much better when he simply trusts God for provision and resists brokering deals for protection or support. The Babel narrative is one in which an attempt at civilizational grandeur is thwarted in favor of a diasporic existence, quite possibly an allegory of exile, as is the creation narrative itself. We don’t have time to go into it here, but whether you read covenant and exile as a recapitulation of creation and fall, or creation and fall as a redactionary foreshadowing of what YHWH’s children would learn in exile, the structural similarity is striking.

The life and ministry of Jesus, the message of Jesus and the message that is Jesus, confirms what Yoder calls the “Jeremiac turn”: that the life of diaspora in exile is not an unfortunate cul-de-sac but a new way of being God’s people. A way that eschews power and privilege, seeking solidarity with those for whom such formulations are out of reach. A way that identifies with the “least of these”, knowing that there is always a base of the lowly and the meek on whose backs the burden of injustice rests. A way that seeks to tabernacle in the negative space of empire.

The story of Joseph, read through the lens of this new way, becomes a cautionary tale: when we sidle up to power, when we seek to claim for ourselves the benefits of privilege, or fail to interrogate it even when it seems to be providential, we lose something precious. Sooner or later, the situation will turn and we will stand, as we always do, in need of redemption.

Author Bio:: Ted Troxell is a PhD student at Michigan State University researching Christian radicalism.

Once Upon a Time…

May 20, 2008

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