Resisting Empire: Online Materials

Resisting Empire: The Book of Revelation as Resistance

“No biblical book carries as much passionate power and imagery aimed at inspiring Jesus-followers to “come out” of the place of imperial violence and domination and to dwell instead in the light- and love-filled realm of God [than the book of Revelation].” – Wes Howard-Brook

Donations

The course is free for anyone to take this first time around. However, donations are welcome. You can use any of the following services:

No account needed. You can use credit cards, paypal, etc with buy me a coffee.

Paypal: cwess@icloud.com

Venmo: @fireweedcoffeeco

Your Instructor: Wess Daniels

Wess Daniels (he/him) is the Director of Quaker Studies and Friends Center at Guilford College, has served as pastor in Quaker meetings, and is active in the work of the Poor People’s Campaign.

Wess holds a Ph.D. in Intercultural studies and a Masters in Theology, bringing more than twenty years of study and on-the-ground teaching and practical experience to understanding the Bible and faith, in the midst of empire.

Wess’ mission is to help make liberation theology and practice accessible to more people so that we can build social movements to end poverty, injustice, and spiritual violence in our communities by means of our religious and spiritual traditions.

Questions? Email:

Resisting Empire: An Online Study of Poverty, Empire and the Book of Revelation in the Time of Covid19

This online course takes people into the book of Revelation from the bible through the lens of liberation theology and “Resisting Empire: The Book of Revelation as Resistance,” a book by C. Wess Daniels.

You can Register for the Course Here (Registration is now closed)

In this course you will learn:

  • How our own biases and experiences interact with our reading of the biblical texts
  • Various strategies for reading the bible from a liberatory framework
  • What the “religion of empire” is and how it functions in the world and what it has to do with understanding the Book of Revelation
  • Social context and background to the book of Revelation
  • How to break free from “end times” thinking and move towards liberation now
  • How to understand & read the bible in an anti-poverty lens
  • Ways of “resisting the empire” that the first witnesses of Revelation would have practiced & what it means to resist the “religion of empire” in our own day

Session 1: Reading the Bible With Empathy and for Liberation

Date and Time: Wednesday, April 29 – (All times will be – 1pm PST/4pm EST/9pm UK)

Zoom Recording for Session One Can Be Found Here (password: 5E@=9m$c)

What we’ll cover: In this first session, we will do the customary introductions, outline the why and what of the course, and dig into the topic of the lenses we bring to reading the bible and how to read the bible with empathy.

Readings to go deeper:

Downloads:

Questions to consider: What experiences and lenses do I bring to the understanding of religion, Christianity, and use when I read the Bible? How does that impact my understanding of these things? What lenses do others bring? What lenses does the Bible “read me” with?

Special Guests:

Rev. Erica Williams is on staff with the Repairer’s of the Breach and Poor People’s Campaign. She is a movement leader. She lives here in Raleigh, NC and is a good friend and comrade. She will be leading us in an opening song.

Peterson Toscano, a “Quirky Queer Quaker performance artist and scholar,” has a short film called “Transfiguration’s” that is a beautiful example of how to use “reenactment” to understand the biblical text in new liberatory ways.

Extra Resources:


Session 2: The Two Religions: The Religion of Empire, The Religion of Creation

Date and Time: Wednesday, May 6 – (All times will be – 1pm PST/4pm EST/9pm UK)

Recording for Zoom Session Two Can Be Found Here (password: 5U=r8@52)

What we’ll cover: In this session, will explore the concepts of the religion of empire and the religion of creation and how these two religions function both within the world of Scripture and within our own world.

Readings to go deeper

Downloads

Questions to consider: How does the framing of “religion of empire,” “religion of creation” help to make sense of the bible? Where do you see these two religions at play in the world today? What ways might drawing on the concept of religion of creation help inspire new thinking in your faith and practice?

Special Guests: Seth Martin and the Menders Motion of Love. Seth is a folk musician from the Pacific Northwest who now lives in South Korea. His music is steeped in the tradition of movement leaders and folk-singers like Pete Seeger, Melvina Reynolds, and Bill Jolliff. This song “Motion of Love” is by Bill Jolliff and is inspired by the life of Quaker minister and abolitionist John Woolman.

Session 3: Liturgies of Empire, Liturgies of Resistance

Date and Time: Wednesday, May 13 – (All times will be – 1pm PST/4pm EST/9pm UK)

Zoom Recording for Session Three can be found here.

