Colonialism and Consumerism

Fred Laceda

The lectionary text for this Sunday has an interesting reception in Christian history. We know of Matthew 28:16–20 as the missionary text par excellence. This association with missions was a late development, however. Modern missions – or the sending of Christian missionaries in foreign lands – is a product of the Reformation period. It was also at this time that Western powers began their colonial adventurism. Hence colonialism and Christian mission gestated from the same imperialistic womb. It is in this entanglement that we should situate the Western missionary enterprise. And the “Great Commission” text stands as its greatest theological legitimation.

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At the Foot of the Cross: The Violent Legacy of a Theological Symbol

Fred Laceda

N.T. Wright asks why the Cross became the enduring symbol of Christianity especially if we consider its original purpose as Rome’s mechanism to literally quash dissent. In a typical Wright fashion his answer comes in a form of weaving together seemingly disparate theological threads to create a coherent metanarrative. The finished product is a comprehensive and learned theology which most Christians would agree with. What is lacking in such a theological appropriation and remembering of the Cross is the road it travelled from a violent symbol to a symbol of redemption. This road, contrary to our Christian bubble, is accompanied by antagonism, exclusion, and violent hatred. Let me tell that part of the story.

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Weaponizing Theology

by Fred Laceda

Religion and politics’ connection is interesting, at times odd, and often times explosive. One contemporary depiction of this relationship is between Stannis and Melisandre in The Game of Thrones. The former’s political ambition is bolstered by the latter’s religious idea that Stannis was the chosen one. Politics and religion, in other words, has an intimate relationship. The offspring of such intimacy is hoped to be a blessing, but Melisandre and Stannis’ offspring offers a cautionary tale: Melisandre bore a shadowy, perhaps cursed, child.

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The Night God and Humanity Died

by Fred Laceda

by Elie Wiesel (from a book cover)

The emergence of modernity is the beginning of the end for an old world. The passing of the pre-modern world is hailed particularly by the Enlightenment as humanity’s way to maturity. The religious hegemony was shattered, leaving in its wake the church on a house arrest. Nietzsche declared God is dead. The new secular consensus has shown God the door, exiled to the private longings of the faithful. The optimistic air breathed by 19th century peeps was literally replaced by the acid gas of the early part of the next century. After two centuries, the twentieth seems to be the limit-test of the modern adventure. Fissures, caesurae, crisis, and the collapse of old certainties are reality check to the utopia by modern, enlightened humanity. What seems to be a promising future for collective humanity is turning like a bad dream; a nightmare that up to now haunts the modern period.

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