October 18, 2018

Nadia Bolz-Weber on the Apocalypse

The Course of Empire – Destruction. Cole

Tell me what you think.

I’m not sure the “MeToo” movement, etc., is the only or best illustration of her point, but I do think Nadia Bolz-Weber nails the meaning and intent of biblical apocalyptic literature in this clip.

“The dominant powers are not the ultimate powers.”

This is the message and the hope of books like Daniel and Revelation.

In the end it’s all about…

  • the world’s power,
  • how that power corrupts and leads to chaos,
  • but how God wins in the end and restores shalom,
  • and how his weak and marginalized people end up reigning with him, not through merit or defeating their enemies by violence but through faith, hope, and love.

It’s the Marvel Comics version of the Magnificat.

Comments

  1. Mule (Burro) says:

    Y’all center-lefties are really postmillenial Puritans at heart, aren’t you? ‘Fess up.

    For all the good things Rev, Nadia says, she misses the One Thing Needful – that the dominateless (?) state arrives incrementally through ‘wokeness’ and ‘policy change’, with a little Providential help from the Almighty. Rev. Nadia overlooks the Law of Unintended Consequences at work even in the #MeToo movement in which the seeds of future oppression are already contained within the activity of “liberation”. It’s been historical Whack-A-Mole since 1789.

    I remain unconvinced that the Omega State depicted in Apocalyptic literature is egalitarian. Charles Williams, in his typically terse and densely-packed style, remarked that ‘the City is simultaneously hierarchical and republican’. There will be an order of authority, but it will be one that ministers life and peace rather than coercion and death. A diocese with a saintly bishop who is also a keen administrator is a good foreshadowing of this state of affairs.

    There is so much that is wrong with ‘the butthurt will inherit the earth.’

    • Burro (Mule) says:

      I meant “does NOT arrive’, obviously.

      • Mule, the more I read your initial comment, the more I think you missed the point, at least my point (I won’t speak for NB-W).

        Please note that I said I do NOT think the MeToo movement, etc., is the best illustration of her point. I am not Post-millennial and do not put my hope in human progress (led by Christ or not) as my eschatological perspective.

        Also, please note my bullet points at the end. The world’s power (in all its corrupt forms) will be overturned and replaced by God’s reign with his saints. This is not a flattening of all power but a reversal of unjust rule for a just one. Specifically, how that will work out, who knows, but it is not an absolute leveling of society. Nor do texts like the Magnificat or a multitude of other prophetic texts point to that. They look forward to a great reversal through the just rule of God and, his Messiah and the reign of God’s people with him in a world that guarantees shalom.

        A great text that I am meditating on in this regard in Ezekiel 34. In that chapter, God excoriates the shepherds of Israel for their unjust rule. In response, he promises, not the elimination of all shepherds, but replacing them with one shepherd who will care for the flock properly, guaranteeing shalom to all.

        This is where I place my hope, not in the success of social movements. Where they are legitimately concerned for justice and the restoration of shalom, they serve as signs pointing to God’s future. But they do not bring in God’s future.

    • A hierarchy of service, perhaps (Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”)? But from our perspective, that wouldn’t be too different from egalitarianism, would it? 😉

      • Burro (Mule) says:

        A little insight into what sort of criteria Jesus used to select the Twelve would have been welcome. Its absence from the record leads me to believe it is intentional.

        • From the perspective of the religious authorities, they were “unlearned” (Acts 4). From the perspective of the Gospels, they were a cantankerous, stubborn, slow-learning lot (too many references to count). An A-list for the Harvard School of Leadership they were not. 😉

          • Robert F says:

            And their rude table manners would have made them unwelcome among the gentry, never mind the nobility. In Classical literature, the tears of a country bumpkin like Peter at having betrayed his equally bumpkin guru would’ve been treated by educated noble writers and received by educated noble readers as lampoon, not pathos. The whole New Testament places front and center the immense significance in God’s realm of the hoi polloi.

