Sunday, May 21, 2006

Politics of Jesus 1: Prophetic Jubilee

I admittedly am hesitant about wholeheartedly embracing Yoder's jubilee thesis, at least not as the overarching theme of Jesus' proclamation. I'd place it under a larger rubric of 'restoration and return from exile' theology, as a sign of the reign of God. Within that framework, a jubilee way of life is live-able, and I'd imagine that it would be demonstrably visible within the people of God.

As a relative newbie to his world, that's what I find attractive about Yoder's position, the thought that whether or not the jubilee had been observed, it played a role in a re-visioned ideal future. In my opinion, this 'prophetic use of the jubilee vision' (31) is of great value for contemporary christ-centered communities.

A glimpse into Mike's headspace: I'm a bit of a crazy dreamer, and tend to get really frustrated whenever i hear 'that's not going to work' or 'but is it practical?' IMO, most of the time, the proposal is do-able, although it may require intentional changes in our patterns of life; things can change, but we're to play an active role in changing them, usually beginning at home. That doesn't always go over too well.

Back to Yoder, here's what excites me. Whether or not it's been done, the economic ideal is tenable and practice-able, yet this practice, at least in the early stages, needs to be intentional, later becoming instinctual, and will be first visible within the people of God.

What might this look like in a community? What if we were to consider our possessions communal by definition? Here I've a memory and a musing.

I remember a friend showing up at a prayer meeting with extra fruit from his trees and random kitchen goods that he didn't need, offering them to anyone in the community who might be able to use them. That blew me away.

As for one possibility that comes to mind, I think about opening up our bookshelves and movie collections, making them into commmunal libraries; i think of my stuff in this fashion, but don't really make it widely known, so the goods tend to sit on my shelves, read by me and watched by roommates, but rarely leaving our living space. How do we communicate that we really do keep open house in a fashion which invites free sharing and modeling of it? Here's the hunch: this relates to knowing one another, asking questions, ofering suggestions, and taking reading recs beyond 'i read this book that you might like,' to 'i read this book that you might like; here's my copy, somewhat marked up. feel free to mark it up too!'

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, the "is it practical" or "it will never work" speech. Yes, I too am the ministry and life entrepreneur, and the people around me can often be the squelcher of dreams. I get really bummed out. All I need is a bit of funding, or one church or 20 more hours a week and it is doable...ah...but those things don't come easily and my lack of charisma does not help me obtain those things.

As for Yoder, I too am not sold on his ideas fully. I liked the opportunity to read him and I intend to do so again this summer, to make sure I understand it better.