In the Casino: Choosing Dreams or Death (Brueggemann 4–Audio)

In this penultimate video on Walter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination, I talk about Brueggemann’s view of death as the reality the “royal consciousness” does not want us to notice so that we can live comfortably in the imagination of the powerful. Consumerism and spectacle numb us to the reality of the precariousness and limited nature of our lives. The prophet has a hard time cutting through our dreams to remind us of this. Brueggemann’s view of Jesus is of one who was born an opponent of power and continued to oppose it at every turn throughout his life. In his life and death he shows solidarity with the poor, the low in status, the unpopular and the powerless.
More In the Casino: Choosing Dreams or Death (Brueggemann 4–Audio)

In the Casino: Choosing Dreams or Death (Brueggemann 4)

In this penultimate video on Walter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination, I talk about Brueggemann’s view of death as the reality the “royal consciousness” does not want us to notice so that we can live comfortably in the imagination of the powerful. Consumerism and spectacle numb us to the reality of the precariousness and limited nature of our lives. The prophet has a hard time cutting through our dreams to remind us of this. Brueggemann’s view of Jesus is of one who was born an opponent of power and continued to oppose it at every turn throughout his life. In his life and death he shows solidarity with the poor, the low in status, the unpopular and the powerless. … More In the Casino: Choosing Dreams or Death (Brueggemann 4)

Should Cyrus Be Worshiped? (Audio)

In chapters 3 and 4 of Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination, we are cautioned to not place faith in the false eternity of the royal imagination. Those in power will say all is well and will seek the backing of religious leaders to do so. In this episode, I examine the tendency of Americans to worship political parties and presidents from Brueggemann’s point of view, but I also offer a word of caution about Brueggemann’s approach. Is it possible to make God a public actor without what Brueggemann most fears–making God the right hand of earthly power rather than the other way around. I’ll have more to say about what’s in both chapters next week. … More Should Cyrus Be Worshiped? (Audio)

Should Cyrus Be Worshiped?

In chapters 3 and 4 of Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination, we are cautioned to not place faith in the false eternity of the royal imagination. Those in power will say all is well and will seek the backing of religious leaders to do so. In this episode, I examine the tendency of Americans to worship political parties and presidents from Brueggemann’s point of view, but I also offer a word of caution about Brueggemann’s approach. Is it possible to make God a public actor without what Brueggemann most fears–making God the right hand of earthly power rather than the other way around. I’ll have more to say about what’s in both chapters next week. … More Should Cyrus Be Worshiped?

Numbed and Satiated: Brueggemann on Egypt and America (Audio)

In this second part of a discussion of Walter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination, I discuss how left and right-wing churches alike are likely to be sucked into “royal consciousness,” and that is equivalent to the sin of idolatry. Brueggemann’s alternative, inspired by the story of Moses and the escape from the Egyptians, is to claim a foothold in the freedom on God, literally an other-worldly vantage point from which to gain perspective on the world and strength to oppose the Pharoahs of the world. Brueggemann thus begins his provocative critique of the contemporary Christian church within the framework of a studied reading of Old Testament scripture. He argues that then, and now, the satiation and subsequent numbness of the haves in society makes way for treating the lower ranks as things to be used, bought and sold. Community is broken by this disregard for others within it … More Numbed and Satiated: Brueggemann on Egypt and America (Audio)

Numbed and Satiated: Brueggemann on Egypt and America

In this second part of a discussion of Walter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination, I discuss how left and right-wing churches alike are likely to be sucked into “royal consciousness,” and that is equivalent to the sin of idolatry. Brueggemann’s alternative, inspired by the story of Moses and the escape from the Egyptians, is to claim a foothold in the freedom on God, literally an other-worldly vantage point from which to gain perspective on the world and strength to oppose the Pharoahs of the world. Brueggemann thus begins his provocative critique of the contemporary Christian church within the framework of a studied reading of Old Testament scripture. He argues that then, and now, the satiation and subsequent numbness of the haves in society makes way for treating the lower ranks as things to be used, bought and sold. Community is broken by this disregard for others within it … More Numbed and Satiated: Brueggemann on Egypt and America

Rethinking the Christian Contribution: Walter Brueggemann's Imagination (Audio)

I introduce some of theologian Walter Brueggemann’s themes in his classic “The Prophetic Imagination,” discussing some of the ways we can avail ourselves of a common narrative to try to gain some freedom against oppression, whether of the old-style Pharoah or the new version of less visible but very powerful economic and political forces that keep people working for an agenda they wouldn’t naturally choose. Through Brueggemann’s eyes, we are living in the imagination of “Royal consciousness” but we could be living in the imagination of God. What does this mean, not just for Christians, but generally for people who are trying to find some way to push back and gain some freedom? … More Rethinking the Christian Contribution: Walter Brueggemann's Imagination (Audio)

Introduction to Alasdair MacIntyre and After Virtue (Audio)

After Virtue was first published in 1981, but MacIntyre wrote a new preface in 2007 reasserting his full confidence in the arguments. After Virtue promises to take on emotivism and moral relativism generally and to help us navigate not toward moral absolutism but toward moral judgment through a renewal of Aristotelian virtue ethics. This video introduces key themes, including his disagreement with communitarianism, and a bit of the life of MacIntyre–who’s still going at 90– in preparation for a reading of the third edition of After Virtue. … More Introduction to Alasdair MacIntyre and After Virtue (Audio)

Introduction to Alasdair MacIntyre and After Virtue

After Virtue was first published in 1981, but MacIntyre wrote a new preface in 2007 reasserting his full confidence in the arguments. After Virtue promises to take on emotivism and moral relativism generally and to help us navigate not toward moral absolutism but toward moral judgment through a renewal of Aristotelian virtue ethics. This video introduces key themes, including his disagreement with communitarianism, and a bit of the life of MacIntyre–who’s still going at 90– in preparation for a reading of the third edition of After Virtue. … More Introduction to Alasdair MacIntyre and After Virtue