            • So basically Jesus chose Trump voters

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                They only became Trump voters after years and years of being snubbed and sneered at by their Enlightened Betters. At which point “IT’S PAYBACK TIME!” kicked in.

              • Robert F says:

                @Jon — Well, when I think of Peter and the rest, I don’t think of Trump voters, but you have a point about the weakness of the idea presented in my comment. Despite that, it is accurate: the educated nobles of classical culture, and their literature, considered the tears of peasants and fishermen to be beneath contempt, worthy only of derisive laughter. That the New Testament took such people seriously and earnestly was nothing short of cultural dynamite when it became introduced into the Western literary canon.

                And I don’t know how to square that up with anything in the current political/social dispensation in the U.S. and Europe. Everything is ass-over-teakettle.

        • But, if it’s an actual list of criteria you want, try I Cor 1:27…

          But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

    • What is it about the rejection of hierarchy that makes you so nervous, if you don’t mind my asking?

      • Burro (Mule) says:

        Somebody always has to break the tie.

        As long as men are divided into base and noble, I prefer that the noble govern the base rather than vice-versa.

        • Robert F says:

          Almost always the so-called noble have proven themselves to be so only by reputation, and not actually. Often they have been the most base (in that word’s pejorative sense) of all, having been increasingly made so by holding unchallenged power and dominance for long periods of time.

          • Today’s “nobles” often being the great-grandchildren of the heavily-armed “base” who toppled the prior set of “nobles”…

            • Robert F says:

              That is the curse of revolution that noble hierarchies leave in their wake. Where there is a noble hierarchy, there will inevitably follow a violent revolution; it’s just a matter of sooner or later.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says:

              > Today’s “nobles” often being the great-grandchildren of

              This. The single largest contributor to success in life is . . . . drumroll . . . the success of one’s parents.

              Even things like “good schools” barely move the needle against one’s economic backdrop.

              Life is principally inherited privilege plus luck. So that no man may boast! 🙂

          • A friend once pointed out, in response to the professed values of Democracy Now and its fans, how willfully revisionist you have to be to miss that the forced dislocation and oppression of American Indians took place within the operations of democracy, or at least a version of it. To the extent that it wasn’t strictly ‘a democracy’ it easily could have been. When the vox populi is considered sovereign, the mob rules. You could also point to Donald Trump.

            i’ve come to think that the biggest source of tyranny is not a particular form of gov’t, but the insistence on uniformity, or the inability of a culture (ruling party) to tolerate in-group criticism.

            Put another way, insular party-loyalty creates tyranny, and then seals its own doom by ignoring the opposition and refusing compromise.

            • Rick Ro. says:

              –> “Put another way, insular party-loyalty creates tyranny, and then seals its own doom by ignoring the opposition and refusing compromise.”

              Which is why both sides of the left/right political spectrum scare the crap out of me.

        • Robert F says:

          It is the so-called noble who have over time created the situation where violent revolution becomes inevitable, through their habitual quashing of the universal (meaning found everywhere in human societies, not equally distributed among all individuals) human aspiration to be treated with respect and dignity, an aspiration that God has implanted in humanity as surely as he has given us living souls. If you want to avert violent revolution, you have to do away with noble hierarchies.

          • Heather Angus says:

            Hurrah for revolution, hurrah for cannon-shot.
            A beggar upon horseback lashes a beggar upon foot.
            Hurrah for revolution, and cannon-shot again.
            The beggars have changed places but the lash goes on.

            W.B.Yeats

        • So, if that issue no longer applies (i.e. post-eschaton), what need for hierarchy?

          • Burro (Mule) says:

            Why are there hierarchies among the angels?

            Could it be because they delight in obedience, and are immune to envy?

            Why do people not delight in obedience?

            Our national motto seems to be less “IN GOD WE TRVST” and more “You’re not the boss of me”!

            • flatrocker says:

              A wise and saintly Franciscan priest once told me of the three vows they take at ordination – namely poverty, chastity, and obedience – of the three, obedience is the most difficult to keep.

            • Robert F says:

              Many Germans seemed to delight in obedience to Nazi orders to exterminate the Jewish people. And that was no rare anomaly.

