Engage: Subversion #5

We gather this Friday, the 31st, from Noon to 1:00 p.m. (ET) for our second Zoom meeting. Here is the link to that meeting…


Meeting ID: 931 408 5719

We head for Friday with a look at Brueggemann’s conclusion (section IX) to chapter two, where he links biblical history to our day through four extrapolations.

First, the narratives of Sinai and Solomon are competing ones, on a collision course with each of other.

Second, the narratives cannot be synthecized. They demand a choice, with a corresponding lifestyle. It is a practice, not just a profession

Third, practicing the neighborly narrative is painful, and sacrificial, and in a time when comfort and ease are in vogue, choosing to be subversives comes with personal, collective, and institutional cost.

Fourth, subversion was the way of Jesus, and now it is the Christian way. The qualities of steadfast love, justice, and righteousness are characteristics of the reign of God (established in the Covenant), signs of the abundant life Jesus said he came to give us (John 10:10).

Subversion is essential act on the journey to the common good. It is resistance to imperialism through commitment to covenant (“the practice of the better” Richard Rohr). It is praying to be made instruments of God’s peace (e.g. Sts. Francis and Clare), and then living so that hatred is supplantd by love, injury is healed through pardon, doubt is transformed into faith, despair is replaced by hope, darkness gives way to light, and sadness is turned into joy.

Subversion is a dying to the old order, but it is a dying in which we are born to eternal life.

P.S. I had no idea that while reading chapter two, I would find a view similar to Brueggemann’s in these words of Ivan Illich, that subversion is telling,

“a new powerful tale, one so persuasive that it sweeps away the old myths and becomes the preferred story, one so inclusive that it gathers all the bits of our past and our present into a coherent whole, one that even shines some light into our future so that we can take the next step. . . . If you want to change a society, then you have to tell an alternative story.”   (“This Nonviolent Life” a daily e-letter from Pace e Bene, 1/28/23)

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
This entry was posted in Engage. Bookmark the permalink.