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Readings and writings in theology, philosophy, politics. Following Jesus, activism, and adventure stuff.
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"No Christian can get by for very long in any kind of secular work or profession or activity without encountering the misconceptions which the world has about the Gospel, and without being exposed to the enmity which the world bears toward the Gospel. To be silent in the face of such perversion of the faith or of such aggression against the faith is to become an accomplice. The laity cannot be saved from the apologetic task associated with their participation in the practical affairs of the world by the pronouncements of ecclesiastical authorities nor by the ministry of the clergy. Each layman must be his own apologist, responsible for his stewardship of the Gospel in his daily life and work."
— William Stringfellow, A Private and Public Faith. (via locusimperium) _______________________________________________________________________



Jesus: Make sure nobody is poor
Everyone:
Jesus:
Everyone: So like industrial capitalism?
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di—es—-can-ic-ul-ar—es:

In mononoke the good old days really isn’t left or right.

Here in late capitalism, industrialism is indistinguishable from the natural order.

Tales of early capitalism can express machinic production as promethean because the bourgeois hadn’t by that point developed ‘the good old days’.

"The Christian religion was able to be of assistance in reaching an objective understanding of earlier mythologies only when its own self-criticism had been accomplished so to speak potentially. Likewise, bourgeois economics arrived at an understanding of feudal, ancient, oriental economics only after the self-criticism of bourgeois society had begun. In so far as the bourgeois economy did not mythologically identify itself altogether with the past, its critique of the previous economies, notably of feudalism, with which it was still engaged in direct struggle, resembled the critique which Christianity levelled against paganism, or also that of Protestantism against Catholicism."

- Karl Marx Grundrisse p106

tldr: stop applying princess mononoke to 21st century green movements.

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"What forgiveness comes down to is, essentially, the politics of memory. In the narrative contexts we inhabit, does forgiveness offer anything meaningful to making stories of pain and suffering coherent—or, if there is such a harmony, has “too high a price” been paid for it? In reflecting on contemporary Israeli politics, Amos Elon writes that, in relation to the uneasy relationship between traumatic memory and its mobilization for political purposes, some might give “the banal plea to ‘forgive and forget.’ But forgiveness has nothing to do with it.” Why? Steiner’s perspective is representative: “Only those who actually passed through hell […] have the right to forgive. We do not have that right. The best now, after so much has been set forth, is, perhaps, to be silent.” In other words, are there things that are unforgivable? Lives that have been definitively ruptured, condemned to an existence that defies the coherence of a story—how can these possibly make sense within the story of a God who makes all things new?

As is well known, such a challenge is offered by Ivan Karamazov in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. His protest is that “it is not worth one little tear of even that one tormented child who beat her chest with her little fist and prayed to ‘dear God’ in a stinking outhouse with her unredeemed tears! Not worth it, because her tears remained unredeemed. But how, how will you redeem them? Can they be redeemed by being avenged? But what do I care if they are avenged, what do I care if the tormentors are in hell, what can hell set right here, if these ones have already been tormented? And where is the harmony, even if the child herself were to forgive him!” In Matthew 12:32, Jesus does mention one unforgivable sin: to refuse the forgiveness that God always offers. It is unforgivable because there is no way to accept forgiveness if we refuse to acknowledge our own need for forgiveness. Any sin can be forgiven, if we are willing to enter into relationship with the one forgiving.

There must be communities of people who refuse to give in to counsels of despair. For those who suffer hell in this life, there must be those who embody the very opposite in this life. As Jesus repeats over and over again in the Gospels, this is found precisely when we begin to say that there must be something more: more than forgetting, more than silence, more than settling for the same patterns of relationships. Here, the Church offers something of an interruption to the stories we tell ourselves that forgiveness is too abstract or weak to make sense in a world such as this; the hope of the Gospel is seen as we become people whose forgiven-ness is found not only in thanksgiving for a transfigured past but also in active, embodied witness that points to the possibilities of a transformed future."
— L Gregory Jones, Embracing Forgiveness, pg 283, 291, 299 _______________________________________________________________________

"The very claim that forgiveness aims not simply at resolving individual guilt, but more determinately at healing the effects of original sin understood as ruptured communion, means that we cannot neatly divide issues of forgiveness and justice into the spheres of the personal/private and of the political/public. In modernity, such a bifurcation has become so widespread as to become the norm: individual persons (or churches) forgive, but states seek justice. Such dualisms perpetuate the myth that Christian forgiveness is an ethic of weakness and consolation, far removed from the realities and machinations of political power; “love of enemies” may temper the demands of the social order, but it cannot challenge the means by which power is exercised. By contrast, the difference between the Church and the world lies not in a division of labor between the “spiritual” and “political” worlds, but rather in contrasting visions of the ends toward which power should be exercised. Indeed, where people are so often habituated into—and in fact rewarded for—hating their enemies and desiring vengeance, what Christians offer is counter-habituation."
— L Gregory Jones, Embracing Forgiveness, pg 268, 277 _______________________________________________________________________