              • Burro (Mule) says:

                Ordering people to do something they would do anyway isn’t leadership.

                Somebody asked Ray Bradbury, may he rest in peace, in 2000 if he could make any prophecies about the year 3000 about which he was absolutely certain. He said that there were three things about which he was absolutely certain:

                1) Men and women would still be falling in love, marrying, and having children, although not necessarily in that order.

                2) There would be a government somewhere collecting taxes

                3) There would be Jews, and those who hated them for that.

                Obviously, for anybody who knew Bradbury, an observation, not an endorsement.

                • Robert F says:

                  Ordering people to do something they would do anyway isn’t leadership.

                  Are you writing a book, Mule’s Rules for Leadership? Will they read it? What if they don’t?

                  If that’s true, then most down through the ages were not true leaders, and most are not now, and so there was and is no reason to obey them. We only need to obey the ones that are true leaders, Mule? Is that what you’re suggesting? If so, there’s as much anarchy in you as in me.

            • Are there hierarchies among the angels? How do we really know?

              • Robert F says:

                We just know because it is written……somewhere….

              • Burro (Mule) says:

                It’s always hard to figure out what kind of authority you (and RobertF) will accept as evidence. It is obvious proof-texting will not do. Appeal to tradition is obviously a non-starter. The testimony of saints is suspect.

                I’ll turn your question to me on its head and ask you why hierarchies qua se make you nervous. If you aren’t rebellious, resentful, or envious you really have nothing to fear from them.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says:

              > Why do people not delight in obedience?

              Because our leaders are Men and not Gods? Gods are, one hopes, more impressive than many men

              • Burro (Mule) says:

                …and fairer

                • Robert F says:

                  The gods of ancient Greek and Roman mythology were certainly not fairer than men. They were the worst in men (and women) writ large, and they were of the so-called noble class right down the line.

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                    The only two of those gods I’d feel safe around are Athena (who acted the most grown-up of them all — maybe being a personification of Wisdom had something to do with it) and Sylvanus (Roman spirit of tamed nature and cultivation).

    • Robert F says:

      My preferences for political egalitarianism, democratic rule and “wokeness” end at the eschaton. Jesus was elected by God the Father through the Holy Spirit, not by referendum. Striving for a just political dispensation is necessitated by the violent disharmony of social and political relations in the present age; it is a stopgap measure, the purpose of which is not to usher in the eschaton, but to strive toward an approximate and imperfect foretaste of it in our present situation. To work against it or deny it is to oppose truth and deny the rightful universal human aspiration to be treated with respect and dignity. But the perfect embodiment of it no merely creaturely act can initiate. It cannot even be imagined.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > the purpose of which is not to usher in the eschaton

        +1,000

        > to strive toward an approximate and imperfect foretaste of it in our present situation

        My phrasing would be even less grand; I prefer “to suck somewhat less”.

        > To work against it or deny it is to oppose truth… dignity.

        This.

        > It cannot even be imagined.

        +1,000

      • Clay Crouch says:

        Robert, you have well summed up our hope in Christ.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        Thank you, Robert, for relieving me of the burden of trying to coherently express these thoughts.

    • By definition, the KOG is hierarchical. However, at the same time, the King who is our Shepherd is also referenced as our Brother.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > Y’all center-lefties are really postmillenial Puritans at heart,

      Of course, I can only speak for myself – but Nope. I am a devoted nonmillenialist; I believe that kind of parsing of prophecy often engaged in is complete balderdash nonsense world-salad, beneath my time and attention.

      > Omega State depicted in Apocalyptic literature is egalitarian

      Of course it is NOT egalitarian – it is ruled BY A GOD! Nothing could be less egalitarian.
      Which is why all application of this kind of thing to our age is complete, utter, and total useless non-sense.

      > dominateless (?) state arrives incrementally through ‘wokeness’ and ‘policy change’,
      > with a little Providential help from the Almighty

      I know that this is something which “Conservatives” obsess over, and give themselves ulcers about.

