Tag Archives: Political Jesus

Thou Shalt Slow Down: Ecology, Time, and Sabbath

 

I’ve been having a lot of random (or maybe not so much…) thoughts about the connections between ecology, Christianity, and what has become of modern society. Rather than committing to or promising a whole series about these matters, I will simply write about them whenever I feel inspired (and so, naturally it’ll probably turn into something of a series..)

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot in the past year is the societal notion of time. It’s an idea that we take so much for granted and may not even realize/notice despite it being so imminent in literally every corner of our lives and consciousness. What’s worse are the ills that come of our problematic relationship with time. Our society moves so fast that we don’t even notice most of the time. Strict rationalism preceded neo-liberal economic thought which preceded private property rights/individualism ( for white men) which preceded maximizing efficiency and acquisition of wealth which preceded greater technological advancements which preceded the fetishizing of progress and speed- that which is faster is preferable to the slow-moving former..
The health disparities (and wage disparities..) associated with FAST food
The enslavement and destruction of life and freedom by those oversees (many children) because of FAST fashion – fresh Nike sneaks, etc.
The myriad accidents that are essentially numbingly mundane that litter our highways with speed limits of 55, 65, and 75 miles per how
Or maybe even the health complications that are born out of and significantly exacerbated by stress related to meeting deadlines and getting to work and obligations “on time” constantly..
And the list could go on further and further, yet humanity still seems to preference this heightening of speed – it’s like we’re moving so blindingly quick and eager off of a cliff- because none of us seems to know why and where we’re headed at this speed. We salivate at the prospect of a bullet train – taking us from NY to Paris in a matter of minutes. We all love our high-speed internet we used to read this blog post. For what purpose? We’ll get to our destination faster but we’re not suspended from the human condition anymore than if we moved slower.
All of these examples come from human ecology, yet natural ecology moves at a rate far slower than its human counterparts. The formation of fertile soil, the growth of crops and food, the development of some of the world’s greatest mountain chains, the decomposition of plants and animals , the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles, the passage of spring to summer to fall to winter – some of these things happen at timescales millions of time longer than the human life span, others thousands, hundreds, ten times as long- but all of these things ( and many more things) in ecology move SLOWLY compared to human civilization of today. Nature seems content to move at its slow pace, never rushing yet everything gets accomplished somehow.
We gaze out at the backyard finch through our windows in the morning and watch as it chirps and frolics through the air in between foraging for food, building its nest, feeding its young- we begin to envy this critter and many others because of the abundant wealth of time they have. We gaze out at them and then look at ourselves and our obligations and have to shake our heads at the absurdity of the speeds with which our lives and obligations move, a little bit of us even mourns because we know life could be this way. Slowness of pace is one of ecology’s most important lessons.
Perhaps this is what YAHWEH is invoking in instituting the Sabbath. The designation of a whole day to taking a rest from the mundane in our lives, the business and the restlessness. A time to be present with ourselves and with our God and to trust in his ability to sustain.
Perhaps this is what Christ is invoking in Matthew 6:25- 28
25″For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26″Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?… 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.

Our obsession with speed is ultimately an obsession with the desire to control, to master, to possess to eliminate uncertainty about the future. We think be speedily moving ourselves from point A in time to point B we can eliminate the “gook” in between these two points, but a lot of life happens between these two moments that we’re attempting to just erase by moving faster and disregard anything that happens between points A and B. Our obsession with speed is about the angst, anxiety and restlessness of our culture to produce, consume, compete and remain abreast of our competition. Therefore by encouraging opposing this manner of living Christ provides a manner of resisting empire- slow down !

Afrofuturism and daring to dream!

So, while I was scrolling along my favorite tumblr, Kenobi Wan Obi , I came across this incredible quote that explains a narrative that many blerds would identify with:

In the beginning there was a story, a telling of what it meant to be a Black body in the White Western European imagination. A simple account constructed to explain extant narratives, told to maintain a lucrative status quo. Then there was awareness of counter-narratives challenging the status quo, undermining the easy acceptance of received ideas.

