Posted by: rogermitchell | January 2, 2010

more on the nation state in relationship to the ecclesia and the kingdom of God

In the attempt to respond to David Leigh’s request for a bit more on this subject of the relationship between the nation state, ecclesia and the kingdom of God I have four main points to make as discussion starters. For the background to this I refer to the posts and comments of November 27th and the theopolitics page. From this material it is important to remember that the nation state, and the related but mainly impotent denominational structures and local church expressions that remain alongside it, are the progeny of the marriage of ecclesia and empire. So while they are at heart generally destructive of the kingdom of God, the question of what to do with them as they crumble beneath the little stone of the kingdom is our responsibility as the people of God to answer because we produced them. We cannot simply turn on them as alien and demonic shapes, they hold our fellow humans and our brothers and sisters and our transition out of them has to be by the way of the cross and in the kenotic spirit of the trinity. It seems certain to me that the deconstruction of the church forms through which many of us have passed is the training ground for the coming deconstruction of the nation state. The latter is surely inevitable both politically and eschatologically.  With all this in mind I come to the four points:

i) The nation state is structured on and for sovereignty, like empire, but no longer as was the case with empire simply for the domination of the many by the few, but for the personal sovereignty of as many people as possible commensurate with still preserving the ongoing sovereignty of the few. The system of representative democracy that the nation state has developed and now embodies is a way of maintaining that imbalance not of obtaining equality.

ii) The nation state originated as a structure for peace through sovereignty and so perpetrated the same fallacy of peace through power that the marriage of ecclesia and empire was based on. This mismatch continues to work out in the infrastructure of law, economics, education, health and so on and is secured by war and the ultimate threat of nuclear weapons. In the end of course this is not a structure for peace on earth but only as much peace as can preserve the domination of the powerful.

iii) This qualified, conditional peace in favour of the powerful is the nature of all sovereignty based structures including denominational and local ecclesial forms. For this reason the church as we have generally known it is still the child of empire, just as much, and sometimes more, than the nation state that has taken over its agency and responsibility for the peace in the course of the modern age.

iv) It follows that the forms of ecclesia that have the best chance of seeing the fulness of the kingdom of God are those committed to a loving  and peaceful transition out of the imperial forms of ecclesia and nation state. This being the case we have a lot of Holy Spirit imagining and dreaming to do big time in the coming decade as we cooperate with the Father and the Son in the coming of the new heaven and the new earth.

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Responses

  1. Not sure I quite get all this so let’s see…

    Your statement that the marriage of ecclesia and empire produced the nation state and church structures as we know them is important. I get the argument that this marriage produced (de-)formed ‘church’. That is, after all, the realisation we have all been living through. It’s the other side I don’t follow so well. What do you mean by the nation state having also been produced by this marriage? I get that much western political philosophy is an intermingling of greek philosophy and christian realist philosophy later further developed by Enlightenment thinkers, crystallising the nation state idea. But are you saying that the slight dilution/sanitisation (can’t think of better word right now) of Empire by the capitulating ecclesia (which has resulted in the nation state) has had the effect of making it of a different order than empire?

    As I have seen it, whether pre-Christian empire, Christendom, post-Christian nation state or post-christian/post-nation-state replacement social realities (non-state networked globalised Empire being one suggested idea) it is the core ideas of self-interest, non-kenosis etc. which must always surely be coming down. Their structural / constructed outworkings are then necessarily subject to demise.

    Are you making a further specific point about the nation state? Sounds at first reading (though perhaps you’ve covered in something else I haven’t read or can’t remember!) like you are mainly refuting the claim of the nation state to being the vehicle for the kingdom of God to come but I can’t be sure you’re not also saying something further that I’m not getting.

    Thanks!