      But as an actual Progressive – as in I work on political campaigns, organize events, write, have been a chauffeur for those evil lobbyists, have ridden in the back of cars with Senators, etc… – this accusation of a kind of closet Utopianism is rubbish. People don’t talk that way, I do not believe they think that way. Somehow many Conservatives get from “It can be possible for a young person to safely walk to school” to “YOU BELIEVE IN A COMMUNIST UTOPIA!”. As respectfully as I can say this: that is insane.

      I am left wondering WHY it is so important what the Hierarchy of a new age will look like? It is not centrist lefty progressives who are obsessing over that question. To whatever degree it exists it will be so appointed by a GOD, so . . . not a problem for we bald monkeys to puzzle out.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “YOU BELIEVE IN A COMMUNIST UTOPIA!”.

        Instead of A TRULY CHRISTIAN NATION?

        What’s the diff (other than reciting different Party Lines)?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I am left wondering WHY it is so important what the Hierarchy of a new age will look like?

        Reassurance that WE WILL be the Ones On Top?

    • Mule, you miss the fact that Nadia is a Lutheran pastor who serves under a bishop, and from what I’ve read, serves gladly.

      • senecagriggs says:

        Well, the Lutherans – what can I say! -:)

      • Stephen says:

        Bolz-Weber is an interesting person. Hip, street-smart, profane,full of contradictions. Of course our contradictions are what make us interesting as people are they not? I would love to sit down with her and ask her some questions. Maybe someday.

        • Not sure if I have the wattage to talk theology, but I could use some of her cross-fit tips. Jeeezus, those arms….. her coach must be “works” oriented.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            You mean the Yakuza-level arm-sleeve tats?

            I never could understand tat culture.

            • No interest in the tats….just arms that laugh at anything less than 20lb for dumbbell stuff… I have no need for the ink..

    • Christiane says:
    • Patriciamc says:

      I consider my self center-right. The way you say “center-lefties” make it seem like you’re doing a subtle put-down. If you want us to see things your way, is that the most productive way to open a conversation?

      • Patriciamc says:

        This question was directed at Mule.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        Mule has clearly expressed his admiration for fascism in the past. And I mean, clearly, not between the lines.

        Just to provide context.

        • Robert F says:

          Neo-Fascism is rapidly becoming the Spirit of the Age. Hungary, Poland, Italy, France, Denmark, Greece — the turn toward the extreme right is spreading almost everywhere across the continent. Apparently Mule is a creature of the times.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            Yes and no. Denmark is not really neo-fascist, but anti-Muslim views are common due to the Danish Cartoon thing a few years ago.

            In France and Greece they were defeated.
            Will see where Italy goes.

            The real fascists are Poland and Hungary. And of course, Russia and Belarus. And there are strong trends in the UK, if the behaviour of the Home Office of late is anything to go by…

            • Adam Tauno Williams says:

              +1

              It is easy, from America media, to have a very shrill view of European politics.

            • Norma Cenva says:

              Jew-baiting has again reared its ugly head in Russia and Poland.
              How long before actual pograms become a brutal reality?

            • Robert F says:

              You don’t think Italy took a hard right recently in the last election? “Pack your bags,” the new Italian interior minister said to migrants. And Le Pen’s party lost, but grew in popularity.

  2. Clay Crouch says:

    It is unfortunate that we need descriptors like egalitarian or complementarian. There would be no need for either if we followed our Lord’s serventarian example, which I’m certain he learned from women and servants.

    It is rather apocalyptic that in the resurrection people will neither marry or be given in marriage.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      But there’s always “Better to Rule in Hell than Serve in Heaven!”

  3. Richard Hershberger says:

    “I’m not sure the “MeToo” movement, etc., is the only or best illustration of her point, but I do think Nadia Bolz-Weber nails the meaning and intent of biblical apocalyptic literature in this clip.”

    I think you have it backwards. She isn’t using #MeToo to illustrate what is an apocalypse, but rather using the concept of an apocalypse to explain what is going on with #MeToo. This has to be prefaced by a discussion of what “apocalypse” actually means because of centuries of Bad Theology misinforming the populace.

