4 January 2006

I hope for the year of Jubilee

Richard Lang in The Prophets Versus Empire
Some will say that the Jubilee is irrelevant today, that it was an economic strategy for a small, relational agrarian culture, nothing like today's complex global capitalist culture. Indeed, what does the Jubilee have to do with us?

The notion of Jubilee emerged from a commitment to live an anti-imperial life. The Jubilee was an economy set free from imperial ambition. Today, we live inside an Empire. We have chosen the path of Pharaoh: a path of domination rather than justice. Under the guise of priestly (Christian) rhetoric, the current administration has disrespected the Constitution, and made a mockery of our political process that balances power between branches of government. It has abandoned the rule of international law, disregarded human and civil rights, and unleashed economic chaos on the poor and on the land. We are dealing with outlaws who are drunk on the blood of imperial power. Whether it be Afghanistan or Iraq, Venezuela or Colombia, the Philippines or Haiti, wherever brown-skinned people live, the dogs of war are unleashed. Whenever people claim their own livestock, land, or even their bodies, this administration steps in to suppress any that dare to rise as an alternative to Empire.

Meanwhile, the causes of Christ — love of enemy, forgiveness of sin, practice of generosity, openness to the stranger, resistance to Empire, liberation of the poor — are today being subverted by a hardening of heart. To put it bluntly, Christ is once again being crucified through the merger of privileged imperial wealth and the religious priests who benefit from Empire's plunder. We are, in other words, living in similar times to those betrayed by Joseph. Pharaoh wants our livestock, land, and labor.

As a Christian, all property is viewed as belonging to God, and that we are stewards who give all for Christ, including land and possessions, as well as our hearts.

The pastor at my church frequently admonishes listeners of his lessons to review their calendar and checkbook, as a barometer on whether or not they are living for Christ or other earthly masters. So sad that many "Christians" wish to cherry pick scripture, and pluck out things that arn't even in their environmental sphere to get indignant over, like homosexuality, while totally disregarding as irrelevant items that should weigh greater.