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Subversive Imagination

For a thoughtful, challenging approach to the way we read scripture I recommend Brian J. Walsh’s and Sylvia Keesmaat’s “Colossians Remixed”. Not only do they handle the text well (though I don’t agree with all their conclusions), they have a marvelous way of bringing ancient text into contemporary focus.

In their chapter dealing with Subversive Poetry and Contested Imagination, the couple makes a case that no one can be completely oppressed by an empire or oppressive regime as long as they continue to imagine. Here’s how they put it:

“We have seen that empires maintain their sovereignty not only be establishing a monopoly of markets, political structures and military might but also by monopolizing the imaginations of their subjects. Indeed, vanquished peoples are not really subjects of the empire until their imagination has been taken captive. As long as they continue to have memories of life before exile, and al long as they harbor dreams of a social reality alternative to empire, they are a threat to the empire. Their liberated imagination keeps them free even in the face of violent military repression. And until that imagination is broken, domesticated and reshaped the image of the empire, the people are free.”

I just thought this was a great thought; nothing to add.

  • Serena Voss

    It is a great quote that has broad implications. It certainly applies to people who are subjects of subversive polital regimes, people who are prisoners of war and prisoners of disease, as well as people caught in any other kind of “bondage”.

    I work with students who have all sorts of learning challenges. It always amazes me how kids can appear similar in terms of their physical and academic limits. Both will struggle, but one will succeed and the other does not.

    Imagination and visualization are very powerful.

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