>Jimmy and Joe had interesting insights about “political” readings of the Bible. Here was my response.
– Let me just throw out a wild idea. What if… just what if Jesus was primarily political. Or if you don’t like “primarily” then how about even “significantly” political?
Then a century or two later, the Imperial powers play down his message and influence by breaking them into categories like “spiritual” and “political” that Jesus as a Jewish person would not have had?
It would benefit the Imperial power a great deal to have Christians NOT be radical, counter-cultural or prophetic. It is much better if they are obedient, passive, understanding, and (best of all) focused on the world to come.
It was better for Rome. It was better for the Europe of Christendom. and it is better for America when it is acting with unilateral power or cutting parts of the budget that expose the most vulnerable of it’s citizens while increasing the military budget.
IF I am right (and that is a big if) then even passages like Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female” is a political stance. If you knew about Roman civilization and the VERY present ‘household codes’ (called pater familias) then statements like Paul’s in Gal 3:28 are radically political.
This is about doing in our culture what Jesus did in that culture… NOT simply us repeating Jesus in our culture as if it were the same as that culture!
– On the issue of demons being more than demons or not demons at all:
We are looking for a 3rd way. So instead of my saying ‘the story of Legion’ is NOT about what it appears to be – and you insisting that it is ONLY what it appears to be…
I am willing to say that , in the story, the demons are MORE than demons and you can say that they may not be ONLY demons.
– Holly: Thanks, Bo. I appreciate all three readings. I am coming to believe that as human beings are so incredibly diverse, although our political, social, individual problems are universal, that we need the freedom to read scripture in the way that is the most empowering, the most liberating, the most freeing. 🙂
Me: I, of course, agree with what your saying – for I see that AS the message OF Scripture from the Exodus to the Revelation and everywhere between. (everywhere might be overdoing it but … it is prevalent)
Now – it would be good to admit, as a point of contrast, those who are more concerned with CONSERVing the old ways of reading certain texts, would disagree. One of the reason I am OK with this is because the more we know about the 1st century, the more empowered we will be to read those texts in the 21st century. That is my positive way to say it! here is the negative.
The reality is that some of the most popular readings of the past 300 years in N. America have been in complete absence of knowledge about the 1st century. They are ahististorical readings and they are somewhere between damaging and devastating – depending on who is doing the reading and who it is aimed at.