Tag Archives: nonresistance

On 1 Million Moms, Green Lantern, The Culture Wars, and Nonviolent Theology

Green Lanterns of two worlds: The Silver Age H...

“In Brightest Day, In Darkest Night, No Evil Shall Escape My Sight, Let those who Worship Violence’s Might, Beware My Power, Yoder’s NonViolent Light!”

So, io9 reports that the re-introduced Alan Scott (the original Green Lantern, now being put on Earth 2) won his first bad against One Million Moms who attempted an online petition against DC Comics making a comic book character from the GLBTQ community. 1MM is temporarily off of Facebook, because, in the Culture Wars, if you lose, its seen as a shame, but they will be back. In Christianity, we see Culture Wars as a war of efficiency, if we can only get the majority in this industry and that industry, it’s like a high school with popularity contests. Efficiency is placed over faithfulness, as John Howard Yoder so long ago pointed out in his ground-breaking The Politics Of Jesus.

In Yoder’s The War of the Lamb:The Ethics of Nonviolence and Peacemaking, he makes several points that I believe are highly relevant to Christian approaches to politics, and in particular, the culture wars over human sexuality. Taking a Radical Reformation (Anabaptist) Realist approach to politics, Yoder argues in “Gospel Renewal and the Roots of Nonviolence” that “Recourse to an ancient charter need not to be antiquarian, nor need to deny continuing historical change; however, it does affirm that the movement called upon to undergo reformation has a normative foundation within history, which it is possible to deny and therefore also possible to reaffirm” (page 44). I think this is especially pertinent when we talk about the debates over traditional marriage. Groups such as 1MM more often than not, have a theological bias against historical criticism (and therefore changes) in the biblical narrative including the norms about marriage. Plural marriage, concubines, and forced marriages between captive foreign women are all in the Bible, but Right Wing culture warriors [as a side note, being a culture warrior is not an exclusively bad thing, in my view, conflict is part of life, being en la lucha] act as we do not have to deal with these histories. On the opposite side, I continue to have my reservations about comparing the marriage equality movement to the fight against anti-miscegenation laws; there is a HUGE difference between racism/racial identity bound by biology and pseudo-scientific arguments and arguments about a person’s identifying themselves according to his/her sexual non/behavior.

This leads me to Yoder’s second point, found in another essay “Conflict from the Perspective of Anabaptist History and Theology,” and that is, if conflict resolution is to be personal, with reconciling intent, rooted in (from a Christian context) Christian Community, then conflict is best resolved through ritual (page 143-144). Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and confession may be among the first three that come to mind. But if we think about the stories in Genesis 1-3, the conflict after the Fall between men and women, from a narrative stand point, needs resolution. Christian marriage as a nonviolent sacrament between one man and woman should be seen as the way forward, as I have previously argued [linked here].

Lastly, and I think this last suggestion is a call for even more hard work, is for Christianities to accept the risk of dialogue. This risk recognizes the the ever crucial Gospel paradigm of enemy love as an extension of neighborly love (111-112). This means in the course of dialogue, for both sides Right or Left, to honor the way in which the Other understands themselves (of course, Yoder does not recognize the need for certain limits, such as the need to ban hateful speech promoting violence against the Othered and minorities). Dialogue on either end DOES NOT mean that we are lending credibility to one side or the other side, but it may mean that we are willing to use the language of other persons who bear the Image of God, in recognition of the person’s human dignity as a gift of the Triune Creator.

My Experience with Occupy Dallas

First, some housekeeping. If you want to know why I stand in solidarity with the 99%/Occupy Wall Street movement, you can click here for some reasons that convinced me. If you want a small list of what the movement might like to see as far as meaningful change, you can click here. However, just know that any movement which places people over profits, values the whole over a few individuals, is willing to start conversations and act, and is willing to use non-violent action to do so has my sympathy already.

