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Readings and writings in theology, philosophy, politics. Following Jesus, activism, and adventure stuff.

"If Christianity is to liberate desire, it must distance itself from those forms of therapy that amount to little more than a sedative for persons bound to the capitalist order. Persons must not become better “entrepreneurs of themselves” but, rather, must be given direction by virtue of its being the gift that is the desire of God. Such a gift is not knowledge of some real “core” of the self, for that is the very assumption by which capitalist modes of therapy operate. Desire’s true direction is not a matter of puncturing a calloused exterior layer of the “self” and getting in touch with a pre-given heart of some uncompromised interiority. As in the Cistercian tradition, and contrary to Foucault’s analysis, one does not arrive at an authentic direction that should replace the current misdirection of desire, but at a sense of one’s irreversible immersion in a flow—a sense of one’s being always already in movement—with no fixed points. Such knowledge teaches us not what we must do to be true to our nature but simply to be endlessly critical about the ends of desire."
— Daniel M Bell Jr, Liberation Theology After the End of History, pg 99 _______________________________________________________________________

"Christianity as therapy of desire may appear outdated if not entirely redundant after Rieff’s predictions of the explosion of spiritualism in Western culture. In this “triumph of the therapeutic,” clergy have become predominantly therapists and the Gospel has been adapted to the psychoanalytic mentality. More troubling is the unsettling observation that therapy seems to be flourishing at precisely the moment when capitalism has cast aside its human face. The therapeutic gaze is an integral component of current capitalist modes of governmentality and its triumph was made possible by the need for an indirect form of authority that operates on individuals in, with, and through their freedom. Therapy embodies that form of authority (called “expertise”) that is particularly well suited to the logic of neoliberal capitalism; that is, it is that form of authority necessary to govern persons in a society that abhors all authority. By means of an elaborate complex of managers, social workers, teachers, and counselors, therapy organizes the practices of everyday life according to the logic of the market: freedom, autonomy, and choice. Its end is the formation of the entrepreneur of oneself. In other words, far from being an antidote to capitalist distortions of desire, therapy is an essential component in the promotion and maintenance of the capitalist order."
— Daniel M Bell Jr, Liberation Theology After the End of History, pg 97-98 _______________________________________________________________________

"The account of Cistercian monasticism suggests that Foucualt’s analysis (of penance as a technique of the self) falters on this point. The practice of confession was not geared toward the rejection of any presocialized (real) self. The renunciation of sinful desire should not be equated with the denial of desire; verbalizing self-knowledge is not the exposure of a “natural” desire that is sacrificed under the imposition of another. Confession is not concerned with the social control of desire, but on the contrary, it is part of a process of recognizing that desire has already been captured and controlled, that its present orientation in the world is not an ontological given. According to Bernard, reflecting on the Vulgate rendition of Song of Songs 1:7, desire is exiled to a life dominated by gratification of the needs of the senses without having the self-knowledge by which repentance is made possible."
— Daniel M Bell Jr, Liberation Theology After the End of History, pg 96 _______________________________________________________________________

"Liturgy functions as the construction of memory. Through the rich language and imagery of the liturgy, the Cistercians were given a new vocabulary that enabled them to “redescribe, and therefore in effect reconstruct, their memories in relation to the demands of a new way of life.” Care must be taken, however, not to reduce liturgy’s assembly of memory to a matter of linguistic inscription. The liturgical reformation of desire is not simply a matter of symbolic overcoding or renarrating. The production, reading, and proclamation of sacred texts as well as the singing of sacred song and reciting of prayer are more than linguistic phenomena. The divine offices are situated within a matrix of both intellectual and bodily technologies that act on and shape material bodies in particular ways. At the same time, liturgy was only one strand of the fabric of monastic life out of which the divine pedagogy was woven. It was embedded within the wider network of relationships, daily rituals, and institutional configurations that constituted Cistercian Christianity; Asad describes this dialectic as “the remembering religious self and the secular self remembered.”"
— Daniel M Bell Jr, Liberation Theology After the End of History, pg 93-94 _______________________________________________________________________

"In capitalism, desire is accorded the status of lack. Those who describe desire fundamentally in negative terms, such as void and privation, conflate Creation and Fall. According to Bernard of Clairvaux, human being is not constituted by an absence but by a fullness, a presence, an excess. This fullness is God. Human desire is nothing less than a mirror of the positive, creative desire of God. However, human nature has been, since the Fall, distorted. It is pushed and pulled by the world, no longer allowed to flow freely as it was created to do. Here, understanding capitalism and Christianity as clashing technologies of desires—one of corruption and one of therapy—brings us to the importance of how exactly, following Bernard, desire can be redirected. The Cistercians, as opposed to the older monastic orders, were distinctive for recruiting heavily from the aristocracy, the knights and nobles. Their formation in the top of society of a particular desire (i.e. sensuality, pride, vanity, violence) was precisely the material for exercising virtue; Bernard’s monastic program was not aimed at suppressing and controlling desire, but healing and transforming it."
— Daniel M Bell Jr, Liberation Theology After the End of History, pg 93

haha bye Lacan/Zizek/Rollins _______________________________________________________________________