To share the recording with the integrated audio transcript:
(Access Password: 5l#I6HgL)

What we’ll cover: Today we will unpack how the empire uses a form of liturgy to create its own religion.

Readings to go deeper after the session:

Other resources Shared from Guest Dr. Charon Hribar:

Questions to consider: How does the framing of “religion of empire,” “religion of creation” help to make sense of the bible? Where do you see these two religions at play in the world today? What ways might drawing on the concept of religion of creation help inspire new thinking in your faith and practice?

Is our practice of worship one that draws people into this work of presence and attention to what is right in front of us, or does it ultimately abstract us from the needs of our community, dull our hearts and imaginations, take us away from suffering?

Is our liturgy of worship one where human lives are disposable, or does it take the good and the inferior materials of our lives, and not only accept them but allow the life and light of Jesus to patiently and lovingly bring about new creation?

Does our liturgy of worship tend to exclude and scapegoat, or does it work to build up the beloved community, embracing the Kingdom of God among us?

Special Guest: Charon Hribar is the Director of Cultural Strategies at the Kairos Center. She also serves as the co-coordinator of Theomusicology and Movement Arts for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Over the past 15 years, Charon has been dedicated to the work of political education, leadership development, and integrating the use of arts and culture for movement building with community and religious leaders across the country. Believing that music is a powerful tool for social change, Charon is a vocalist who uses and teaches the art of protest music to embody the connections of culture, art, and history and promote collective action.

Session 4: The Scapegoat Mechanism

Date and Time: Wednesday, May 20 – (All times will be – 1pm PST/4pm EST/9pm UK)What we’ll cover

What we’ll cover: Today we will discuss what the lamb that was slain says about the “scapegoat mechanism.”

Readings to go deeper:

Music: The Blood of the Lamb

Questions to consider: What does scapegoating have to do with Empire today? How does it function within empire? How does it function within our own communities?

Session 5: The Beastly Economics of Empire

Date and Time: Wednesday, May 27 – (All times will be – 1pm PST/4pm EST/9pm UK)What we’ll cover

Download and Watch this week’s video here

What we’ll cover – Today we will be looking at the Mark of the Beast in Chapter 13, and the “Cargo List” in 18. The goal is to demonstrate that Revelation understands poverty as a systemic issue.

Readings to prepare

Questions to consider: Which of the four ways of understanding poverty have you been exposed to or believed in the most? How does the realization that Revelation is concerned with a systemic view of poverty and economics change your understanding of Revelation?

Special Guest: Aaron Scott of Seattle, WA and is a co-found of Chaplains on the Harbor with Rev. Sarah Monroe. Aaron is active in the Poor People’s Campaign and a good friend of mine from when we lived in Camas. You can read about Chaplains on the Harbor and other things that Aaron has written here.

Session 6: The Coming of the Multitude

Date and Time: Wednesday, June 3 – (All times will be – 1pm PST/4pm EST/9pm UK)

Video recording of Zoom from the final session can be found here.

Password: 0Y+2.V@0

What we’ll cover: We will reflect on the meaning behind the Multitude as an alternative social community to the religion of empire.

Readings to go deeper:

Questions to consider: What does the multitude look like in our time?

Extra Resources

Cone, James H. The Cross and the Lynching Tree. Reprint edition. ORBIS, 2011.

Fiorenza, Elisabeth Schussler. Revelation: Vision of a Just World. Edited by Gerhard Krodel. Rev Sub edition. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998.

Fiorenza, Elisabeth Schüssler. The Book of Revelation: Justice and Judgment. 2nd edition. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998.

Howard-Brook, Wes. “Come Out My People!”: God’s Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond. Maryknoll, N.Y: Orbis Books, 2010. ———. Empire Baptized: How the Church Embraced What Jesus Rejected. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2016.

Howard-Brook, Wes, and Anthony Gwyther. Unveiling Empire: Reading Revelation Then and Now. Edition Unstated edition. Maryknoll, N.Y: Orbis Books, 2005.

Keesmaat, Sylvia and Walsh, Brian. Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice.

Friends Journal. “Revelation and Revolution – Daniel Seeger,” June 1, 2015. https://www.friendsjournal.org/revelation-and-revolution-the-apocalypse-of-john-in-the-quaker-and-african-american-spiritual-traditions/.

Torre, Miguel A. De La. Reading the Bible From the Margins. 1st edition. Maryknoll, N.Y: Orbis Books, 2002. “Worship in a Violent World – James

Alison.” Accessed May 13, 2020. http://jamesalison.co.uk/worship-in-a-violent-world/.

%d bloggers like this: