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Christianity and Empire
Christianity and Empire

Christianity and Empire: Weekly Summary

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Christianity and Empire

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Week Forty-Two Summary and Practice

Sunday, October 17—Friday, October 22, 2021

How can I trust that things like nonviolence, the path of descent, simplicity of life, forgiveness and healing, the preference for the poor, and radical grace itself are as important as they are, unless Jesus also said so? —Richard Rohr

I know it’s easy to be cynical, to look at the disastrous effects of Christianity’s complicity with empire and want to give up on the whole endeavor, but I also want to proclaim that the flow of grace is a truly wonderful thing. —Richard Rohr

Many of us have little ability to carry our own shadow side, much less the shadow side of  our church, group, nation, or period of history. But shadowlands are good and necessary teachers. —Richard Rohr

We must return to the spiritual values that are the foundation of life. We must love and respect all living things, have compassion for the poor and the sick, respect and understanding for women and female life on this earth who bear the sacred gift of life. —Indigenous delegates to the Global Forum on Environment, 1990

In the dark, enslaved people slipped away to the quiet of thick brush arbors, hollows, or river banks to pray, to sing, to experience God in their misery and obscurity. There. . . God met them and became their consolation and their joy. —M. Shawn Copeland

In Christ, we see an image of a God who is not armed with lightning bolts but with basin and towel, who spewed not threats but good news for all, who rode not a warhorse but a donkey, weeping in compassion for people who do not know the way of peace. —Brian McLaren


A Hymn of Remorse

At the end of this week’s meditations, you may find it helpful to pray a “Hymn of Remorse,” with lyrics by CAC teacher Brian McLaren:

We covered over your colorful earth with gray cement.
We cut down trees and stripped the soil wherever we went.
We scarred the hills for gold and coal,
Blind with greed inside our soul,
Our goal: to have complete control.

Lord, have mercy. Can we be restored?
Lord, have mercy.

What of the lands of tribes and nations who lived here first?
Who took the best with broken treaties, and left the worst?
By whom were slaves bought, used, sold?
Who valued humans less than gold?
Who told us racist lies until our hearts went cold?

Lord, have mercy. Can we be restored?
Lord, have mercy.

The noise of traffic is drowning out the songbird’s song.
Your voice within us is telling us that we’ve gone wrong.
You call us from our selfishness,
To be blessed—and to bless
To turn to you, to begin anew.

Lord, have mercy. Can we be restored?
Lord, have mercy.

—Brian McLaren

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound. 

Brian McLaren, “Hymn of Remorse,” from Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together, ed. Steve Heinrichs (Herald Press: 2013), 209. Used with permission. Listen to a recording of this song.

Learn more about the Daily Meditations Editorial Team.

Image Credit: Barbara Holmes, Untitled 13 (detail), 2021, photograph, United States.
The creative team at CAC sent a single-use camera to Dr. B as part of an exploration into contemplative photography and she returned this wonderful photo.
Image Inspiration: Our state-sanctioned history celebrates explorers who chose separation, conquest, and domination. What if we chose differently and looked instead through our own “windshields” with humility, reverence, and awe for the diversity of God’s creation?
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