    • Thanks for this Stephen. I am emphatically not suggesting that the nation state is of a different order to empire and I agree entirely with your summary paragraph “As I have seen it, whether pre-Christian empire, Christendom, post-Christian nation state or post-christian/post-nation-state replacement social realities (non-state networked globalised Empire being one suggested idea) it is the core ideas of self-interest, non-kenosis etc. which must always surely be coming down. Their structural / constructed outworkings are then necessarily subject to demise.”
      However you rightly see that I am making a further specific point about the nation state [which may also apply to the subsequent replacement social realities]. In fact I think I am attempting to make two points that your comment is helpfully uncovering.
      i) I am pretty confident that the nation state is the product or progeny of the marriage of ecclesia and empire that we call Christendom. But it is not the same formation but rather a transformation in which both ecclesia and empire have yielded to what I am calling ‘multiplied sovereignty’: no longer just the domination of the many by the few, but the attempt to maintain and preserve the sovereignty of the few by granting it to as many as possible without losing it for the few. I think that the whole idea of human rights as the basis for justice emanates from this and is really the futile attempt to create the conditions for the imperial sovereignty of everyone. Hence my call for some big re-imagining that could configure a whole new kenotic basis for social justice.
      ii) While still maintaining that the nation state [and subsequent related attempts to reconfigure imperial sovereignty] is hopeless as a means to universal peace, and as a form of empire is coming down, I am asserting that it is our corporate responsibility, our baby, because we identify with the ecclesial partner in Christendom. Those of you there in Ireland familiar with Davy Kidd’s prophetic picture of Northern Ireland as the child of the rape of Ireland by England will get the point more easily. The North exists now and is our child. Similarly the nation state and the western world exists now and is our child. Ultimately neither can survive in the long term. But they are structures we produced that carry our fellow humans and we cannot just ignore them or destroy them carelessly. I am suggesting as you have no difficulty with recognising, that this is also true of the parallel ecclesial structures. I don’t believe that the structures themselves can be redeemed but we need to dream, configure and enact ways out of them in the kenotic spirit of the kingdom of God. It is this task that I see as the current calling and destiny of the people of God and I suspect that it lies at the heart of the good news of Jesus Christ.

  2. Got it. The first point in your reply is obviously the newest to me and possibly what caused my confusion. It’s absolutely core, not only to the reality in which we live but also to the options we perceive to be available to us. A big problem here is that there are words (like justice or democracy) which are perceived as inherently positive and true but of which meaning is not really known or is contested. Varying social contracts have used them down the ages to offer the many ‘progress’, ‘peace’ or ‘wealth’ in exchange for power for the few. So, the exchange of sovereignty (for the few) for personal liberty (for the many) is the foundation of the liberal democratic nation state as we know it in the West. (though academics have long been identifying its instability and pointing to its collapse into totalitarianism, anarchy or reincarnation into a form that garners more support) In any case, the big concepts of justice, peace or democracy etc. get defined for the many by the few.

    Foucault would suggest we should uncover the alternative knowledges which have been subjugated to show the way discourse has been contrived for powerful ends (not unlike what you’re doing); Derrida perhaps that we invert the claims of the powerful about the many (such as the fragility of decision and lack of knowledge, among more insidious ideas) so that we see that these things are also true of the powerful, if not more so. The contingency of all of these things is then exposed and the vacuum at the heart of words like justice and peace is bared, calling for what might be.

    So, once the ground is cleared – and it does feel increasingly cleared – prophetic imagination seems key as you say. Where is the justice-to-come, the peace-to-come? How might we imagine it?

    Good stuff Rog.

  3. Thanks Stephen, this is just the kind of responsive conversation that I’m hoping that this kind of blogging will produce more and more!

  4. Hi Roger
    As I was reading your last few words about Foucault to Stephen, the words ‘prophetic imagination’ came forcefully to mind so I was delighted to see mention of this approach as key towards the end of your comment.
    I so feel we must (a) imagine (by revelation) and then (b) hold it as a promise of God to speak into for the future. As you ask however, ‘how might we imagine it?’
    It is nothing less than a reshaping to line up with the kingdom that’s at stake…sounds a bit dramatic, but I feel this to be true.
    Jane

  5. Thanks Jane. Let’s share some of our imaginings. May be I will make a call for this as part of the next Daywatch material and see what we get back. By the way it was Stephen’s comment to me that you found so helpful, not mine to him. Blogging comments and responses is not always very clear!
    Blessings,
    Rog

  6. Was reading earlier the following from Derrida:

    “What interests me in what Foucault says about power is not the claim that everything is power, or will to power, in society, but his proposition or assumption that there is no such thing as ‘THE Power’, and that today power is in fact dispersed and not concentrated in the form of the state. There are rather only micro-powers. This is a more useful approach, that is, not to rely on a homogeneous and centralised concept of power. From that point of view, I think this is the condition of a new politics, a new approach to politics.”

