Another good book club Monday night. Just getting around to publishing the post though.
The ideas of Empire and Reality are beginning to stir up some good thought and give traction. And the notion of imagination comes up again and again. From the book...
Indeed, vanquished peoples are not really subjects of the empire until their imagination has been taken captive... until that imagination is broken, domesticated, and reshaped in the image of the empire, the people are still free.
Imagination. Taken captive. Set free.
From within the group, we let this work through us on issues of ethics, education, television, etc. When this Revolution of God in Jesus became a religion was when people submitted their imagination to the empire whilst keeping the "ethics of Jesus" (so to speak). Ethics with no guiding narrative is empty moralism. (Worse yet, ethics co-opted for the empire's gain is dangerous and deceitful.)
But that is our culture: "Just tell me what I need to do and I'll do it."
Our imaginations are held captive to other things (making money, paying bills, getting stuff, etc.), and we do not want to contemplate Reality.
I guess maybe I understand why some people get into fundamentalist groups: A strong leader above everyone else, telling people with certainty just how things are. Taking their imaginations captive with their own agendas.
But it's not up to the powerful to re-imagine this world; it's up to all of us to re-imagine this world. That is the great call of Jesus: Repent! For the kingdom of God is at hand! Turn from your dehydrated progress myths to see that my kingdom–not this empire–is Reality.
Ben had some great thoughts on this at book club that he has written on his blog...
What is real? Question everything. Question the big things, question the small things, question the day to day things and the things the day to day things are based on. What's on the list? To me, the list is quite small.
Is where I live real? The physical structure of my house is, but the borders of the property I claim to own is not. California is not. America is not. We create these borders, these lines in the sand and adhere to them, protect them, fight for them.