Now, last Friday at around 6pm, my pal Scott and I took the train from Fort Worth to Dallas. We decided to participate in Occupy Dallas rather than Occupy Fort Worth because the Dallas crowd is bigger and our thought is that we could do more good initially as a larger, unified crowd. Plus, at the time, the Occupy Fort Worth group was rather small and seemingly non-committal.

While on the train, we discussed our reasons for joining up, and lamented how so few of the Christians we knew were willing to get involved. As I have been tweeting and Facebook-ing over the last few weeks, we have noticed a few varied responses from our Christian friends about the Occupy movement.

The first response is probably the expected one. Ignorance. Many Christians don’t know what the heck the movement is, where it came from, what it wants, what it is doing, or nearly anything else about it, besides what they might see on Fox news or some other news channel. Second, those who are against it. Many of these also fall into the ignorant category above, since they don’t have an accurate view of what the movement is, again, probably from watching only a certain brand of news channel. But, there are those that have equated their Christian philosophy with that of capitalism, and thus see any threat to economic-anarchy as bad. Third, there are supporters. Those who, in spirit, are sympathizers. However, for any number of reasons, have chosen to not get involved. My BFF Mike is one of these. He simply doesn’t have the time or the clarity at the moment to be able to read and research all he can about whether or not he wants to throw in with this lot, but from what he has heard, he is very sympathetic and cautiously supportive. There are others who are all on board with every thing they hear. They know what the movement is and they hope it succeeds. But they don’t want to personally get involved. Lastly, there are the ones who took the step to actually join up. That group included Scott, myself, and the Methodist chap we met on Saturday. There is one more group, but I will get to that in due course.

On the train, there was a girl sitting behind us, probably mid-twenties, with her little girl, about 4 years old. She was well dressed, and very attractively so, as if she wanted to impress someone. She was having a slight bit of trouble with her child. About half-way to Dallas, the lady asked me if she could use my phone. I hate that. I am a mild germophobe, so I don’t like people I don’t know touching the things that I put close to my head. Anyway, since once in a while I let the Holy Spirit win, I let her use my phone. After a minute, she gave it back to me, frustrated. Scott and I continued talking, and about five minutes later, she asked again to use my phone. All in all, she used my phone about 5 times during the train ride. She never seemed to get ‘hold of who she wanted. As we stepped off the train, I noticed her looking around, dragging her daughter, and I so I went up to her and asked her if she needed to use my phone again. She said yes, and so we waited for her. She once again was disappointment. It was now about 7pm and Dallas was dark. We made to leave, but my conscience would not let me leave this woman and her child alone in the middle of Dallas at night. So I asked her if someone was picking them up, and if so, would she like us to wait with her. She said yes to both, and we gathered she was waiting for some dude to come get her. We followed her all around the train station, looking for her ride, but there was no one around. I played with the little girl, whose name was Marrissa, for a good long time, and bought her some starburst to give her mom a break, while Scott went back and forth from the information counter, trying to find out train schedules for her in case she needed to go back, getting the guard to unlock the door for Marrissa and various other things.

All in all, we waited for about 3 hours. Eventually, the guard asked us who the girl was. We said we just met her on the train. Shocked, they asked us why we were trying to help her. We told her it was just the right thing to do. Then she asked us where we were staying. We told her, “in the park.” She replied, “are ya’ll here for the protest thingy?” We told her, “yep.” She then informed us that we don’t look like we belong there. We look respectable. We took it as a compliment, since neither one of us particularly wanted to look like a cliche hippy. But she was just shocked and, as a result, wanted to know more about what we were doing.

At around 10:00, the dude finally calls me on my phone and comes to get her. Homeboy walks in, must be early twenties, in a basketball jersey, looks at her and throws up his hands, like, “what?” She thanks us, and they head off. I am being judgmental, but she could do better.