    I don’t think he is saying that the state is not currently the main political structure in which power is invested, only that that doesn’t have to be so because of the way power is actually amassed through the coming together of micro-powers. I find the idea of micro-powers appealing as it reminds me of the old revision adage, Q: how do you eat an elephant? A: One bite at a time. So, if ‘the powers’ are actually comprised of lots of micro-powers, it’s manageable and we can do something about it. It is not beyond all of our grasp to act meaningfully for the sake of the kingdom of God (and a bit of an antidote to the idea that when we talk about stuff like this it is too big or abstract)

  7. Derrida will certainly have read and understood a lot more Foucault than me. However I think that Foucault’s point about power is an example of his subversive refusal of sovereignty rather than evidence of its demise. When he says that an analysis of power must not assume “the sovereignty of the state, the form of the law, or the over-all unity of domination,” [The History of Sexuality Vol 1 (Penguin Books 1990) p. 92] it is not so much that no over-all unity of domination exists except as micro powers but that he refuses it head on. I like the approach for its courage, and you are perhaps right that the concept of micro powers can make them seem more manageable. But my research suggests that the domination system still runs through them all and its worth considering that a small stone aimed at one entity might bring it down in the manner of Goliath whereas bringing down a single micro power leaves a lot of work still to be done!

  8. And certainly read still more than me! Wouldn’t be the first time one twisted the other to make them say what they wanted though… And I think I may be taking even more liberty with this than either of them! It’s true to say that Foucault didn’t foresee power ending (he was a pessimist to Derrida’s optimist, which is why I prefer the latter).

    I obviously share your sight of the domination system running through it all (indeed I see systems as sets of connected parts). But I do imagine that (micro-)powers can be brought down in families, communities and micro-structures without bringing an end to the domination system at large. I’m not necessarily saying this is enough, only that it means we have done it before (so we have practice) and we can do it more (which faith can be found for).

    All I’m gunning for here is a ‘both/and’ idea, rather than an ‘either/or’ – essentially analogous to the idea that we might conceive of individual ‘salvation’ as a localised but very real step towards (firstfruits of) the making new of all things.

    I’m intrigued by the Goliath reference (with obvious Daniel linkage) as my initial impoverished take on the theology is probably that the stone has already been thrown, of which we are a part, and it is in our kenotic (and power-refusing) collision with the domination giant everywhere we may be that causes it to break and fall. It is in this context that we seek (like in rugby) to bring down the thing we have tackled safely and minimise collateral damage (well, er, you know what i mean!). Would you be proposing something further/different needs to occur strategically? Do you know yet?

  9. Well! This IS interesting and excellent! I have nowhere near the capabilities to sound so eloquent nor use the english (deliberate non-use of capital ‘E’ for english!) language so richly, but will throw some pragmatic thoughts into the mix anyhow!

    This is my second writing of this, as my last lot got deleted – most annoying! Although, having now read the last 2 entries, I will be able to hone what I was saying!!

    Thanks for very well argued points so far – I have nothing to say about Derrida or Foucault as I have never read anything that either one has written!

    Now, I agree with Stephen that surely this must be a both/and scenario – and knowing you Rog, I’m sure you may well agree. When a patient comes to me with an overwhelming stress reaction or deep depression, although I (objectively) may be able to see a very different person from the one sat in front of me, with a very different future from the one which may seem obvious to them at the time, they (subjectively) may not be able to see what I see. Now, although I can help them to see what I can see for them, that in and of itself, although encouraging, is not the answer! For me to help them to believe there is a different future to the one they currently foresee is perhaps vital, but there must also be the process of empowerment to help them find that future!

    At times the situation for an individual can seem overwhelming (I’m hoping this picture/illustration I’m using will make a wider and more helpful point!). The past – full of abuse (may be as an abuser or as the abused) and hurt, relational breakdown on every side, financial problems – insurmountable debt, health issues and anxieties, no foreseeable future – a loss of hope for anything different.

    As we draw these things out onto paper, there is a sense of despair. How can anything ever change? But 2 questions can be empowering and life giving. With the pretext – ‘I know everything looks impossible right now’, but, if you could change one thing out of all of these right now (being quite specific) which one would it be? Ok, so what could you do to bring about some change in that area? Life-giving and empowering. One little change breathes confidence that other things can change too. One small shift has knock on consequences for all the other areas of life.

    I think we can absolutely throw some stones at Goliath’s head, and this is part of our intercessory mandate, but may be not everyone can see that right now? And that’s ok. But if the ecclesia and nation state are to lose their dominating power, we have to empower people to see the micro-changes they can make that bring down the macro! A small stone can start an avalanche!

    (If we are to see a complete cycle of healing for our patient above though, it must not end at self indulgent feeling good about ones self, but rather in the pouring out of that person to also help others find their future).

