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Politics

"Belief in miracles is concentrated here on the specific situations of distress, on possession, disease, hunger, lack of success, and danger, in other words on situations which do not strike as hard in all social groups . . . the popular character of these stories is that in them people whose social and economic position left them no other outlet to articulate their hopes . . . It seems to me that a degree of class correlation in the primitive Christian miracle stories can hardly be denied."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"Their [the acts of Jesus] 'divine power' lay not in a manipulation of nature but in confrontation with the dominant order of oppression and in witness to different possibilities."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"For Jesus, compassion had a radical sociopolitical meaning. In his teaching and table fellowship, and in the shape of his movement, the purity system was subverted and an alternative social vision affirmed. The politics of purity was replaced by a politics of compassion."    - Marcus J. Borg ; Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time


"The point here [story of the calling of the first disciples] is the following Jesus requires not just assent of the heart, but a fundamental reordering of socio-economic relationships . . . This is not a call 'out' of the world but into an alternative social practice."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"The new creation begins with a renunciation of the old order."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"Since in the Old Testament [sic] the idea of catching fish with hooks is used metaphorically to represent the divine judgment upon the rich and the powerful, the call to be 'fishers of people' is not a call to save people from their sins but rather an invitation to join Jesus 'in his struggle to overturn the existing order of power and privilege."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"While magisteriums continue to insist that the Jesus story has nothing to do with politics, peasants in Brazil, Paraguay, and El Salvador are thrown into jail on charges of being subversive actively—for the crime of meeting to study the gospel.    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"For theologians to speak of this God, they too must become interested in politics and economics, recognizing that there is no truth about Yahweh unless it is the truth of freedom as that event is revealed in the oppressed people's struggle for justice in this world."    - James H. Cone ; God of the Oppressed


"Faith, hard won, has taught me how to value the gains, losses, stand-offs and victories in my life. Many times the painful moments would not have been healed were it not for the road I traveled to faith—learning to trust the righteousness of God in spite of trouble and injustice; learning to trust women of many colors regardless of sexism, racism, classism and homophobia in our society; learning to believe in the sanctuary power of family defined in many ways in addition to nuclear; discovering love in a variety of forms that heal, but also believing serious political action is absolutely necessary for justice to prevail in the world of my four black children and other mothers’ children."    - Delores S. Williams  ; Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk


"Jesus has revealed that his messiahship means political confrontation with, not rehabilitation of, the imperial state. Those who wish to 'come after him' will have to identify themselves with his subversive program. The stated risk is that the disciple will face the test of loyalty under interrogation by state authorities."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"To put it boldly, compassion for Jesus was political. He directly and repeatedly challenged the dominant sociopolitical paradigm of his social world and advocated instead what might be called a politics of compassion."    - Marcus J. Borg ; Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time


"But the stories of Jesus’s birth are more than sentimental. The stories of the first Christmas are both personal and political. They speak of personal and political transformation. Set in their first-century context, they are comprehensive and passionate visions of another way of seeing life and of living our lives."      - Borg, Marcus J.; Crossan, John Dominic ; The First Christmas


"The titles of the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus were: Divine, Son of God, God, God from God, Lord, Redeemer, Liberator, and Savior of the World. To use any of them of the newborn Jesus would be either low lampoon or high treason. And, since empires always know their opponents, Rome was not laughing. But for now, what did those titles mean as applied to Caesar Augustus? Without knowing that we will never understand what they meant when transferred by some Jews to Jesus."
 