We arrived at the tent camp just as things were winding down. Everyone was quite welcoming, and after a 5-block trek to the bathrooms at McDonald’s (down with corporations! Can I use your bathroom?), we began to settle in. The first thing I noticed was how hard it was to tell the difference between the actual group and the homeless folk around. Homeless folk would come up and grab food, and hang around the group at all times. It was unsettling to me, but no one ever said anything. They treated these homeless folks like anyone else. Served them, answered questions, and were even educating them on what they believed. I haven’t seen Christians in a position like that for some time. They offered us tents to sleep in, but when we went up, all of the tents were occupied, so after sitting in on a brief and spontaneous teaching session about corporate evil and non-violent activism, we unrolled our sleeping bags and nodded off under the stars. Oh! I forgot to say, the tents were in a graveyard! How cool is that? We slept outside in a graveyard!

I have to say, as the first time I have slept literally under the stars, it wasn’t bad. The only problem I had was when I was awoken at 2:30 by an argument going on. Now, my vision was hazy, but what I saw was a white, twenty-something, attractive woman with an open-back shirt accompanied by 4 Latino youths speaking in a rather “street” lingo. I’m so hip. Anyway, the boys took turns swinging on the bronze bull statues in the park (making quite a racket, and doing the one thing the police asked us nicely not to do) while the woman was arguing with two young white guys with mild facial hair. She sounded like a Ron Paul infomercial and the two guys were trying desperately to get her to leave them alone. She wouldn’t stop though, and demanded them to explain how she wasn’t right about her assertion that the economy isn’t bad because of bad laws and greed, but because there is no gold standard anymore. After she started talking about Jesus, the two young men simply walked away. Then the Latino youths and her walked away. Weird. Back to bed.

I awoke refreshed, if a little sore. And I went to explore the camp in the daylight. There was a library tent, full of various books on revolution, marxism, government greed, etc… I was impressed by the graphic novel section, which was stocked with V for Vendetta, Transmetropolitan, and a few others. Also, I found a few Shane Claiborne books, too. Hmmm. A Christian has been somewhere….

There was also a little tent that had the words, “Occuplay” on it. It was a tent set up for kids to play in and was attended at all times by a sort of chaperone. The need was obvious. There were little kids running around everywhere. Lots of hippy kids. Lots weren’t.

One of the tents that really impressed me was the tent that was labeled”Cancer Diabetes Cure Tent.” There was medical staff there, along with supplies to help those with cancer and diabetes. These were free services, offered by the community to those who needed it, regardless of how they could afford it. Not sure where the staff or supplies came from, but I was damn impressed.

Next to that was an art tent, where one could make their own art, protest signs, paint your body (as a few did), or pick up and use some of the art that had been created. Scott picked up a protest sign which he used the rest of the day.

The food tent was pretty large. It had a few people manning it, but anyone who wanted food could get it. They gave away whatever people wanted. There was always a place to make sandwiches and grab water, and while the coffee always took too long to brew, it was always brewing.  All of the food was donated by various groups. No Churches that I know of, though.

We were informed that there was to be a march to Goldman Sachs at 1pm, so we had a while to go. I spent some time smoking my pipe while making my own protest sign (see at top of post). Afterwards, Scott and I went to the corner and held out our signs for an hour or so. It was rather hot, but we did get some attention, and lots of people taking our pictures. Almost all of the feedback I received from passersby, on foot and driving by, was positive. Lots of thumbs up and honking friendly faces. The very few negative remarks I got were telling me to get a job. I already have a job. Surely the economy won’t be helped if I get a second job and take one away from the unemployed, right? Sigh. Some people. I met a lot of really cool people, including a man in a wheelchair and long hair. i would have thought that he was homeless, but when he started speaking, I was ashamed that I had labelled him in my head, because he was clearly much more elegant a speaker and much more passionate about this than I was. One day I will learn.

