The politics of identity often has Indigenous persons grappling with the dichotomy of US empire’s labels of the Native American Indian as contaminating evil or contaminated victim. For Indigenous Christians Jesus calls on us to spurn these limiting designations, to embrace the spirit of interdependent creation, which brings us back to a family of justice and life.
In our times when critical thought is suspect and even scientific facts have become articles of faith in need of defense, to play the double bind between the ethical and the political is the constant task Christians and others must continually engage in. This play contains serious risks, no doubt. What gives grace its generosity and generative capaciousness also makes it liable to be the locus of opportunism and oppression.
Rather than read it prescriptively to justify my own identification as a “righteous Christian,” I now read this passage for what it is: a poem that describes the resilience of a people who found true comfort and safety in God, despite attacks from those who would cause them harm.
Subaltern hermeneutics offers two insights in this text, a “de-anthropomorphic” reading and “de-transcendental divine” reading. These readings offer hope to the subaltern communities in their journey of faith today and challenge all readers to seek partnerships with the creation, for Jesus is the crop….
How can White U.S. Christians in this moment love Asian American and Pacific Islander bodies, without succumbing to the seductions of commodification and ornamentation? How can we resist the impulses to only understand Easter’s resurrection through the lens of generative suffering?
For all our show of humility, Christians have capitalized on the doctrine of election, distorting it to create a very real power differential between ourselves and the world beyond Christianity, at home and abroad. In an ironic twist, we have become the builders who are rejecting precious stones.
It is only in the memories of Jesus the fully human that we can find what I argue is the greatest power of the Passion for human lives held captive by the oppressive forces of Empire: the strength to face our crippling fear, stare the full oppressive might of the state in the face, and refuse to cede our full humanity – our joy, love, compassion, and hope – in service to the state’s liturgies of violence and fear.