More Colossians Remixed

A few interesting quotes from Colossians Remixed:

“Paul’s letter to the Colossians is fundamentally about shaping the imagination of the Christian community. Walter Brueggemann says that “the key pathology of our time, which seduces us all, is the reduction of the imagination so that we are too numbed, satiated and co-opted to do serious imaginative work.” If this is true, then the primal responsibility of Christian proclamation is to empower the community to reimagine the world as if Christ, and not the powers, were sovereign. If the image of the emperor that is on every coin serves to ensnare the imagination of a domesticated people, then radical Christian proclamation and cultural practice will seek to demythologize the empire and devalue its currency. Such proclamation, such poetry, will always be a subversion of the dominant version of reality.” p.84

“Our suggestion is simple. Follow Paul, who was following the prophets. Write and perform evocative and subversive poetry that provides an imagination alternative to the empire’s. The point is to so immerse ourselves in the Scriptures, so indwell their narrative, be so permeated by their images that our imagination is transformed according to the image of Christ.” p.85

“Let’s pay careful attention to what Foucault is saying. Truth is not found, nor does it ‘come’ to us from any place beyond our worldly realities. Truth is made, it is produced, and such production (like all production) requires the imposition of power, of constraint. Once such a constructed vision of things is taken to be true, it becomes a regime, a structure of political control.” p.102

After that they go on to make the simple claim that although the truth as Paul proclaims it is totalizing, it does not secure its supremacy through violence, but through suffering and self-sacrifice. “We are not contesting the fact that the biblical metanarrative – and Paul’s epistles – have been used in totalizing and oppressive ways. The weight of Christian history is too great to attempt such a cover up. What we are asking is whether we might discern counter-ideological tendencies in the biblical tradition that undermine such oppressive readings and praxis. Is there anything in the Bible itself that, if taken seriously, would prevent or inhibit us from using the Bible as an absolute with which to punch people in the face? Our answer is yes!”

The two pieces of evidence they use are 1) a radical sensitivity to suffering which pervades the biblical narrative. 2) the rooting of the story of God in God’s overarching creational intent, which delegitimates any narrow, partisan use of the story.


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