A Call for Theo-political Readings

I was sent a link to the following youtube video.  The Messiah continues to strike me as an overwhelmingly political statement and given the context and players involved in this video I started feeling great dissonance.  Was the kingdom of this world becoming the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ through irruptive means?  Was the kingdom of Lord and of his Christ reified as a free toy for your food court meal?  I welcome readings to clear the dissonant and disturbing sounds still ringing my ears.

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3 comments on “A Call for Theo-political Readings

  1. skholiast says:

    The question you ask — is the Kingdom breaking in or being co-opted? — has been inevitable from the get-go. Kind of reminds me of Peter’s suggestion on the mount of transfiguration. Let us build three food court stands.

    It has to be understood in the context of the flash-crowd phenomenon. As such, its what the late ’60s and early ’70s called a “Happening.” And thus understood, it’s a piece of background music, a funny thing that happened today at the mall.

    At the same time… not only were (doubtless) many of the participants Christians singing out of their faith, but it was not just background music while it was happening; people stopped, listened– some of them even stand up (as per tradition), and I would not be surprised if some joined in. For a few minutes even the temple of capital becomes something else and better, and we catch (perhaps) a waft of frankincense amid all those french fries.

    I can’t shake off the dissonance either (a funny word considering the harmonies of Handel), and I admit this “reading” doesn’t get beyond them or even go very deep. But it feels like this is much like the parable of the seed. Some of it fell on the roadside, some of it feel on stone, and some if it fell on good soil. I think your question has as many answers as there were people there, or even as there are youtube viewers. That isn’t to say that the form of the message does not already construe it is some degree. After all, some would say that “Messiah” itself is a co-opting of the Kingdom, but I don’t think Handel saw it that way. Some people don’t much like the politics of the word “Reign” either. But the proclamation remains, He shall reign for ever and ever.

    Thanks for this puzzle. I’ll be thinking it over.

  2. Thanks for offering your thoughts. It is a charitable reading. There is a part of me that would like think that as well but I simply feel like I cannot view much of anything hopeful in a context like that . . . even when I am in the midst of such a context. It is a nice gesture and well performed. Perhaps what bothers me is that it is coordinated act that carried some risk to it but may have only accentuated or emphasized the problem (which could then lead to something more constructive I suppose).

  3. […] etc.).  Or do they simply fall prey the near omnipotent work of commodification?  Does a flash mob singing the hallelujah chorus in a food court do anything more than make people feel good about their shopping experience?  Even the cultural […]

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