   - Marcus Borg & John Dominic Crossan ; The First Christmas


"Standing at the structural heart of Mark's story, [the cross] has redefined the meaning of the discipleship journey in decidedly concrete terms. Yet how many generations of interpreters have insisted on spiritualizing the cross, transforming it from a strictly political to a strictly religious symbol?"    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"To be 'ashamed' . . . in the New Testament denotes identification with someone or something which, according to the prevailing social dynamics, would result in loss of status."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"Crucifixion was and remains a political and military punishment . . . Among the Romans it was inflicted above all on the lower classes, i.e., slaves, violent criminals, and the unruly elements in rebellious provinces, not least Judea . . . These were primarily people who on the whole had no rights, in other words, groups whose development had to be suppressed by all possible means to safeguard law and order in the state."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"The discourse of healing and exorcism is central to this section. G. Theissen, in his study of the social function of the primitive Christian miracle stories, points out that most contemporaneous Hellenistic miracle sources originated from the aristocracy, and through the highly institutionalized practice of divination and technique-magic were 'concerned with the maintenance of the accepted order and way of life.' Other pagan tradition of 'sorcery and magic represent an individualistic reaction to growing social disintegration.' In contrast, the gospel miracles assert the promise and possibility of radical socio-political change in behalf of the disenfranchised. They function to subvert, not legitimate, the dominant order."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"As in the modern practice of civil disobedience, which might break the law in order to raise deeper issues of its morality and purpose, so Jesus, just before 'crossing the line,' issues a challenge to his audience. Pitting his mission of compassion and justice to the poor against the imperatives of the dominant order, Jesus calls the entire ideological edifice of the law to account."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"André Trocmé, in his provocative book Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution (1964), argued that this episode, as a turning point of Jesus' public ministry, represents carefully staged political theater. Jesus could presumably heal the man with the withered hand in private without provoking a reaction, but chooses yet again to force the issue."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"In sum, Jesus' symbolic acts were powerful not because they challenged the laws of nature, but because the challenged the very structures of social existence."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"Mark's Jesus seeks always to restore the social wholeness denied to the sick/impure by this symbolic order. This is why his healing of the sick/impure is virtually interchangeable with his social intercourse with them. To one 'leper' he offers a declaration of wholeness, to another simply the solidarity of table fellowship. Both acts defy the symbolic order that segregates those lacking bodily integrity; both challenge the prevailing social boundaries and class barriers. The is why Jesus the healer was a threat to 'civic order.'"    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"The demon in the synagogue becomes the representative of the scribal establishment, whose 'authority' undergirds the dominant Jewish social order. Exorcism represents an act of confrontation in the war of myths in which Jesus asserts his alternative authority. Only this interpretation can explain why exorcism is at issue in the scribal counterattack."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesusn


"Healers and magicians abounded and practiced freely in Hellenistic antiquity, but Jesus encounters official hostility almost from the outset . . . he is politically accused for both his dealings and his exorcisms. There must be more to these stories than is immediately obvious to the modern reader."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"The first step [calling the fishermen] in dismantling the dominant social order is to overturn the 'world' of the disciple: in the kingdom, the personal and the political are one."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"Needless to say, the political powers have much to gain from the strict sequestering of the gospel to the private sphere; it was promoted by Nazi racism, and still today by military regimes in South Korea, Guatemala, Chile, and elsewhere."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"By anchoring the story of discipleship firmly in the lived world of his audience [Mark] stood against those who used heavenly visions to legitimate a withdrawal from political struggle into gnostic communities."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


In contrast to modern industrial society, there was no independent religious sector with its independent institutions, organizations, and social activities. In first-century Palestine, religion was instead embedded within all sectors of the system as a whole.    - John H. Elliot ; Social Scientific Criticism of the New Testament: More on Methods and Models


"I pay close attention to the stories of conflict in the Gospel, especially Jesus' protracted enmity with the scribes and Pharisees.  What was the social function of such stories in a  world in which scribes and Pharisees still held political power?"    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"Hegemonic ideology can be combated only with subversive ideology . . . the gospel writers were not mere observers of the ideological struggles of their time, but deeply involved in the war of myths."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"And of course the great story-telling media and television and cinema play major roles in socialization and ideological formation. We must learn to discern hegemonic and subversive characteristics and functions of popular narrative discourse."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"The only effective liberation from such a constraint begins with the recognition that there is nothing that is not social and historical—indeed, that everything is in the last analysis political."    - Fredric Jameson ; The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act