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    This is the message and the hope of books like Daniel and Revelation.

    Not if you’ve been previously inoculated with the Gospel According to Hal Lindsay.

  5. StuartB says:

    The argument could be made that #MeToo is a revival that’s happening.

    Black Lives Matter as well.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > revival

      But what are they a revivification of? Certainly not the church. It has been a hundred years since the [white] American church last substantively engaged these issues.

      The churches have been, at best, johnny come [very] lately in regards to these movements. Now there is among some a bit of an embarrassing scrabble to get on board, to save face – for those who do not remain in entrenched opposition.

    • Christiane says:

      part of the same wave, like the ‘Enough!’ Kids out of Florida

      enough of the crazy

      you know it’s grass-level when the high school kids have to protest that they want the right to live

      I look forward to SOME kind of ‘better days’ coming, but not at the hands of a dictator who says ‘what makes our country special is that we all stand up for our Pledge of Allegiance’ when the opposite is true:

      we don’t HAVE TO stand up for any pledges because it is voluntary to do so in a free society, and what makes us special is that we are free to stand or to kneel

      and a five-time draft-dodger says to his ‘base’ that our NFL players are disrespecting our military by kneeling ???
      come on, people . . . .

      too much already

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I belong to the local chapter of IPMS, the International Society of Plastic Modelers — basically a club of model-builders.

        For what it’s worth, starting a year or two ago we started doing the Pledge of Alliegance at the start of each club meeting, i.e. a “flag salute” from my grade-school days (when I was also into model-building). I have no idea why we started this, but it’s just weird.

        P.S. Heard a rumor that REVEREND Jeffers now uses a new hymn in his Mega — “Make America Great Again” set to music. I’m going to be contacting Eagle (who has more & better connections) to see if there’s anything to it.

        • Christiane says:

          sounds like a plan . . . . let us know what you find out . . . . BTW, is Jeffers for ‘real’? . . . . is he mentally ‘okay’? . . . . what is his situation, because of the nature of his comments, it’s hard to know if he is ‘genuine’ or just another stooge serving the Emperor

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            “Mentally ‘okay'” — I kinda doubt it.
            Guy comes across as a real piece of work.

  6. john barry says:

    So the historical timeline, the culture and economics as well as politics is what we have to deal with in this world. I agree with Robert F. really insightful explanation and as said he nailed it. .

    So where was the Me Too movement been since the last just say 30 years. The Me Too movement just noticed that women are sexually harassed?, No , it is just now society will allow it to be an issue due to the change in society attitude. No one knew about the casting couch except me? Powerful and rich guys in position of power using their positions to take advantage and abuse women, nothing new in the world of Harvey Weinstein. All the pretenders knew what was going on and went along with it. What changed , society and the power structure.

    Is not Mohler an major SBC leader with great influence but somehow he missed what was going on? So it is not his failure of leadership or teaching but the dumb guy sitting in the SBC church who was dumb enough to trust the leaders? It is their fault j. What “changed, same as above. The “group” was more important than the individual even if the group knew that some individuals were being done wrong.

    Christians like other groups must compete, organize and try to influence the workings of this world trying to follow the teachings of the Bible and the life of Jesus as best they can. If the 10th century Christians had not participated in defense of what would become the Holy Roman Empire where would Christianity be as a force for good, which I think it was and is.

    The meek can survive in this world if they have the strength and will to have an influence in this world. I have faith , love and hope but also know I must do what I can to insure that I contribute to the preservation of the values of Christianity and Western civilization.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “What changed” was things hit Critical Mass and went viral.

      • Christiane says:

        Critical Mass may have been made POSSIBLE by the great increase in social media . . . . victims communicate and share and connect and there becomes an exponential growth spurt in how they are able to come together to form a collective conscience, and the knowledge that others also have experienced the same struggle against ‘the crazy’ emboldens and strengthens a response which then is MANDATED that it be made:
        loudly, firmly, by ALL who are witnesses and also made with a gravitas that cannot be denied or silenced or threatened or ‘put down’ or made fearful. . . .

        the new communication methods have unleashed power to victims to find one another and to form a collegiality that speaks as ‘one’ and takes on the united power of all who could not have faced responding on their own with confidence

        It’s time.

