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Category: The Politics of Scripture

The Politics of Scripture series follows the Revised Common Lectionary to connect the biblical text to political issues in contemporary thought and practice. You can search past archives by scriptural book here.

The Politics of Scripture blog welcomes contributions from scholars, religious leaders, and activists. If you would like to submit an essay or join our contributor list, please email Series Editor, Chelsea Mak at chelsea.deanna.mak[at]emory.edu.

Political Hierarchies and God’s Order

For those who experience a divine compulsion to publicly resist the perversions of the powerful, despite their own hesitations and fears, Jeremiah may be an encouraging witness to the potential for an experience of divine presence alongside the pain.

A Call to Radical Witnessing to the Faith Needed for Our Times

The disruptive presence of Nehemiah in spaces that are intended to erase his identity allows for a broader understanding of God’s word. While religious laws may sometimes be exclusionary in their nature, a higher law, one that is grounded in one’s fidelity to God through the way one lives one’s life, allows for radical inclusivity of all before God.

Hope, and Hard Boards

Psalm 36 reminds us that hope is grounded in God’s very nature, that it rests in the hesed of the LORD. Today, despite the fact that the work we undertake remains unfinished, we can rest in God’s hesed.

The Politics of Touch

Both in Jesus’ baptism and in the later giving of the Spirit through the laying on of hands in the early Church, we see significance accorded to touch. This importance given to touch—to the tangible—summons us into the realm of human and bodily connection and engagement with others.

Remembering the Good News

Following Jesus the Dao in flesh is to follow the way of liberative freedom, a freedom to embrace the openness of Jesus’s multifaceted witness instead of reductively boxing him in by way of the Logic of the One.

The Prophet, Pigmentation, and Pottersville

When we think about Christmas, do we associate it with charity or justice? Christmas certainly appears to be associated with charity in our larger culture. In contrast, Isaiah 9:2–7 reminds us that the lectionary readings for the season consistently focus on justice.

A Relational Ethic for a Fragmented World

The story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus is nothing but the story of people fleeing the violence of an authoritarian empire, though the glitter and celebration of Christmas may have muffled the brutal reality of migrants and refuges seeking sanctuary from death. It is in the midst of such imagined Christmas that the veracity of homeless migrants dying in choppy waters and people stuck in border detention camps waiting for a new future gives us a reality check. The violent empires may have faded but their legacies linger on.

Mary the Prophet

Despite the limited historicity of this text, I like to think that it is the Magnificat, not the fiat, which shows why Mary was the mother of Jesus. It takes a prophet to raise one.

Destabilizing Divine Presence, Fracturing Joy

What if Zephaniah’s addressees had a right to mourn, lament, and rage against the wrath of Yhwh? Afterall, Yhwh’s favor is fickle in Zephaniah, entirely contingent on a particular obedience and only coming after the divine wrath is spent.

The Messenger is the Message

YHWH invites the people of Judah and Jerusalem to revolt against self-centered government, changing their allegiance from the Persian emperor to YHWH, who is the Lord, the messenger, and the message.

The Politics of Shame: Reflecting on Psalm 25:1-10

In that trust in the divine, one can unashamedly open up their positions and postures because God receives people as they are and as they wish to come. God doesn’t blame and shame any names; rather God calms those who come unto him with the heavy labor of shame.

Christ, the (Subversive) King

If Christ is King, he takes on that role in order to subvert dominant understandings of power and its exercise. Christ turns power and kingship upside down and uses them for new and much more creative and life-giving purposes.