Around noon, lunch was brought out by the local Hare Krishna group. They served hundreds of people for free. It was vegetarian and delicious. They gave liberally, and were all very kind. Now, I don’t know how wealthy the Hare Krishna groups are in Dallas, but surely the churches have them beat financially. But I have yet to hear about any churches stepping up to supply food of any kind or any other help or aid. Now, before you get uppity, remember what Jesus said. You don’t have to agree with these people in order to help. You might hate what they stand for and think that this movement should die a painful death. But… “love your enemies…. do good for those who curse you…” kinda has a haunting effect at the moment, doesn’t it?

At 1:00, the march was on. There was a great deal more people that showed up to march than were staying at the camp. All in all, I would say about 400 people showed up to march. I should stop here and say that the police were rock stars. Very professional, very nice. They even stopped at one point to hand out water to us as we were marching. I must admit that I though Dallas would have the most aggressive cops, but I was wrong. So far, these women and men of the DPD were as classy as hell.

Along the way, we did get a few hecklers. People mostly shouting “get a job.” I wonder if that was in a memo or something. “Make sure you use the phrase, ‘get a job’ when you yell at the protesters.” It must be coming from somewhere, because it was like a mantra for the haters. Anyway. I couldn’t help but notice that those haters didn’t stop for the woman whose tire was flat. We did, though. She had her spare installed in no time and was on her way. Made me feel good to be a part of something that generative.

A little ways into the march, I did meet another Christian. I could tell he was a Christian because of the sign he was holding up. Of course, I don’t begrudge him for putting religious things on a protest sign. I did, after all. But his wasn’t a protest sign. It was a message from God. I know this was a message from God because, as luck would have it, I was able to sit next to this man on the way home from Dallas. More on that lovely experience later. His signs read, “Jesus says: I never knew you Get away from me.” and “Condemned to die because of sin.” I tried to engage him a few times to no avail.

Once we got to Goldman Sachs, we looked pretty impressive. It was there that I met the other Christian at the rally (besides the messenger). He was a Methodist chap, and the back of his shirt read, “Separation of Church and Hate.” Well done, sir. As the rally got going, there was a bullhorn present and anyone who wanted could grab the mic and start talking. I didn’t see anyone refused, no matter how dumb they sounded. And I’ll be honest, there were some stinkers. There were many times I wanted to go up and talk, but I honestly just chickened out. I made Scott promise to shove me forward next time. There were union leaders, anarchists, teachers, organizers, and a few loose screws who got up to talk. My “favorite” was the guy who kept saying, “I don’t mean to sound racist, but…” and then immediately would say something racist, lol. My favorite moment at the rally happened behind the scenes. Scott and I were right behind the speakers and the “messenger” was holding up his Godhate sings for all to see. A gentleman next to us saw the sign and immediately looked around indignantly. He said, “Do you see that? He is some kind of religious zealot! We have to stop him. Grab his sign. He is going to ruin things!” He finally went up to one of the folks who was loosely organizing things, and again started saying, “do you see that? we have to stop him!” The organizer, wearing a sweet Guy Fawks mask, just said, “Freedom of speech, dude.” The upset man said again, “but he will spoil our message.” The reply: “Freedom of speech, dude.” Once again, the man said, we have to get that sign down. The organizer lifted the mask from his face and said, “Freedom of speech, dude.” And left the bewildered man with nothing more to say. Scott and I agreed that was hardcore.

As we walked back to the park, we shouted various phrases. “We. Are. The 99%.,” “Banks got bailed out. We got sold out,” “People’s needs, not corporate greed,” “End the war, feed the poor,” “I got Jesus, yes I do, I got Jesus how ’bout you?” Just kidding about that last one. As we marched, I realized that I left my cool jacket and my sleeping bag out in the open. I was concerned. When we got back, I was sweaty, but thankfully, there were more people who had donated very yummy flavored water to help quench our thirst. I grabbed my jacket and my bag, and said my farewells, since I had to teach at church the next morning.

