The Model of Royal Consciousness

Solomon had set out to counter the world of Moses’ Community of liberation and he had done so effectively. He had traded a vision of freedom for the reality of security. He had banished the neighbor for the sake of reducing everyone to servants. He had replaced covenanting with consuming, and all promises had been reduced to tradable commodities. Every such trade-off made real energy less likely.

Royal reality road roughshod over Moses’ vision. The gift of freedom was taken over by the yearning for order. The human agenda of justice was utilized for security. The God of freedom and justice was co-opted for any eternal now. And in place of passion comes satiation.

Passion as the capacity and readiness to care, to suffer, to die, and to feel is the enemy of imperial reality. Imperial economics is designed to keep people satiated so that they do not notice. Its politics is intended to block out the cries of the denied ones. Its religion Is to be an opiate so that no one discerns misery alive in the heart of God.

This model of a royal consciousness does not require too much interpretation to be seen as a characterization of our own cultural situation.

It takes little imagination to see

  • Ourselves in an economics of affluence in which we are so well off that pain is not noticed and we can eat our way around it. [Consumerism]
  • Ourselves in a politics of oppression in which the cries of the marginal are not heard or are dismissed as the noises of kooks and traitors. [Globalism]
  • Ourselves in a religion of immanence and accessibility, in which God is so present to us that his abrasiveness, his absence, his banishment are not noticed, and the problem is reduced to psychology. [Anti-Christian, Anti-faith]

The Royal program of an achievable satiation:

  • Is fed by a manageable mentality that believes there are no mysteries to honor, only problems to be solved.
  • Is legitimated by an”official religion of optimism,” which believes God has no business other than to maintain our standard of living.
  • Requires the annulment of the neighbor as a life-giver in our history; it imagines that we can live outside history as self-made men and women.

It is mind-boggling to think that … the prophetic word—there is a minority report in Scripture which—is mobilized against this compelling reality.

[Walter Brueggmann, The Prophetic Imagination, p. 33-37.]

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