    I think we can apply this from micro to macro. I like what Martin Scott says about nations…….Colonisation/Empire (the domination over others and stealing of resources to further one’s own might) gives way to Nationalism (a larger form of human rights(!), where it becomes about using the things of the land to look after number one/ourselves) – Zimbabwe is an excellent example. But it doesn’t have to be the state we remain in. We can shift further to Stewardship; where rather than become self-serving/self-preserving/self-protecting states, we can become a life giving/resource sharing part of a family of nations! Can we see it? Yes, we can!

    Andy

    P.S. On the prophetic imagination front – we have to go further. Not just to prophesy what will be, but what will have been (breaking down the control that time has over us and our thinking!)

    P.P.S What do we do when people (individually and corporately) feel so disempowered that they’ve come to rather like the laziness and lack of complication that goes with it and are quite happy to remain as they are thank you very much?!

  10. Yes Stephen, yep Andy for sure it has to be both and. I wasn’t meaning to suggest otherwise, only to make the point that we are up against the micro as well as the macro. For my part I have tended to go for the macro on the basis that the Goliath move has already been made at the cross. May be my physical dyspraxia extends to the spiritual. I go for the big target and get a few micro ones in the process! Ed Silvoso says better to aim for a star and hit the moon than aim for the moon and hit a skunk.
    We have to recover the grace to inspire the disempowered ourselves I guess and then introduce them to the source. This is part of the next challenge we face together in 2010 I think.

  11. Oh I love this! So both / and! Stephen’s point that the stone has already been thrown (why did I want to spell that ‘throne’??!) must never leave us. It is SO over and has been for centuries!! However, the DNA or – is it a ‘Fractal’ (I remember Mike Love, the nearly-source (not to be blasphemous) of nearly-all wisdom, used that term…), the nature of the beast is neverthless intrinsic to all the pieces of the monolith as it falls. So whether we are dealing with tiny pieces (nano-empire?) or larger expressions (the only pieces Rog can aim for), we are engaging with its life and power … even in our own imaginations where they root into memory, corporate understanding etc. So radical casting down of vain imaginations, radical re-envisaging of possibilities, seeing what we have never seen before is our resurrection agenda? Keep challenging me 🙂

  12. Ello… This is good shit.
    So I’m liking this point about ‘imagining’ or ‘re-imagining’ and and how this becomes what will have been. The nature of power for the few through hegemonic consent of the many means that we struggle to see past the shape as we have it… Our imaginations are impoverished. I really like what pops said about our deconstruction journey being a prophetic exerience in preparation of the deconstruction of the institutions that are the super-structure of the modern nation state (education / healthcare / law / family / political systems)… Like with the deconstruction of impotent church structures, the breaking it bit was generally freeing, even empowering ( if a bit messy). But all the angst and pain came in the attempts to re-imagine corporate expressions of ecclesia because many people I had loved and followed through the helpful deconstruction went forward to make the same old shit – or at least hoped for different but the out working of their fresh attempt smelled of the same old shit. Our imaginations were limmitrd to

  13. Sorry… Had a spaz out. Tried to correct a spelling and pressed ‘publish’… Doing this from my phone!

    What I was saying was probably obvious… It is my belief that loads of people are trying madly to engAge in re-imagining but like fresh expressIons of ecclisa, their imaginings are impoverished. My friends Gareth and Laura and Gem and I were discussing this a couple of days ago in relation to young people… Within education, young people are beginning to behave out of a fresh imagination of learning and the system of education is fighting to regain controll over this ‘rebellion’… I think the golliath of the education institution is freaking out a bit! One of the jobs of the prohetic interpreters among us is to help people reflect and interpret their behaviours and imaginations so that we can begin to restore our impoverished corporate ability to imagine.

    One last example I promise… I found the whole social panic about ‘hoodies’ really interesting – I know that this is a last decade case study but bare with me. If as Foucault suggests, observation of the many (or rather perceived observation) is a means controll, then it follows that a form a freedom comes with annonimity… Being invisible in a world where your picture is taken scores of times everyday is a form of resistance. The response to ‘hoodies’ was to ban them from shopping centres. I think that there was loads of accidental and deliberate re-imaging being done that freaked out the goliaths of law, consumerism, education, politics.

    There is re-imagination happening and more to come… The challenge I sense is to identify, interpret, reflect and where possible empower such attempts at prophetic resistance. Golliath is definitely shaking in education and in some of the aspects of law that I know a bit about… The goliath of politics took a battering in the last 2 years too…

    Still… I’m at the end of my rambling… I’m feeling fairly hopeful so ta to you all for the dialogue to this point. Let’s look for the imaginations and empower that if we get it and forgive and welcome it when we don’t.