(Source: jessie-duke, via wearepioneerspress)


"To the right of us, there’s a lot of friends who would say we think too much. Our ideas are just a little too radical. But to the left of us, you have a lot of friends who have gotten into critiques of religion or biblical scholarship and have left the faith—the practice, if you will—and aren’t a part of community and ministry anymore. They think a lot “about” Christianity but that has actually caused them to lose faith in it. They move “beyond” participating in it. Both are missing the importance of being thoughtful in your engagement but also faithful in your practice. Losing either of those things—having permission to change your mind on things but at the same time staying in relationships and community—that’s tragic."
— Bo Sanders, 4/15/14 Theology Nerd Throwdown, 34:00-36:20 _______________________________________________________________________

"The liberationist program was supposed to inspire Christians to leave the stained-glassed realm of the sacred and enter the material world of social and political struggle. It succeeded, but in some ways, by unintentionally reinforcing that realm as an apolitical custodian of disembodied moral beliefs. To move forward, Christianity must be reclaimed as a fully embodied reality in itself, whose practices—such as baptism, catechesis, Eucharist, discipline, prayer, and discipleship—do not merely mediate “ideas” and “values” but rather transform the material circumstances of human existence."
— Daniel M Bell Jr, Liberation Theology After the End of History, pg 86 _______________________________________________________________________

"The issue in enchantment—that God is intensely present—is less about “the spectacular event” (the “miracle”) than the “hermeneutical boldness” (the re-interpretation of experience) in declaring that “This is from God!” In modernity we experience a “flatness” in life. Lacking depth or height life is just one damn thing after another. Under the naturalizing eye of modern science no atom is any more sacred than any other atom. They are all the same, interchangeable. Enchantment, as I’ve often described it here, is the process of experiencing existential texture, depth and elevation. Enchantment is the experience of the holy, sacred, and divine. The world is enchanted through rituals of hallowing. When we hallow we declare events, experiences, places, things and people to be holy and sacred, set apart and elevated from the regular flat flow of events where it’s just one damn thing after another. Rituals of hallowing sacralize life in the hermeneutical act of boldness to declare “This is holy ground!” It is a way of re-reading, re-interpreting, re-describing and re-narrating our lives. Enchantment takes something ordinary and reads it as extraordinary."
— Richard Beck, "Hermeneutics as Enchantment" _______________________________________________________________________

"Christian vegetarianism might be understood as a witness to the world that God’s creation is not meant to be at war with itself. Such a witness does not entail romantic conceptions of nature or of our fallen creation but rather is an eschatological act signifying that our lives are not captured by the old order."
— Stanley Hauerwas & John Berkman, “The Chief End of All Flesh” in Good News for Animals?: Christian Approaches to Animal Well-Being (via stephanieberbec) _______________________________________________________________________

Online seminar dates with T! Had to problematize omnivore ethics a bit but found some cool new lines with theological/political imagery of gardens, tables, deserts and communal/sacramental implications

Online seminar dates with T! Had to problematize omnivore ethics a bit but found some cool new lines with theological/political imagery of gardens, tables, deserts and communal/sacramental implications


"To die for God is not a proof of faith in God. To die for an unknown and repulsive convict who is a victim of injustice, that is proof of faith in God."
— Simone Weil, “The Things of the World” (via weil-weil)

(via weil-weil)


Worker co-ops and new labor strategy



I’m feeling very “uhhh people are so terrible I can’t stand anyone the world is so corrupt there are so many hurting people and no one cares where is Jesus in all of this”


"In the “evangelical” version of the Gospel, God has a problem. God’s problem is that God creates us, gets angry at us, and now, in order for God to not destroy us, God has to have a way to deal with God’s anger. So, in essence, God in that model has an anger management problem. God literally requires blood. So we find this theological model playing itself out in real social and political thinking that has tremendous detrimental effect on real human lives. We found this out particularly after the Holocaust where our ethics has to fall in line with our driving narrative. If that’s who God is, if God can justify murder and so on, we can too. They did a poll of some evangelicals asking if torture is justified and they all said absolutely! And so we learn these mechanisms of blame and attributing guilt and scapegoating. The death of Jesus is not like that. Jesus’ blood is not the blood of the retributive victim like Abel, whose cries out from the ground saying, “I demand vengeance, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, you must do justice to me.” No, the blood of Jesus is blood that says, “I forgive you. And as I forgive you as persecutors, you can forgive each other now and allow that to seep into all of your relationships.” That’s why Hebrews says that Jesus’ blood speaks a better word than Abel’s. There was a beautiful story on CNN yesterday where a Rwandan pastor’s family members were killed and now he’s become the pastor to these people who actually murdered his family. He’s teaching these people forgiveness by modeling it to them and these prisoners are absolutely transformed as a result. For me, that’s the Gospel."
— Michael Hardin, interview on Girard with Homebrewed Christianity, 37:30-46:20 _______________________________________________________________________

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