        Predators who want to work evil on victims under cover of the security of not being discovered are now made vulnerable by the new communication resources and the ‘evil doers’ aren’t going to be able to hide who they are much longer. So, ‘power to the people’ 🙂

        It’s time.

        • flatrocker says:

          Christiane,
          Historically, power to the people hasn’t left much of a stellar legacy in its wake. After the initial euphoric blood letting and zeal to reverse-tilt the scales of justice, inevitably power seems to coalesces around an individual. And the newly minted Robespierres of the movement are all too willing to accept the mantel of leadership – with all the requisite purity codes and purging coming in tow.

          Time for a change – yes. Time for justice – absolutely yes.
          Just not sure we want the mob directing the executions.

          • Christiane says:

            Understood.

            That the spurt in the use of social media has also empowered the evil-doers in the political realm is now being discovered. But that’s another story. And, in time, it will be told hopefully out in the light where no amount of ‘cover up’ or ‘silencing’ or ‘denying’ or ‘lies’ can bury it.

            We shall see.

            I think of ‘the base’ as the ‘mob’ of our day. Forty some percent? Of our citizens?

            But ONE good thing:
            the media is able to investigate the truth of the children taken from their parents and put into custody at the borders . . . some have said as young as less than two years old and some have said the children are being held in ‘cages’. A United States senator went to investigate one of the facilities and was told to get off the property. So we know there is something that is being hidden. Hopefully more Senators will pursue investigating what is possibly one of the greatest abuses against humanity every ordered by a US President. I welcome social media’s putting light on this matter, sure. Let’s find out what the real truth is.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              That the spurt in the use of social media has also empowered the evil-doers in the political realm is now being discovered. But that’s another story.

              Remember the 1930s, when broadcast radio was the social media of its day.
              Used by FDR here in the States and Adolf in Europe.

            • Christiane says:

              In any case, with 40 some percent ‘approval’ maybe our nation IS passing away into another form of government . . . . it may happen, if people don’t care

              but I would hope for some remnant’s children’s children to remember the freedom of ancient days in our land when one could kneel and not be condemned for a traitor

            • olbaldy says:

              No one needs to be separated, just turn the whole family around and go back home to where you came from. They came together and can go home together.

  7. Christiane says:

    I LIKE Nadia.

    I’ve heard from people reasons not to like her, but I can’t help thinking that she is exactly who she needs to be in order to reach a certain kind of person ‘out there’ who needs Our Lord.

    The poor soul who doesn’t trust them what appears to be ‘normal’ as ‘Christians’ (and usually doesn’t trust them for good reason),
    may find something in Nadia to gravitate towards at least long enough to hear what they NEED to hear.

    My own husband was raised Lutheran. I never knew him to attend a Lutheran Church and he decided to join the Catholic Church after picking my daughter up outside St. Catherine’s in Ringwood NJ and he saw a priest, a Franciscan, wearing a ‘Pirate’s’ baseball cap. So my husband was brought into the Church after many years of not attending services anywhere . . . . .

    how do we know the ways of the Holy Spirit . . . . that tatoos all over a woman’s arms, or a Pirate’s baseball cap on the head of a Franciscan priest may have some influence over people who have a NEED to get past the ‘normal’ and the ‘respectable’ and go towards something familiar to themselves. Who knows how this works.

    So I like Nadia. She fulfills a space that God can use to draw people to Himself. And the more she is put down and criticized by the ‘respectable’, likely the more she is useful in ways known only to God.

    Does this make sense? no, but I don’t think that matters all that much somehow 🙂

    • Nadia has come a long ways…she grew up in the Church of Christ and she’s about as far from that tradition as a person can get and still be called “churched”.

  8. Is there a link to a video in the post? If there is I must be blind.