    Whatever…

    Chris

  14. Hi Chris. Seems like we’ve struck a rich seam here. Thanks for getting it up and running in the first place!
    Cheers,
    Pops.

  15. That is even better shit, Chris.

    I make no apologies for referring again to Derrida because (i) he’s in my head as I write a post-structuralist take on humanitarian intervention and (ii) he’s the revealer of deconstruction which I think is under-appreciated for what it really is.

    Derrida says: “Deconstruction is not a philosophy or a method, it is not a phase, a period or a moment. It is something which is constantly at work and was at work before what we call ‘deconstruction’ started… For me there is no ‘after’ deconstruction.”

    “Deconstruction is not opposed to reconstruction… How could you reconstruct something without deconstruction”. [Derrida in Kearney (Ed.) ‘Questioning Ethics: Contemporary Debates in Continental Philosophy (London: Routledge, 1998)]

    So I think Chris makes a seriously important point. Just like deconstruction is perennially at work in the world (whether the resistance of the powers by God, the creation or those who seek to join them up or something more wildly metaphysical as Derrida would see it) so there is constant springing forth of new sprouts by the seemingly dead tree at the scent of water. If a vacuum is exposed in the things that we seek, physics demands that it be filled so – i want to say – fools rush into the space. Because two particular forces are at work, the folly of the creation which produces new thinking, new ways of being in response to possibility (and this IS happening as Chris so rightly recognises for us), but also the reigning powers which, with all the Foucauldian examples coming to mind, rushes in also to control. Now, which is madness?

    Is madness/foolishness a way in?

  16. Interestingly enough in the Collins Book of Celtic Daily Prayer, yesterday’s saint [for Jan 4th] was Juniper, the associate of Francis of Assisi. I quote “Many stories persist about the absurd actions and sayings of Juniper which became thought provoking parables. He chose to play the fool ‘lest he become a real fool by allowing others to invest him with a holiness and wisdom that belongs only to God.’ Francis said ‘Juniper, so please it God that upon your branches thousands of souls may build their nests. I wish I had a forest of such junipers!'” This kind of madness and holiness appear to be linked.

  17. I just want to affirm the need for imagination as we move forward. The problem with many who are into Derrida and deconstruction is that you can’t stop there. As a friend of mine says, its like knowing the toaster is broken, taking it apart, but then having no notion of how to put it back together and make it work again. One is left with the pieces.

    So in God what we have is the hope, materialized in the gift of Jesus, of a reconstruction, of something that comes that is a really, really good thing, the thing all of our hearts hope for. And we each, if we want, have a role to play in deconstructing what must go and enabling the new creation. Some of us play big roles and perhaps have big targets, and others work in hidden, small places. But we are all equally important in the eyes of the God of creation and new creation. So, we need Godly imaginations as we can only participate in creation if we can imagine something.

    It all reminds me of something I tell my students. They come to me having had 2 years of engineering training, their imaginations have been tortured and tied up with a thousand pieces of rope and knots. And my first words to them are “there are no rules”. Oh you can hear the sigh of relief echo around the classroom. Others will look a wee bit scared. They don’t believe I mean it, or that it really isn’t true. But just get them going and all sorts of fabulous new imagining takes place. I believe that is the call on older folks like me (age 52) at this time in relation to the next generations. We have often bound them with rules and stifled imaginations. Our call is instead to say ‘there are no rules’, go forth and imagine new things. And yeah, you might have to do some deconstruction first. But that is all part of the learning experience.

    What a time we live in – So much is being deconstructed simply due to planetary pressures that are literally heating up. That leaves all sorts of openings for new imaginings. We need to be diligent to seek those new visions and learn what new creation might look like. C.

  18. Cool. To be clear, I think the essential point is that I can actively deconstruct nothing except my own constructed worldview. The coming down of all things that are empty happens regardless. My job is to not allow them to stand by investing them with meaning, obedience or the substance of the kingdom of God. This is the power that I/we have in the little things and in the realms of high hegemony. These vain imaginations we cast down. (I’m leaving aside questions of strategic prayer here, into which I think it would be a mistake to introduce the idea of deconstruction as something that we might imagine happens in ‘the spiritual’)

    Derrida seems thoroughly unhelpful to some folk and I think that’s a pity. He’s definitely a bit slippery and needs work. Avoid him if you must, though I recommend John D. Caputo’s very helpful book, “what would Jesus deconstruct” if even mildly interested 🙂

    On imagination, I think it is necessary to access and imagine ‘what will have been’ by embracing the lateral, tangental, mystical, subversive; to embrace that which get’s made fun of, parodied, scapegoated, other. Like the resurrected Jesus on the road to Emmaus, that which comes from the future is uninvited and almost unrecognisable. I’m more worried about what we easily recognise. I’m back to Chris’s last sentence, “let’s look for the imaginations and empower that if we get it and forgive and welcome it when we don’t.”

