12 Step Program for Christians Addicted to Empire (Out of Babylon 6 audio)

ve all 12 steps, but it does give us at least two steps, and a “serenity prayer” for our particular addiction. In this penultimate episode dealing with Walter Brueggemann’s Out of Babylon I discuss the themes that emerge in the last chapter dealing with accommodation and resistance to empire. Brueggemann is unflinching in his warning to US Christians that they have verged from accommodation, which is sometimes necessary, to capitulation, which is inexcusable and amounts to idolatry and rejection of “local identity” or strong community values. … More 12 Step Program for Christians Addicted to Empire (Out of Babylon 6 audio)

Christian Nationalism as Stockholm syndrome (Brueggemann 5)

Christian nationalism–the reasons it is wrong but also the possible reasons why it exists. Looking at the Old Testament as a source of iconic, archetypal and enduring truths is discussed as an alternative to the narrative of the US as the new Israel. If people remain captive to Empire, why? Is it partly because they truly have been displaced and are tempted by cooptation? Is it due to their fear of the wilderness and the freedom it represents? … More Christian Nationalism as Stockholm syndrome (Brueggemann 5)

Divine Imagination & Futuring (Brueggemann: Out of Babylon 4)

Chapter 4 of Walter Brueggemann’s Out of Babylon discusses the power of poetic imagination to create the conditions for change. Multiple views of God’s position relative to humans, and the human response to God are entertained in poetic language. Brueggemann emphasizes the latter as a strength that shows a way beyond the sectarian infighting that characterizes most religious sects and keeps those within them from being able to act positively to create a better future. The idea of a mutable God is discussed–a God who is able to change his mood and mind in response to changes in relationship to his human fold. In dealing with this kind of God, having a fertile imagination about the future is particularly important, as it fosters hope and cancels despair that tends to occur as people bow down to imperial economics and politics. … More Divine Imagination & Futuring (Brueggemann: Out of Babylon 4)

Against the Ideology of Certainty Besetting US Christians (Out of Babylon 3)

God’s will with the will of the nation and resolve morality into the aims of national power, or to choose the “local tradition” of adherence to God’s priorities even when they clash with the priorities and values of empire. The latter involves first recognizing that there is a necessary and unresolvable conflict between any national will and Judeo-Christian morality. Brueggemann asks, will the Christian church be a national church or will it be governed only by God? … More Against the Ideology of Certainty Besetting US Christians (Out of Babylon 3)

The Price of Hypocrisy (Out of Babylon: Brueggemann 2) ft. Nietzsche

the second chapter of Walter Brueggemann’s book Out of Babylon, the “local tradition” of the United States, as the “shining city on a hill,” is explored in the context of prophetic calls for examination and repentance both in the Old Testament and in Walter Brueggemann’s theology. People always design narratives to explain their situation and role in the world, and Brueggemann teaches that this is not only inevitable but good–or it can be, if the story we tell is not simply delusion but pushes us to act in according to the values we say we embrace. In this case, he’s talking about Biblical Christian values and he is asking American Christians what (or who) they really stand for. I think this is a very worthy question, so this session is devoted to it. … More The Price of Hypocrisy (Out of Babylon: Brueggemann 2) ft. Nietzsche

Empire and God: Do They Mix? (Out of Babylon, Brueggemann 1)

discussing Brueggemann’s view that US Christians who hew to the “City on the Hill” ideology are committing idolatry and are aligning with Empire and not with God, the two being ultimately opposed. This is not to establish a mere negative argument (as in, this is what a Christian is not), but rather to begin to point to a positive pronouncement (this is what a Christian or other person faithful to God is) . … More Empire and God: Do They Mix? (Out of Babylon, Brueggemann 1)

I Want to Be Liam Neeson (But I Should Resist). (Keynes 5)

In this final video on the series examining the lessons of the Versailles Treaty I venture back into US politics and ask the question of personal responsibility. Should people respond in vengeance against actual wrongs? If they don’t want to, how do they resist this very (immediately) rational and biological urge? There is no doubt in my mind that we would all be better off if we did not act on the temptation for retribution, but easier said than done. The responsibility of Christians is particularly acute since their religion dictates no revenge. I challenge Christians to take their religion seriously and to imagine the strength it would take to walk away from disputes domestic and foreign. … More I Want to Be Liam Neeson (But I Should Resist). (Keynes 5)

The Handmaid’s Tale and WWI: Is the Carthaginian Solution Inevitable? (Keynes/Versailles Treaty)

This is an introduction/head’s up to my next video series, which will start next week and will start with some thoughts on John Maynard Keynes’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace. The central questions: why is it so hard to forgive–what would be required? How can we keep from turning into the monsters we are fighting against (very important for getting of the culture war hamster wheel)? I approach the topic through some reflections on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, especially its TV adaptation. When June becomes a ferocious monster, we both admire her but also recognize that her transformation is not progress but regress. Such was the case with the allies’ imposition on Germany in the wake of WWI. … More The Handmaid’s Tale and WWI: Is the Carthaginian Solution Inevitable? (Keynes/Versailles Treaty)

Religion and Politics–Whoops, We Talked About Both (Jeremy Cowan Interview Part 3)

You know what they say… This is the third and final part of the interview I did with Dr Jeremy Cowan, an expert in organic and permaculture agriculture, we conclude our reflections on Distributism by breaking both taboos. In this one we deal with the role of religion and politics in changing the way we grow food, but we do more than that. We delve into questions such as why religion is often unhelpful and how it could be otherwise, why political divisions get in the way and what might solve that problem … More Religion and Politics–Whoops, We Talked About Both (Jeremy Cowan Interview Part 3)

Culture War Futility, Why Self Expression Beats Action (Distributism 5-Audio)

In this concluding segment from the 2021 Summer Seminar on Distributism, I discuss why it is so hard to imagine actually changing the economy in any meaningful way. Our capacity for collective action has been hollowed out and replaced by an expressive identity politics that cannot satisfy but works wonders to keep us all working and buying. It very effectively stops any real change from happening. The seemingly radical idea that contemporary protests are largely ineffectual and should be replaced by direct action is introduced. … More Culture War Futility, Why Self Expression Beats Action (Distributism 5-Audio)