Political Theology Today A forum for interdisciplinary and interreligious dialogue

All posts by Jordan Mattox

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The Meaning of Work

There is a famous anecdote in which a man, after death, wakes up surrounded by all the pleasures of life: food, sex, and leisure. An angel approaches him and says “Welcome, enjoy all the pleasures you have ever wanted.” The man basks in all the pleasures available, but after a few weeks of uninterrupted ecstasy, he grows bored. So, the man approaches the angel and says “Is there anything I can do, any work?”

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Pacifism as Privilege

Being a pacifist and an American is virtually impossible. Typically, the peace and justice community focus on violence issues, human trafficking, and other visible forms of oppression. They come out against war and unsanctioned military engagement (which is basically the status quo in the global capitalist empire: instead of war, we have police action). All of these things are unjust and need to be opposed, but ultimately they are the blood dripping from wound that we keep wiping up without recognizing their source: global capitalism.

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Producing Humans

With James Bond tied to a chair, Raoul Silva, the villain in Skyfall, tells a story about rats. Silva’s mother owned an island. Some merchants happened upon the island and released rats from the ship. Feeding off the succulent coconuts, the rats spread and overwhelmed the island. The mother devised […]

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Reformation through Gay Marriage

The time for debating the morality of gay marriage is gone. With the increasing approval in many denominations, the question is not about morality anymore, but as to how to incorporate this institution into the church body. Hence, we must begin to assess it’s social and philosophical contribution to the […]

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Unradical Theology

Under the pretense of talking about pirate theology, Peter Rollins, Kester Brewer and Barry Taylor gathered to discuss “radical theology” at Fuller this month. Rollins, in particular, analyzed the intersection between psychoanalysis and theology, arguing that Christians need to experience doubt like Jesus on the cross, asking God, the father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” After much contrived discussion, the panelists concluded that radical theology will lead to the death of Christianity as a religion in order that a new manifestation of Jesus-following might emerge. While I sympathize with Rollins and co.’s intentions, I am not certain how radical theology’s psychoanalytic approach relates to non-western contexts. Moreover, their assessment of radical theology’s (read: Emergent Church) role in church history falls victim to the same dialectical trap that Rollins critiques in his work…

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The Problem with Marriage

Marriage equality is a hot topic in Christian communities. Recently, Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop, came to Fuller to talk about the freedom to love. As a result, many students at Fuller are beginning to rethink their heteronormative understandings of marriage. While I am all for LGBTQ equality in all arenas (anything else is shenanigans), the resurgence about the right to marry and marriage as an existentially important institution worries me […]

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Voting and Alienation

Four years ago, I was an idealistic college student who believed in change. Frustrated with the years of Bush-style imperialism and capitalism, I was ready for some big government and the return of civil liberties, singing the doxology Praise God From Whom all Blessings Flow as balloons reigned down and Obama waxed eloquent on a stage overlooking thousands of people. Needless to say, I have learned my lesson over the last four years. Although a less harmful sovereign, Obama turned out to be—surprise, surprise—a neo-liberal. The problem, however, was not with Obama, it was with me….

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The Politics of Church

When I came to Fuller Theological Seminary, I struggled to find a church. I visited the many establishment churches and small, non-commuter churches scattered throughout the area. Like many churches in the suburbs, the churches typically were homogenous socially and racially. After expressing my dissatisfaction (admittedly, a consumerist dissatisfaction) with […]

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In Defense of Submission and Authority

The original unifying function of liturgy becomes lost if we begin to dehistoricize liturgy by shopping among the traditions. Like consumerist postmodern culture, the Emergent Church shops among traditions for forms of spirituality that are useful and pleasurable and incorporates them into general western, melange of religious items….

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