    Now, one thing I do get for sure: dinner!

  19. Hi Stephen,
    I’m intrigued by your aside about strategic prayer and would like to explore it. Is your point that deconstruction is only a tool for dealing with our own internally constructed world views? What about corporately constructed world views? My current understanding of spiritual strongholds like empire in micro or macro forms is that demonic powers inhabit them. So the cross is the place where the stone of the kingdom hit the stronghold or DNA or fractal of empire in all forms and began its final demise. In which case while positive deconstruction is vital for our own mindset change in order to see empire for what it is and where it is in our own worldview, there are other kinds of deconstruction which are negative in the sense that they are destructive of the kingdom of God (when in the devil’s hands) or destructive of empire (when in our hands). It seems to me that this latter kind, negative to the devil but positive for the kingdom of God is what Jesus came for, as John puts it “for this purpose Christ was revealed to destroy the works of the evil one” (1Jn3:8). In which case perhaps strategic prayer can be utilised against the devil’s kind of deconstruction and to further the deconstructive power of the cross. It is good that you brought this up, as our growing understanding of the kenotic nature of God’s power raises big questions about the nature and practice of spiritual warfare which is the language we have generally used for strategic prayer. It may well be that we could do with a new post on this and see where we get with it. What d’you reckon?

  20. Sounds good. I might like to begin by taking extreme issue with the word ‘warfare’ for a host (slight pun implied, can you see it?) of reasons that maybe we can discuss later.

    I pretty much agree with you in what you say, I think, but my main dilemma is about terminology. Not in a semantic way but because words like ‘deconstruction’ are shorthand and it’s important to be clear what ideas we are referring to when we use them.

    The word ‘deconstruction’ is so freely used that it barely means anything anymore. So, while deconstruct in the english language appears to imply the opposite of construction or building, this is not in fact the case as any visit to a good dictionary will confirm. It originates with Derrida, developed in part from Heidegger’s Destruktion which also doesn’t mean what it appears to. I have been using ‘Deconstruction’ in the Derridean sense which has an essential ethic to it of positively responding to the call of and affirming the other, the ‘peut être’, what will have been. It is about the space between what was/is and what will be but not the present, if that makes sense.

    Ok, arcane drivel finished.

    I think I’m trying to say two things and I clearly rushed my previous response:

    (1) I don’t think deconstruction is only for personal application and actually I run a mile from the gnosticism that would infer. When I say ‘actively deconstruct’, i mean the aspect of deconstruction which is practiced. Deconstruction per se happens regardless. The stuff is coming down. But I cannot deconstruct what is in someone else’s head. I can certainly actively align my own thinking towards the ‘other’, what will have been, so that it deconstructs what I have received of the power systems. And I can offer my experience and understanding to others and vice versa and we can wrestle with them together. Moreover, I can propagate alternative ways of being etc. Like the micro-powers, our collective wrestling brings the whole (personal and corporate strongholds) down. This is the weighing and grappling together and with the Holy Spirit that we are doing and which we need to do much more!

    (2) There is no negative deCONstruction. The nearest idea would be destruction, pure and simple. A true Derridean deCONstruction of ‘the devil’ would actually probably serve to reveal the ‘God’ in him. The apocalyptic possibly transcends deconstruction. The apocalyptic attempts what deconstruction does not, it is about presence/immanence/fulfilment whereas deconstruction is about absence/yearning. So I think it is a category mistake to use such language in the context of the apocalyptic confrontation and I don’t think that is a dualism. Although again i’m writing in a bit of shorthand!

    Needs more work than I have time to give it right now, but hope that makes some level of sense.

  21. OK, I propose to draw a line here as I reckon that this will take us beyond blogging! This is not to say that I think your response is unhelpful but that it is taking us to a level which pushes the boundaries of both our researches and takes the thread of discussion to some twenty-two to and fro’s! Let’s do it some more though, as and when the topics motivate us. It has certainly interested a lot of people and made yesterday the busiest day since this blog began with some 240 visits apart from mine!


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