As I went back to the train station alone, I had some time to think. I was very pleased that I had participated. This was not a monolithic thing. There is a reason that there are mixed messages coming out of these groups. They have no ultimate authority. They are strictly egalitarian. Everyone is equal. Therefore, they all have different opinions, and the movement doesn’t suffer for it, it is better off. The way they decide to do something is through a vote. They have “general assemblies” twice per day, and they vote. I am frustrated that there are no Christians involved for two reasons. One, it makes it seem like we don’t care about the 99%. The loudest Christian voices are coming out in support of either the status quo, or the corporations, banks, and politicians themselves. Second, if no Christians are involved, they will have no voice in this movement, for good or ill. They will be, like we are to nearly everything else these days, simply irrelevant. That is not acceptable to me.

As I got on the train, I was soon followed by the messenger, who sat next to me. I engaged him in conversation, but I was sort of thwarted by his very thick German accent. He often did not understand certain words I was saying. He explained to me that he was not a missionary, and he didn’t want to change anyone’s mind. He simply was told by God to tell people that vengeance was coming. It is really a shame, because he was really a sort of nice, humble man one-on-one. I probably could have had a great conversation with him, except that another gentleman started talking to him, too. His starting line was, have you heard of Yahweh-shua? The messenger simply couldn’t understand what the guy was trying to say. The guy said that Yahweh-shua was Jesus’ original Hebrew name. He said there was a conspiracy… blah blah blah. Finally, they both start talking about the gays and how everyone is going to hell, and they start getting on fabulously. I simply can’t ramp up the energy at this point to argue with the messenger in broken English and the Pentecostal Yahweh-shuist from the wannabe messianice Jewish congregation. So I moved.

My phone died on the way. I got off on the wrong stop going home. My brilliant wife saved the day. My daughter was glad I wasn’t arrested. She wants to come with me next time. My wife made me promise that we would train our kids in experiencing Jesus as much as social activism. I started to argue my case that they were one and the same, but I saw the look that told me to stop.

I went to bed happy. Christians, pull your head out. Now. Don’t sit on the fence any more.





Ephesians 6 & Dominionists’ Emotional Appeals Defending Slavery #VV11

Occasionally, there are comments on Political Jesus that always seem to make me giggle inside because they seem to bare out accusations which go unfounded, and say more about the attitudes of the commenter, than myself. This was the case with Mitchell’s comment Wednesday. Let’s examine this quote, yes?:

“Finally, since you’re so confident that your reading of Ephesians 6:6-9 is superior to that of some imaginary CEO’s, why not share with us how you read it? Or is this one more part of the Bible that you don’t read anymore since the time you “rejected linear logic” and “white Calvinist interpretations” of the Bible? My suspicion is that your real beef is with Ephesians 6:6-9 itself, not with some alleged misinterpretation of it.”

I just love these accusations, because they give me ample opportunity to show just how wrong the accuser is, but also to clarify where I stand on my romantic relationship with the Bible. Notice how Mitchell put race into, without race being mentioned in the post: “white Calvinist” oh, yes, and the goody of adding “linear logic” to it to make his irrational argument come off as reasonable. This is hardly the case. First, rather than ask me how do I read Ephesians 6:6-9, which would have been the appropriate path, Mitchell went straight towards the “Me and my fellow Calvinists love the Bible more than you” argument. That is not an argument from reason. That is making a through and through emotional appeal, and one without knowledge of where I come down on. Is Mitchell assuming that just because I am black, I do not read the pro-slavery passages in the Bible, let alone the rest of the household codes? What, only white male Calvinists can truly understand these passages using their “linear logic” (code word for European, Euro-centric rationality). If this is what Mitchell is saying, he may need to “check himself before he wrecks himself.”

On to the passages in question, starting with my spoof of Ephesians 6:6-9, as read by modern day CEOs:

““And wage slaves, obey your corporate masters with fear and respect, giving up your right to organize and negotiate. Submit yourselves to them not only to move up on the ladder of meritocracy, but obey the laws of Big Business just as you were loving god.

And corporate overlords, be mindful to undermine any call for economic justice, and remain diligent in firing black people first, and hiring them last.”