(Source: voidwish, via dagwolf)

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lukexvx:

Pickaxe - Part 1

"This excellent documentary takes us into another world; the world of rogue loggers and firefighters turned eco-warriors. This documentary is on par with Manufacturing Consent, Waco: The Rules of Engagement, and Breaking the Spell: The Anarchists, Eugene, and the WTO Here is the summary from the promotion: "An arsonist burns 9000 acres of protected old-growth public forest in Oregon that can not be logged unless it burns. To stop the proposed "salvage" logging of this incredible ancient forest, citizens are moved to blockade a road and keep the government out. After facing down a bulldozer and the State Police, the fort now known as the gateway to the Cascadia Free State becomes the focus for a developing community dedicated to protecting ancient forests throughout the mountains of Oregon."

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"In the worst oppressions and betrayals, anger is not only understandable, it is necessary. It reflects a deep sense of justice that is missing in pleas for, in Nietzsche’s terms, the ascetic ideal of “patience.” Yet, although it may be popular in the Christian mainstream to appeal to passages about divine vengeance—while these do not stand alone to other texts about mercy’s triumph, nor are they self-interpreting—hatred cannot be the final response. It is not that Christians are “permitted” to choose between revenge and forgiveness; if anything is clear, it is both that “vengeance” is God’s right, not ours, and that Christians are obligated to hope for restoration. We cannot allow anger to perpetuate itself as hatred. The paradigm case of this is none other than that of God’s struggle with Israel in Hosea 11. God indicates that what separates God from mortals is precisely the ability not to execute fierce anger, not to come in wrath but to forgive and make new. We should not recommend hatred as an adequate response precisely because of its obvious effects as a habit. We do not need excuses to hate, to desire vengeance, to return evil for evil; alas, they are already deeply ingrained into the world."
— L Gregory Jones, Embracing Forgiveness, pg 260 _______________________________________________________________________

"How we handle difficult relational situations concerning forgiveness is likely to have already been heavily determined by the habits we have developed leading up to that point. In this way, the convergence of language with feeling and action is only intelligible in the “I forgive you” where there are signs of change concretely occurring in the relationship. We learn to judge our progress in this craft that I am calling forgiveness not by observing isolated actions, feelings, or thoughts; we must see how they are rooted in broader patterns of life and narrative contexts. The varieties of forgiveness in particular lives and circumstances cannot be determined in advance under some prescribed abstract solution; they are the focus of ongoing discernment within the craft, led by the exemplars who excel in the craft and judged by the community within which the relationship is held accountable."
— L Gregory Jones, Embracing Forgiveness, pg 233, 235, par. _______________________________________________________________________

"As both a centrally significant practice of Christian life and one that has great potential for exacerbating conflict, forgiveness requires mutual willingness to confess truthful acknowledgement of our sin. Because relationships involve issues of power, we must recognize how much easier it is to rupture trust both through abuse of power and lack of commitment than it is to rebuild that trust necessary for sustaining forgiveness. If community is to be the site of our common transformation, forgiveness in a way is repenting of division and the material practices that lead to those divisions.

Much of the reliance with “counseling” in our culture is the direct result of failures to embody the kind of community where healing and reconciliation can take place. But confession and forgiveness are meaningless unless they occasion a turning—and returning—to those against whom we have sinned and who have sinned against us. If Christ has truly set us free from sin (which is rupture of communion) and if the eucharist is the practice wherein we come together, forgiven, over the forgiving victim’s body, then (following Matt 18:15-17) we should lament that broken relationships are given over to outside “counselors” without reconciliation being made first available inside the community as its central practice."
— L Gregory Jones, Embracing Forgiveness, pg 179, 183, par. _______________________________________________________________________

"The practice of forgiveness entails unlearning all those things that divide and corrupt communion and learning to see and live as forgiven and forgiving people. This happens in the community wherein specific habits can be developed in order for this un/learning to take place. The Christian life is not only a matter of acquiring some correct kind of knowledge or cultivating the appropriate emotions or deeds. More fundamentally, it is commitment to a full participation in practices whose disciplines of the body are necessary for the transformation of bodies. Forgiveness requires us to confront our tendencies to see the world either as “lighter” than it is (hence reinforcing cheap grace) or as “darker” than it is (hence making forgiveness impossible)."
— L Gregory Jones, Embracing Forgiveness, pg 164 _______________________________________________________________________

