In Biblical theology, Empire, Eschatology, Pacifism, Revelation, Theology on October 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm
[This is the tenth in a series of sermons in interpreting America in the 21st century in light of the Book of Revelation. The series will continue, monthly for about two years.]
Shalom Mennonite Congregation—October 14, 2012—Revelation 13:1–14:5
In my sermon series on Revelation we are now to chapter 13. We will spend some time with one of the most famous of the characters in the book—the Beast that rises out of the sea. There is something important to remember as we think about this character—obviously highly symbolic. With whatever it is that is being symbolized, not everyone would see it as beastly. One person’s beast might be another person’s buddy.
Beast or Buddy?
I think of my tiny sweetheart of a dog, little Sophie. Talk about gentle, sweet, affectionate, and kind. But to our cats, Zorro, Silver, and Ani, Sophie is most certainly the Beast. Vicious, aggressive, loud, and obnoxious. Sweetheart? Bah!!
Likewise, in Revelation there would have been people in the book’s audience with a quite positive view of what John is calling the Beast. John’s agenda, in part, is to challenge his readers to recognize the Beast here as a beast.
And thus he challenges us. What is like the Beast of Revelation in our world? Does this vision speak to us at all? Read the rest of this entry »
In Anabaptism, Current Events, Empire, Jesus, Mennonites, Pacifism, Politics on October 1, 2012 at 9:28 am
Two presidential election cycles ago (2004), I published an essay reflecting on how committed Christian pacifists in the Anabaptist tradition might function as citizens of the United States.
I understand my main argument to be that we have to work within three stories: (1) the Anabaptist story of costly commitment to witness to Jesus’ way, (2) the democracy story that reflects a commitment in our country to participation in the social order by all people in a society, and (3) the empire story that all too often has characterized the United States and our way in the world.
I suggest that those committed to story #1 who live in a society that at least to some extent retains a commitment to story #2, should exert all the energy they can to critique and try to counter story #3.
Given present day debates among peace advocates in the United States around our current presidential election, I thought I might take the chance to post this article on this website.
Ted Grimsrud. “Anabaptist Faith and American Democracy.” Mennonite Quarterly Review 78.3 (July 2004), 341-62.
Here also is a post I put up on my Thinking Pacifism blog on September 30, 2012, that explains why I will vote (ambivalently) for Barack Obama this time.