Now I have already said earlier on this blog that I learned to re-interpret Ephesians 6 as being staunchly anti-union:

“The very first verse I learned from Ephesians was Ephesians 4:32, from the Jesus Alphabet that my mother taught. The second verse I learned from it came at a Christian camp for teens, as a teenager, Ephesians 6:5-9. The camp counselor, a white, 20-something male and Wesleyan-leaning evangelical, taught us that these passages about slavery had new meaning for today: presto-chango this was a command from God to not join unions when you go to work, to not complain or strike and to do everything that your boss told you to do. At the time, I was quite impressionable, and I never questioned interpretation.”

You can find that post here: Why I agree with Mike Huckabee and Michele Bachmann on Ephesians 5

There are several things wrong with replacing unions with slaves, for the obvious reasons. The modern day laborer is not a prisoner of war or a colonized subject from ancient Rome, I mean, unless you want to argue otherwise, go right ahead and try me. This represents an anachronistic approach to Scripture, prioritizing our contemporary concerns over the audiences’ and authors’ concerns at that time in the text. I did not learn this reading from a white male Calvinist, but a white male Wesleyan who thought he was doing the group a favor (the group consisted of 2 African Americans, me and a guy from Rose High in Memphis– I still remember and that was almost a decade ago).

Remember, I did not bring race into my presentation of Ephesians 6, that was all Mitchell, and so the following is a proportional response.

Dominionists like Gary North are fine with slavery. In fact, in his commentary on Leviticus, Gary North calls all abolitionists who do not agree with his interpretation of Scripture “humanists”;

North says,

“The humanist abolitionist tries to put God in the dock. He tries to put the State on the judgment throne of God. What he hates is the Bible, not slavery as such. The question is never slavery vs. no slavery. The question is: Who will be the slave-master, and who will be the slave?”

Notice how North appeals to emotion–those who disagree with his hermeneutic “hate the Bible” just like when Mitchell accused me of hating the Bible in so many words.

So, unlike some bloggers who believe that dominionism is a false myth, I do believe dominionists exist, and dominionism is the appropriate term. Not every conservative evangelical politician is a dominionist, there isn’t a dominionist under each church parking lot. Rick Perry is a friend of dominionists, but he is not one, given his immigration policy and his crony capitalist economics. Pat Robertson is not a dominionist since he believes that the Bible inspired the ideals of a democratic-republic. Michele Bachmann, without a doubt, is a dominionist; she is well read in the literature, and her “gaffes” on the Founding Fathers & slavery are real truths to her and her camp–they want to prove so much that the Founders were blameless, without sin, our Saviors. Dominionism, as such, if one understands Gary North, is about Christians being masters and non-Christians being slaves (in economic and political terms). All challenges to Gary North’s anachronistic readings of scripture are the moral equivalent to hating God Himself. For all of his talk of believing in small government, North’s pro-capital punishment position betrays his faithfulness to small government principles: “that God requires human judges to turn murderers over to Him for His immediate judgment, once the earthly courts have declared them guilty as charged.”

Notice the slippery slope in transition: the earthly courts are equal to God’s courts in heaven. As if human beings in power are not sinful (oh, but the powerless and moneyless are as I will show). What about God wanting everyone to come to repentance, as we find in Acts? From the beginning, North rejects the Christian teaching of the Incarnation, of God becoming human and reconciling creation; I argued this in my Nestorian Christology/Tea Party Politics post. The strict separation between God and humanity leads to a politics that emphasizes social division, hierarchy, and domination.

