Compassionate Eschatology: The Future as Friend has just been released by Cascade Books. This collection of essays, edited by Ted Grimsrud and Michael Hardin, shows how beliefs about the “end times” may actually be the building blocks for peaceable living instead of fear and retributive violence.
Prominent writers such as Walter Wink, Barbara Rossing, Richard Bauckham, J. Denny Weaver, and Jürgen Moltmann explore biblical, theological, and cultural themes, offering critiques of “end times” beliefs that underwrite violence and presenting alternative, peace-0riented perspectives.
As the book has not yet officially been published, it is not yet available through online retailers such as Amazon (but it will be soon). A home page has been established by the publisher and the book may be purchased at this site.
The first essay in the book, “Biblical Apocalyptic: What is Being Revealed?” by co-editor Grimsrud, sets the tone for what follows. Grimsrud suggests that standard understandings of biblical apocalyptic by both the future-prophetic doomsdayers and many contemporary academic interpreters actually agree in linking apocalyptic visions with violence and end-times catastrophes. However, a careful look at the way the Bible itself uses the motif of “apocalyptic” (or, “revelation”) shows that biblical apocalyptic is actually thoroughly peace-oriented.
If we start with the book of Revelation, we see that what is “revealed” is the way of Jesus—”victory” through persevering love and the sustenance of counter-cultural peace-oriented communities of resistance to the way of the Beast (that is, the way of Empire). In light of the message of Revelation, we may then read the rest of the Bible as reinforcing this notion of “apocalypse” as a call to the “Lamb’s War” to be fought with the “weapons” of compassion, forgiveness, and mutuality.