Forward this to every vegan you know

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locusimperium:

lukexvx:

Here you go locusimperium

So this is the question that Luke originally asked me:

Been wanting to ask this for a while. What do you think of Stringfellow’s tapestry passage in Imposters of God A Private and Public Faith and how that might apply to high church ecclesiology of heavily budgeted architecture/cathedrals/aesthetics? I know it’s basically a justice vs liturgy question of priority (should the emphasis be more missions or rather liturgical formation), but what do you think?

I think you’re establishing a dichotomy that isn’t present in this passage. As Beck notes, Stringfellow’s emphasis here is on freedom, which is a consistent theme throughout his work — that is, the Gospel is a message of freedom from death (/powers/principalities/idolatries) that is also remarkably non-prescriptive. Stringfellow is less concerned with what you do, and more concerned with the location from which you are acting — is it one of freedom in Christ to resist the demonic?
One doesn’t need to sell tapestries or forsake cathedrals. Tapestries and cathedrals can be forms of worshiping God. But the biblical person (a favorite phrase of Stringfellow’s) must not believe that to sell a tapestry or to vacate a cathedral would diminish the church.

Good distinction. So this would move the question into whether there’s a priority of forms of worship. (Which would be conditioned by questions of class—does establishing a hierarchy of worship importances marginalize certain social groups whose needs and abilities might be excluded).
I was moved to ask in reading some Beck blog post a while back where he talked about the pitfalls of justice-oriented liberal Christians ignoring anything related to institutionalized church. While I may be tempted to say something like (generalizing here) God cares way more about doing justice than having a beautiful sanctuary, I recognize the arrogance of a prescription like that so I’m working out the tensions.
/does this make the question still worth exploring?

locusimperium:

lukexvx:

Here you go locusimperium

So this is the question that Luke originally asked me:

Been wanting to ask this for a while. What do you think of Stringfellow’s tapestry passage in Imposters of God A Private and Public Faith and how that might apply to high church ecclesiology of heavily budgeted architecture/cathedrals/aesthetics? I know it’s basically a justice vs liturgy question of priority (should the emphasis be more missions or rather liturgical formation), but what do you think?

I think you’re establishing a dichotomy that isn’t present in this passage. As Beck notes, Stringfellow’s emphasis here is on freedom, which is a consistent theme throughout his work — that is, the Gospel is a message of freedom from death (/powers/principalities/idolatries) that is also remarkably non-prescriptive. Stringfellow is less concerned with what you do, and more concerned with the location from which you are acting — is it one of freedom in Christ to resist the demonic?

One doesn’t need to sell tapestries or forsake cathedrals. Tapestries and cathedrals can be forms of worshiping God. But the biblical person (a favorite phrase of Stringfellow’s) must not believe that to sell a tapestry or to vacate a cathedral would diminish the church.

Good distinction. So this would move the question into whether there’s a priority of forms of worship. (Which would be conditioned by questions of class—does establishing a hierarchy of worship importances marginalize certain social groups whose needs and abilities might be excluded).

I was moved to ask in reading some Beck blog post a while back where he talked about the pitfalls of justice-oriented liberal Christians ignoring anything related to institutionalized church. While I may be tempted to say something like (generalizing here) God cares way more about doing justice than having a beautiful sanctuary, I recognize the arrogance of a prescription like that so I’m working out the tensions.

/does this make the question still worth exploring?

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Hidden costs of patriarchy

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TAKE PICTURES OF ALL YOUR HEROES. Being vegan in OK was really isolating so I was so stoked to be around thousands of radical vegans this week. I got to meet amazing people organizing crucial campaigns for oppressed animals and learned so much. @mouthwings gave a plenary talk on her work undercover in the animal agriculture industry investigating systemic exploitation and abuse. She and TJ got a room of almost 1000 activists crying but fired up about justice and liberation

TAKE PICTURES OF ALL YOUR HEROES. Being vegan in OK was really isolating so I was so stoked to be around thousands of radical vegans this week. I got to meet amazing people organizing crucial campaigns for oppressed animals and learned so much. @mouthwings gave a plenary talk on her work undercover in the animal agriculture industry investigating systemic exploitation and abuse. She and TJ got a room of almost 1000 activists crying but fired up about justice and liberation

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