Posted by: rogermitchell | February 27, 2010

a new way of seeing things

For the last few days I have been writing up the first chapter of my thesis. Other chapters are already completed but this is a very important one. It develops the hermeneutic  or way of interpreting the biblical narrative and everything else. This has an eschatological component, a new way of conceiving time, at the heart of it. At the same time as working on this I have been thinking about the input on repentance and reconciliation that I have been asked to give at the Speak Soundcheck event later today. I love the way everything comes together and makes more complete sense once we really start to achieve mindset change. As I have been reconsidering how repentance works I have realised that it triggers a doorway, or perhaps more correctly is itself an opening, an escape route, out of everyday imperial time and its bondage to empire, the nation state and global capitalism and into eternity, the way, the kenotic kingdom of God. This is the sphere where corporate and structural injustice cry out for resolution and really do exist. Once this is accessed it is then possible through intercession to drain the effects of this away through the cross. This in turn impinges on the present by bringing the eternal way of God, Jesus’ way, the kenarchy of God, the kingdom of God into the now and begins to deconstruct imperial time and the ongoing forms of empire in the economics and politics of today. I’m aware that this is not yet in a fully clear form and I will work on it and edit it over the next few days. Please give me feedback to help me clarify what I mean and also please comment and respond.

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Responses

  1. Roger: I agree, repentance is key if we want to see the Kingdom of God in this time/place. It is the door. That is why I’ve been so mystified that so many who call themselves Christians have no sense of needing to repent in terms of our treatment of God’s creation. It baffles me completely. In fact, what I usually encounter is a thinly veiled arrogance. Is this due to bad theology? Or hard hearts? Even if we don’t accept the science of climate change we need to still deal with the fact that we have essentially poisoned all of the earth, the land, air and water. And that there is no place on earth to escape the effect on our bodies and on the bodies of other creatures. Mercury from burning coal is just one example.

    So if repentance is the door, the way that opens us to the Kingdom and the Kingdom to us, then why is it we so resist it? Why are we not on our knees crying out for mercy and the opening into the Kingdom? Like I said, it baffles me, continually.

    But good news on the environmental front, I hope. There was an oil spill here on one of the rivers that runs into the Po river. It was an act of sabotage according to the news. Of course, this is the time when birds are beginning to nest along the river, so they are especially vulnerable to this, not to mention other wildlife, fish, and people. I asked God if I could pray for the healing of the river. This is something I see happening in the future, that people will pray the earth into healing. So I prayed. Yesterday the headline was that the spill was cleaning up much faster than the authorities had hoped. So if the press is true (always a question in Italy), then I’d like to say that the prayer helped. Someday, if we allow God to break our hearts over the state of this planet, and repent, I trust we will see many many miracles of planetary healing. That is my vision anyway. c.

  2. That is very interesting, Cheryl (if I may comment on your reply…).Many times I would agree fully on the terrible way we, christians included have treated the earth ( as if we can exist without it…). This approach you share gives me a handle on it! Repentance and acts of reconciliation!! God can turn impossible situations around, if we just pray/ repent…thank you!

    • Thanks Gerrit. I think God has very exciting times for us coming up. We are going to learn what healing means in a whole new way. Last night I asked God if I could begin to pray about ocean acidification. This is really the greatest threat to the planet as the oceans sequester CO2. So the oceans are preventing us from experiencing the full effects of the warming and shifting climate but they are becoming more and more acid as they do it. It is a dangerous situation for marine creatures and land creatures. So, permission granted. I can begin praying about it.

      Here is a link to a good article by Bill McKibbon, a Christian environmentalist in the US. He is one of the global leaders and one of the earliest people to call for creation care.
      http://www.alternet.org/environment/145838/how_the_mountain_of_climate_change_evidence_is_being_used_to_undermine_the_cause?page=1

      I look forward to God expanding our vision in many new ways.
      c.

  3. About praying for the earth: I remember I read Agnes Sanford’s “Creation Waits” in the 80’ies, when I lived in Friesland, a mainly farming part of the Netherlands. It was a year of rain-rain-rain in May, when all the grass grew higher and higher and could not be harvested because the farmers could not use their tractors in the mud. And the cows could not be let out of the sheds. I remember really calling to God to have pity on the land, the cows and the farmers. The rain stopped as I watched. This happened several times until it really stopped raining. [and no doubt others were praying too].
    Maybe “Creation Waits” could be a resource now. Agnes Sanford went to live on the San Andreas Fault in California to pray for the earth there.

    • Thank you very much for this Henriet. I have not read the book, but without doubt
      Agnes Sanford was a radical Christian in advance of her time and I have found her work extremely helpful. I will try to get hold of Creation Waits right away!

  4. Thanks Rog,

    I love the concept of repentance being an escape route out of the empire system and am trying to grasp it fully. It seems to me that one reason it releases us from the hold of Empire is because repentance itself is something Empire cannot understand in the same way the darkness has not understood the Light. Repentance does not, cannot fit in an empire system. Empire struggles to admit wrong doing or turn away from its nature because it draws power from the hegemony of truth or being right. The process of repentance pushes self-power away, gives power away, this is the opposite direction to the power flow in Empire; always to the centre/top. Therefore when an individual, body chooses repentance it sidesteps the restriction of empire and enters into the freedom of the Kingdom. This must be a helpful insight for those who find themselves deep in empires structures, one of the keys to living freely in such contexts lies in the ongoing ability and choice to repent.

    I am also wondering however whether the term ‘escape route’ is the best terminology, the kingdom tends to invade like yeast and fill rather than exist in a parallel unfettered paradigm which can be escaped to? Does repentance open a furrow in the material of empire that is then filled with seed that grows to fill and terminally break open empire?

    I’m not sure how much of that makes sense! Just processing as I type.

    • I like this, especially the query over the appropriateness of ‘escape route.’ I certainly was not meaning a way out into a parallel universe but a means to living counterpolitically in the world.
      Cheers, Rog

  5. I really like this thought – the simplest are the best…I can ‘get’ this! And use it.

    And I found your comment about things come together when mindset change occurs very encouraging (as I am in the middle of mine!)


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