Sunday, November 21, 2004
It must be possible, I thought, to reconcile the Christ of Revelation and of the Gospels; the warrior image of Christ with the meek and compassionate One of the sermon on the mount. To reconcile the violent images of Revelation with the prohibition of violence in the gospels. There must be in sum one Christ, not two; if we were not to suppose that our God is as divided in mind as were His stupefied votaries.
We must claim the book [Revelations] from the violent culture. Nothing must be allowed to subvert the text; no optimism springing from political chauvinism or national frenzies. No pessimism, issuing from the fall of this or that cherished ideology. And above all, no false gods; enticing, telling of our moral excellence, probity, fame, prosperity, and the violence that beckons us to secular nirvana. No gods of America ventriloquizing, aping, displacing true God.
We must flee them; they are putrid, they smell of death. We must plant ourselves in a wilderness, a desert, a prison -- where the soul might grow literate, might 'tolle et lege: In such unlikely places a vision might be granted us, as was granted to the prisoner John in the slave camp on Patmos. A modest and serviceable vision to be sure; something so modest as a sane reading of a simple text.
…And inevitably, tyranny seeks out and befriends religion, an ally, a blessing on the enterprise, a bargaining partner, a power broker who can be winked at and wink back.
But not this community. Christians, John reminds us, are to name the old names anew; Washington or Moscow or whatever. Name them for what they are, and suffer the consequence, in some latter day Patmos or gulag.
Revelation is neither magical nor evasive. It is penetration, meaning, light in dark times.
This is, of course, Daniel Berrigan, who, while I do not share his faith, could work with one who propounded it this way rather easily… War in Heaven, Peace on Earth
Are these voices still out there? I’m not in this community, and I'm not sure this will help me reach out to the lunatic fundies, but I hope I smell new coalitions brewing. And you'll notice, in the spirit of reaching out, I'm posting it on a Sunday morning... peace and justice, y'all.