Afrofuturism has emerged as part of an urbanized culture, set against systematic and structural estrangement and disenfranchisement of global Blackness. It is not a movement in the traditional sense. Instead, Afrofuturism is a culture and aesthetic understanding addressing all manifest forms as it seeks ways to tell the Black story of rebellion and engages divergent forms of communication. Music, art, spoken word, dance, literature, and religion are some major forms of expression. Afrofuturism is a post-modern deconstruction of a Western European meta-narrative. 

Imagine a Black person in living memory, and long before that, having to look at their life as lived, their past and present. It is an easy realization that it has not been a good past and present (on most parts of the planet), and it is in the future that a viable and desired existence has a possibility. Or perhaps only in a parallel universe, or even better still, on another planet altogether, in a land far, far away, that the possibility of the Good Life exists.

Science and science fiction (in many forms beyond the written text) have emerged as a solution to the impossibilities that reality proposes. As a consequence, writers who deal with Afrocentric questions, such as Octavia Butler, Samuel Delaney, Greg Tate, and Nalo Hopkinson in writing, and Sun Ra and George Clinton, and Parliament Funk in music, have been seen as proponents of Afrofuturism. There is always an awareness of what it means to place the Black Body in the future, in Space. Gil Scott-Heron’s Whitey on the Moon attests to this.

Imagining a future, and being able to act on that impulse, has often been treated as a marker of freedom, especially personal freedom. The human spirit, individual and collective, has been rather resilient in maintaining growth, a conceptualization that allowed for a flourishing self-identity capable of resisting psychical death. New cultural forms have emerged to counteract imposed narratives, Afrocentric future-origin myths capable of counteracting the erasure and denigration of the many histories that Blackness endures around the world. 

While easy to argue that loss of identity only happened in the United State through the transatlantic slave trade, the reality is that Africans on the Continent and in the diaspora have had to negotiate their history and identity through a mediated narrative, mediated and reinforced by global colonial relationships, and Afrofuturism has become a viable methodology. Afrofuturism allows everything to be thought through again. Nothing is left untouched. The future allows for ease of interrogation of even the most unspoken taboos of lived life. Afrofuturism therefore allows for a new look at Blackness itself, a re-imagining of the self in relation to the other, the ability to tell one’s own story.

—Raimi Gbadamosi

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On Rebooting Political Jesus

 

 

Darkwing Duck

Darkwing Duck, or what PJ used to look like.

 

After considering a number of ideas, a few of use at PJ thought it would be best to keep the name Political Jesus. However, we are still planning to reboot PJ, and there’s been a glimpse. If you hadn’t noticed already, we have scrolling pages now for your viewing pleasure.

 

A renewed mission statement is in order. When Rod first conceived of Political Jesus, it was inspired by the theologies of John Howard Yoder, James Cone, and Jurgen Moltmann, but PJ has changed from more of an academic-focused theology blog to a blog that has religious scholarship, fandom studies, movie & book reviews, cultural criticism, and a few things about politics here and there. Given this change, a reworked mission and statement of purpose is in order, that replaces probably the “Why Political Jesus? series.”

 

A new and relevant series will also include “Your Fave Theologian Is Problematic” (inspired by the hilarious and critical tumblr blog Your Fave Is Problematic), which Rod plans to take aim at the aforementioned men whose writing influenced me into creating this space, and Chad plans on doing the same with perhaps some of his favorite too.

 

There are going to be more posts more frequently. And the subject matter will be just as diverse, from summer blockbusters to Patristic theology to the Sunday Funnies to the Worship Wars to a weekly series on the week’s best blog posts from around the web, it will be the same PJ, with a few surprises.

 

The Batsuit of The Dark Knight, worn by Christ...

The Dark Knight, or what PJ will look like after the Reboot!

 

 

 

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