Now, for some reason, North connects earthly slavery as a model for eternal damnation: “Slavery’s negative model is God’s judgment of covenant-breakers throughout eternity.” In the colonial America, this was the exact same argument used to enslave Africans. I am stating this as a poignant fact, no sympathy necessary. Therefore, any abolition minded-Christian, in North’s view, who rejects slavery as God’s Will and Wrath, must logically reject the traditional notion of Hell. Is this true? No, it is not, all the way from White Calvinists such as the saint John Brown to Sojourner Truth to Frederick Douglass to Lemuel Haynes, there is no evidence they rejected Hell. What North is doing here, once again, is appealing to emotion, especially given the fact that he does NOT give any examples of such heretic abolitionists. I hold firmly to the more hopeful vision of the New Creation, with hell being the experience of punishment at the Second Resurrection over and against the twin heresies of annihilation (unforgiveness and disembodiedness) and universalism (liberal empire in disguise). In fact, the pagans who went to “church” and held slaves in bondage in the name of Christ, I fully and joyfully expect Christ with judge them, and in Christ alone I have that hope, not the State.

Back to North and slavery, and Ephesians 6. Representative Steve King suggested that there was nothing regretful about enslaving Africans (or deposing of Native Americans from their land I may add). Historical facts, like North, evade and offend King, for he does not even want to acknowledge the fact that enslaved Africans built the Capitol Building. Newt Gingrich openly confessed to still supporting the Arkansas governor’s decision to repudiate Brown versus the Board of Education, and disallow the Arksansas 9 from attending school. So much for law and order! Whose law? Whose order? Just think about it. Of course, Newt cannot be a dominionist, he’s Catholic, but he can hold their positions. Facts, history, and court case results just fly in the face of Newt’s and Dominionists’ “linear logic.”

Now, Mitchell, the person who inspired this post, failed to mention in his response to my parody post on Corporate Overlordship why I said, “HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA.” I was not laughing because of his position, but rather his FALSE ACCUSATION about me “not loving the Bible as much as him” as if the Bible was a person, and we were able to go on dates with it. As if the “white Calvinist” reading was the only possible reading; as if it were something as black and white, or perhaps gold and silver, like Gary North’s idol thoughts on the gold standard, that gold could ever be the image of God.

What drives the traditional interpretation of Ephesians 6:6-9 is economic interests. You’re conservative, you don’t like unions, let’s find a random passage on ancient slavery, replace slaves with unions, and corporations/businessmen with masters, and abba cadabra, it’s magic! Economics did not work the same way then as it did now; this again, exposes the dominionist tendency toward anachronism once more. I could go into the biblical story and talk about our Gentile place in that story and supersessionism, but I’d like to show where I stand on Ephesians 6, you know, using logic, without appeal to emotion.

Now, I could choose to use a cultural hermeneutic, proclaim how offended I am at all of the pro-slavery passages, and decry how my forebears were enslaved, abused, mistreated, raped, and lynched. But of course, the “white Calvinists” would swoop in and point, see, a ha!, not linear logic. Instead, looking at the overall corpus of Paul (yes I do assume Ephesians is Pauline, recorded by a secretary just like Romans), Paul (and even Peter in his letters) is really concerned with violent overthrows for some reason. For example, check in 1st Timothy about Paul’s warning to women not to VIOLENTLY USURP men’s teaching offices; that is what the Greek literally means. Paul is actually quite intentional. At the conclusion of Romans, chapters 12-16, we are told to love our enemies and obey the authorities. Sub-ordination to authority in some cases is a practice in enemy-love and forgiveness (Paul’s letters intersect with Christ Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount/Plain). Mutual Sub-ordination to our spouses and mutual self-giving/respect to our children are cases of familial love. What Paul is doing here is trying to be consistent, giving everyone in the household one standard, the victorious cross of Jesus the Messiah. By sub-ordination, I join John Howard Yoder in understanding it to mean placing ourselves under the ordering of God, that which we seen in the atonement.

This ordering is not only about God being once more united with humanity, but also humanity being united in oneness under the New Adam, the New Humanity. As such, with the knowledge that human wisdom and practices are always changing and leaving no absolutes (I am referring to politics and economics here in particular), it is the Sophia from God, that confounds the wise and the rich alike in society, dominionists such as Gary North stand completely at odds with both Christian tradition and the entire Good News (the whole of the Christian canon).