worship tricks

worship tricks [first series]

no 82 : subversive poetry - colossians

a while back i blogged about brian walsh and sylvia keesmaat's targums. you know what it's like... you come across these things and have a quick read and blog about them and move on... (in fact this is a real danger i think in the busyness of contemporary life that we never linger with things, people, books, thoughts, long enough - there's always something else to read, someone to meet - i am always saying to myself i must read that book again and do i?....). well for a change i have revisited these pieces because when i first looked at them i thought they were some of the most stunning things i had read in quite some time. so if you didn't catch them first time download targums.pdf and linger with them.

this is going to be a bit of a long post for me and i hope brian and sylvia don't mind extensive quoting but here are some extracts to give you a good flavour... targum 2 is a stunning piece and i am making it worship trick 82

from targum 1: Rehearing Colossians 1.1–14 in the Context of Disquieted Globalism
But here is the rub. Everything in this monolithic culture of McWorld globalization is allied against you and will try to keep your imaginations captive, stripping you of the courage to dream of alternative ways to live. So may you be strengthened with all strength and empowered with nothing less than the weighty power of God in this disempowered culture of unbearable lightness. May your vision, your stubborn refusal to allow your imaginations to be taken captive, have an endurance, an ability to hang in there for the long haul and a patience that doesn’t need to aggressively and triumphalistically realize the kingdom of God now because it has the faith and trust to work and wait for a miracle, for the coming of God’s shalom to our terribly broken world.

targum 2 : subversive peotry in a postmodern world col 1:15-20 :
In an image-saturated world
a world of ubiquitous corporate logos
permeating your consciousness
a world of dehydrated and captive imaginations
in which we are too numbed, satiated and co-opted
to be able to dream of life otherwise
a world in which the empire of global economic affluence
has achieved the monopoly of our imaginations
in this world
Christ is the image of the invisible God
in this world
driven by images with a vengeance
Christ is the image par excellence
the image above all other images
the image that is not a facade
the image that is not trying to sell you anything
the image that refuses to co-opt you
Christ is the image of the invisible God
the image of God
a flesh and blood
here and now
in time and history
with joys and sorrows
image of who God is
the image of God
a flesh and blood
here and now
in time and history
with joys and sorrows
image of who we are called to be
image-bearers of this God
He is the source of a liberated imagination
a sub-version of the empire
because it all starts with him
and it all ends with him
all things
whatever you can imagine
visible and invisible
mountains and atoms
outer space, urban space and cyberspace
whether it be the Pentagon, Disneyland,
Microsoft or AT&T
whether it be the institutionalized power structures
of the state, the academy or the market all
things have been created in him and through him
he is their source, their purpose, their goal
even in their rebellion
even in their idolatry
he is the soveriegn one
their power and authority is derived at best
parasitic at worse
In the face of the empire
in the face of presumptuous claims to sovereignty
in the face of the imperial and idolatrous forces in our lives
Christ is before all things
he is sovereign in life
not the pimped dreams of the global market
not the idolatrous forces of nationalism
not the insatiable desires of a consumerist culture
In the face of a disconnected world
where home is a domain in cyberspace
where neighbourhood is a chat room
where public space is a shopping mall
where information technology promises
a tuned in, reconnected world
all things hold together in Christ
the creation is a deeply personal cosmos
all cohering and interconnected in Jesus
And this sovereignty takes on cultural flesh
And this coherence of all things is socially embodied
in the church
against all odds
against most of the evidence
In a “show me” culture where words alone don’t cut it
the church is
the flesh and blood
here and now
in time and history
with joys and sorrows
embodiment of this Christ
as a body politic
around a common meal
in alternative economic practices
in radical service to the most vulnerable
in refusal to the empire
in love of this creation
the church reimagines the world
in the image of the invisible God
In the face of a disappointed world of betrayal
a world in which all fixed points have proven illusory
a world in which we are anchorless and adrift
Christ is the foundation
the origin
the way
the truth
and the life
In the face of a culture of death
a world of killing fields
a world of the walking dead
Christ is at the head of the resurrection parade
transforming our tears of betrayal into tears of joy
giving us dancing shoes for the resurrection party
And this glittering joker
who has danced in the dragon’s jaws of death
now dances with a dance that is full
of nothing less than the fullness of God
this is the dance of the new creation
this is the dance of life out of death
and in this dance all that was broken
all that was estranged
all that was alienated
all that was dislocated and disconnected
is reconciled
comes home
is healed
and is made whole
all things
whatever you can imagine
visible and invisible
mountains and atoms
outer space, urban space and cyberspace
every inch of creation
every dimension of our lives
all things are reconciled in him
And it all happens on a cross
it all happens at a state execution
where the governor did not commute the sentence
it all happens at the hands of the empire
that has captivated our imaginations
it all happens through blood
not through a power grab by the sovereign one
it all happens in embraced pain
for the sake of others
it all happens on a cross
arms outstretched in embrace
and this is the image of the invisible God
this is the body of Christ

from targum 4(re)citing Paul: Colossians 2:8-3:4 meets postmodernity :
You see, my friends, the postmodern incredulity toward all metanarratives is well-founded. The modernist metanarrative of civilizational progress manifest in an aggressive conquering of colonized peoples, so-called scientific objectivism, a technological will-to-power and a market capitalism that would commodify all of life, deplete creational resources and create an ecological nightmare, was a tall tale – a lying, self-justifying, ideological narrative. The problem, however, is that humans are constitutionally story-telling creatures. And any local narrative will necessarily and invariably function as a metanarrative in the lives of those who hold it as their story. So the issue isn’t whether to live out of a metanarrative or not, but which metanarrative, and whose grand story? Without a grounding and directing story, no praxis is possible. That is why the crisis of storyless postmodern people, animated by little more than media and market produced images, is a crisis of moral and cultural paralysis. But that’s not the way it is with you, is it? You know which metanarrative brings life, don’t you? You know whose grand story has set you free, don’t you? Remember that I have already told you that in Christ you have died and were buried and have been raised to new life. His story, is your story!