"We may rightly be suspicious of theologies of reconciliation that promote Christian unity at the price of political silence."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"I agree that the demythologizing project was quite wrongheaded; we should instead be about understanding how myth functions as political discourse—in antiquity and today."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"Until recently, for example, American fundamentalism insisted that religion had nothing to do with politics. However, the recent politicization of the Christian right in the U.S.A. under the banner of Reaganism has changed the landscape drastically. Behind the leadership of the such figures as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, Christian groups that were once staunch privatizes now militantly insist that faith does indeed have everything to do with public life, and are busily organizing military aid to anticommunist guerrillas, picketing abortion clinics, and stumping for increased military spending. It may well be that the new ideological synthesis they offer is protofacist, with disturbing parallels to the agenda of the religious right at the time of the rise of the Third Reich as R. Pierard and R. Linder have argued. But the fact remains that the whole nature of the debate has changed: we need no longer belabor whether the Bible calls us to political practice—only what kind of practice. The churches, in my opinion, should welcome this renewed ideological struggle over how the Bible is politically interpreted and used."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


" . . . two key themes that I believe should characterize our theological reflection and guide our practice . . . The first is repentance, which for us implies no only a conversion of the heart, but a concrete process of turning away from empire, its distractions and seductions, it hubris and iniquity. The second is resistance, which involves shaking off the powerful sedation of a society that rewards ignorance and trivializes everything political, in order to discern and take concrete stands in our historical moment, and to find meaningful ways to 'impede imperial progress.'"    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"When Jesus healed the leper, he was also challenging social, cultural and even political mores."    - Sam Wells ; Introduction to Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus by Ched Myers


"Secondly, in our own time the wedge driven between theology and politics has only resulted in the domestication of the former and the sacralization of the latter."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man


"Without a moral or spiritual awakening, we will remain forever trapped in political games fueled by fear, greed and the hunger for power."    - Michelle Alexander ; Something Much Greater At Stake; RADICAL DISCIPLESHIP, SEPTEMBER 18, 2016


So the womanist theologian uses the sociopolitical thought and action of the African-American woman's world to show black women their salvation does not depend upon any form of surrogacy made sacred by traditional and orthodox understandings of Jesus’ life and death. Rather their salvation is assured by Jesus’ life of resistance and by the survival strategies he used to help people survive the death of identity caused by their exchange of inherited cultural meanings for a new identity shaped by the gospel ethics and world view.    - Delores S. Williams ; Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk


This spiritual-political connection in black Christian women's experience has continued beyond Tubman's death in the life and work of such women as Ida Wells, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer and others.    - Delores S. Williams ; Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk


In the biblical account in Genesis Hagar's experiences in the wilderness are constituted by political and spiritual interconnections.    - Delores S. Williams ; Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk


Second, the Hagar (and child) content of the wilderness symbolism brings together the spiritual and the political.    - Delores S. Williams ; Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk


Tubman herself believed her success in singlehandedly liberating over three hundred slaves was superintended by God, who had preordained her political action.    - Delores S. Williams ; Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk


There can be no Christian theology that is not social and political. If theology is to speak about the God of Jesus who is revealed in the struggle of the oppressed for freedom, then theology must also become political, speaking for the God of the poor and the oppressed.    - James H. Cone ; God of the Oppressed


There can be no Christian theology that is not identified unreservedly with those who are humiliated and abused. In fact, theology ceases to be a theology of the gospel when it fails to arise out of the community of the oppressed. For it is impossible to speak of the God of Israelite history, who is the God revealed in Jesus Christ, without recognizing that God is the God of and for those who labor and are overladen.    - James H. Cone ; A Black Theology of Liberation


We believe firmly in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. I can see no conflict between our devotion to Jesus Christ and our present action. In fact, I can see a necessary relationship. If one is truly devoted to the religion of Jesus he will seek to rid the earth of social evils. The gospel is social as well as personal.    - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ; Stride Toward Freedom


I want a change,and a radical change. I want a change from an acquisitive society to a functional society, from a society of go-getters to a society of go-givers.    - Peter Maurin ; The Catholic Worker; August 1936


"Much of what passes for the propagation of the gospel actually equates to acts of oppression. When the saving of souls is of ultimate value, it can become easy for other values to be pushed aside. This evangelistic impulse turns every mystical experience into an altar call and every person into a soul to be saved. And historically Christians have shown an ability to care for people’s souls while dismissing their bodies, their land or their dignity."
   - Mark Van Steenwyk ;  The UnKingdom of God


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