Empire Subversion in Colossians Essay

For Walsh and Checkmate, context is incredibly important. They established very Leary from where they are doing their theology, but also make a great effort in attempting to understand the place from which Paul is writing his letter to the Colombians, thus emphasizing the import of our context as well as the original. They propose a hermeneutic of scripture that calls attention to the participatory nature of the story.

Instead of memorizing scripture verbatim, only to be arbitrarily recited when it seems appropriate, Walsh and Checkmate invite us to enter into the story as a whole. They cite N. T. Wright, the Archbishop of Durham, in giving the allusion of us eyeing actors in a play or story that has not yet been completed, are being guided by a great Director to the story’s fulfillment. As the world’s history unfolds, as our culture and society develop, we are called to continue the unveiling of the story. However, we won’t know the story unless we are familiar with the story’s beginning.

This is why Walsh and Checkmate greatly stress our need to be deeply immersed in the text so that we can be absorbed in the story. They use the imagery of a plant that is deeply rooted in the soil, yet dynamically growing above the soil as a metaphor for our redeem and rottenness in interpreting the scriptures as part of our ongoing story. Colombians Remixed itself is an example of Archbishop Wight’s view of scripture, in which specific texts can be interpreted and directly applied using parallels of context.

In order to do this, however, you must familiarize yourself with the original context as well as having a good understanding of your own. Walsh and Checkmate do a very thorough Job of helping us understand the ancient context of the Colossal, supplying us with historical background on the daily life experience of those living in he Roman Empire and explaining the words and images Paul used in his letter that the original hearers would have picked up on immediately, but perhaps we do not since we are far removed from the original context.

They argue that Paul gives many allusions to Old Testament sources, drawing from his own experience as a Pharisee, and infusing it with images that would be readily understood by the people of Colossal, thus giving fresh meaning to the Collision worldview, and turning the empire’s propaganda on its Once Walsh and Checkmate give the readers an understanding of the ancient Monnet of Pall’s letter, they address the question(s) of the text’s meaning in our contemporary context.

They ask the reader to imaginatively consider the parallels of the empire Paul preached against, and the various forces in our world that act in similarly oppressive ways. The Roman empire kept their control over the world and gained their wealth by meaner of economic oppression, so too we live in an ’empire’ of global systemic capitalism in which the rich continue to gain wealth only to the detriment of the poor. The peace (Fax Romano) that the empire preached was only a yet that convinced the people of the world they were not really being militarily and economically oppressed.

We have similar myths today. “The myth that we are moving as a culture toward increasing wealth and technological control, and that this is invariably good, provides the Justification for all the economic and military policies of the North. ” (62) In very similar ways, the systems of power of today, like Rome in the past, seek to bombard us with idyllic images (e. G. Advertisements, corporate logos, patriotic slogans, etc. In order to “achieve the monopoly of our imaginations”, Just as he empire used images of the Caesar and Roman victory to capture the imaginations of the public of the Roman empire. (85) Today, however, Christians are (at least in the North) “more uncultured, more taken captive by the dominant culture, more comfortable in the empire, than that radical group of young converts in the first century. ” (93) The oppressive empires need us to buy into their propaganda in order that their control continues.

This is why Paul preached against such imagery, and teaches a story that is grounded in the Old Testament scriptures and in the life of Christ, in order that the church might gin to actually think differently and imagine a world that is different than the one rammed down their throats by the Roman empire. By refusing to give in to the empire’s imagery, we subvert the empire itself, thus ushering in a new Kingdom. Walsh and Checkmate note a certain tension between certain sections of the Colombians text.

In certain parts, Paul alludes to meaning that may or may not be clear, while in other sections he is quit blunt with his subversive overtones. Walsh and Checkmate reflect this in Colombians Remixed, though perhaps a bit more aggressively than Paul. They make effective use of targets, which were first used by rabbinic scholars to extensively paraphrase the Hebrew scriptures in order that their meaning might be easier understood by the congregations for whom they cared. They also use another technique in which there is an anonymous questioner that makes dialogue with Walsh and Checkmate.

This was a bit strange, and was not very effective since it did not take into account specific questions the reader may have n d But this technique was somewhat detective in that the ‘questioner’ asked some wings that were from a very different perspective than I had, and thus make their dialogue very interesting at times. By using this technique, Walsh and Checkmate were able to tackle some very difficult questions. One of the biggest problems they saw in making parallels between the ancient and modern contexts is the question of worldviews.

Worldviews in and of themselves are all encompassing and comprehensive in their scope. Therefore, even the Christian worldview had many similarities with the empire’s worldview. Acknowledging this, Walsh and Checkmate sought to contrast the two ancient rollovers in order that we might see the reason Paul was so emphatic about realizing a changed worldview of those in Colossal. Namely, the Christian worldview embraced suffering and was concerned for the poor and oppressed.

As I was reading, I started questioning some other writings of Paul in which he seems supportive of submission to governing bodies, since their power is from God (I. E. Romans 13). In the last section of their book, Walsh and Checkmate discuss the context in which these texts were written. They remind us that the letter to Romans was a letter to Christians who were being oppressed by the government. It was for fear of the Romans that Paul encouraged the church in Rome to “pay to all what is due them – taxes to whom taxes are due, respect [fear] to whom respect [fear] is due, honor to whom honor is due. (Romans 13:7) (l inserted the word fear’ into the text because the Greek used here is ‘boobs’, the same word used in 13:3-4 as Paul is writing about fearing the government because they fear the sword. ) Paul is not calling the church to blindly obey the governing authorities, but to “prudent action. ” (186) Paul never speaks of the government being a God-fearing institution or s anything to be admired or followed. Instead he is telling his people to be careful in light of impending bloodshed. In the end, Paul is preaching the gospel of Christ and the coming Kingdom, which he expected to come immanently.

He recognized that the systems in which the gospel was being preached we not compatible without either the system being changed or the gospel being compromised. Therefore, Paul urged the church to recognize the images that empire propagated in order to reject them for the image of God. Paul was not encouraging Christian to aggressive rebellion, but he was calling them to be subversive. This subversion was not to deliberately topple the empire, but to bring in the Kingdom of God because they were first to be citizens of this Kingdom before they were citizens of the empire.

In light of the current postmodern suspicions toward absolutes and violent intransitives, Walsh and Checkmate show how and why the biblical interactive, particularly as portrayed in Colombians, does not legitimate utilization or violence, but rather offers a alternate path of peace and reconciliation centered in the Cross. Walsh and Checkmate are calling us to recognize systems in our modern world that re similar those in which the people of Colossal found themselves.

They call us to reject economics that oppress the poor to the world They call us to teed those who are hungry and house those without a home. They call us work against oppressive violence in world that results in the bloodshed of innocents. Indeed they remind us to embrace suffering (take up your cross’) for the sake of others. Only then will we realize (in the full sense of the word) the Kingdom of God.