Monday, April 09, 2007

Timeless books

Hey gang. I just finished a book called An Ethic for Christians & Other Aliens in a Strange Land by William Stringfellow. It was first published in 1973 and yet is so apropos of 2007. Basically, Stringfellow posits that America is living under the delusion that it represents Jerusalem/Israel in the vision of the apocalypse, when it actually embodies Babylon. He asserts that death is the true idol and ruler of principalities and super powers. Anyway, near the end, as he's concluding that there really isn't hope for America to ever overcome the rule of death, the calls for Christians to live as kingdom people. Here's what he says:

In the face of death, live humanly. In the middle of chaos, celebrate the Word. Amidst babel, I repeat, speak the truth. Confront the noise and verbiage and falsehood of death with the truth and potency and efficacy of the Word of God. Know the Word, teach the Word, nurture the Word, preach the Word, defend the Word, incarnate the Word, do the Word, live the Word. And more than that, in the Word of God, expose death and all death's works and wiles, rebuke lies, cast out demons, exorcise, cleanse the possessed, raise those who are dead in mind and conscience.

Wow! This is a book that could seriously have been written last week. Stringfellow raises thoughtful questions about the power of death in the military complex in the United States and how it pervades all parts of American culture.

On a note that I think is related, I attended a middle school motivational talk about bullying today. The school is planning to implement a big anti-bullying campaign next year. It sounds like a solid program with intentional times of community between students and teachers. I wonder, though, about the hypocrisy of the drivers of a parking lot full of SUVs with W stickers sitting around in a middle school library bemoaning the act of bullying as our President uses the tactics of a bully to impose his agenda on nations around the world. Doesn't our condescending rhetoric about Israel, Palestine, Iran, and Iraq sound like bullying? Bullying is bad...unless our government does it in the name of peace. Any thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Powerful message... I think sometimes we get focused on the "cause" and lose sight of Christ. Stringfellow mentions us confronting and exposing the chaos of this world... But this can only be done after the Truth has taken captive our hearts, minds and bodies. In our own strength and in our own wisdom there is no battle to be won.

Amy said...

fab quote and great reflections.

by the by, I think my sister will be at the Netta with some kids while you're keynoting - lucky ducky!

Andy said...

great book! Chuck draws from it for "Word Before the Powers." We read stringfellow's book in powers and principalities class, really good read. I enjoyed the connection stringfellow made with revelation.

NoVA Dad said...

Stringfellow -- another one of my favorites. If it's alright, I think I'll link your blog to mine -- I'd like to see how your own journey continues.

Darrell's End Times said...

So how might Stringfellow describe the ministry of Christ?

He writes, “Christ’s is a ministry of great extravagance – of a reckless, scandalous expenditure of his life for the sake of the world’s life. Christ gives away his life. The world finds new life in His life and in His gift of His life to the world. His is not a very prudential life, not a very conservative life, not a very cautious life, not – by ordinary standards – a very successful life. He shunned no one, not even adulterers, not even tax collectors, not even neurotics and psychotics…not even poor people, not even beggars, not even lepers, not even those who ridiculed him, not even those who betrayed him, not even his own enemies. He shunned no one. The words that [describe] the ministry of Christ are…sorrow, poverty, rejection, radical, unpopularity. They are the words of agony. It seems ridiculous to apply such words to the ministry of churches nowadays. Yet where these words cannot be truthfully applied to the ministry of churches today they must then be spoken against the churches to show how far the churches are from being the body of Christ engaged in the ministry of Christ in the world.”

Also, I would recommend reading May God Give You Wisdom!
The letters of Fr. Hohn Krestiankin

Becca Smith said...

Just perused your most recent posts, for the first time in awhile, and this one made me cringe. It's amazing the physical reaction I feel when I see one of those pompous-looking square "W" stickers on a car...especially on an SUV. My gut turns for sure...
Anyway; I hope you are well. Can't believe you are 30-I'm steadily headed there myself. E-mail or call soon. Hope the mission trip goes well.
Miss you!