Empire Erotics and Messianic Economies of Desire
J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series
Imprint: Wipf and Stock
92 Pages, 5.00 x 8.00 x 0.18 in
- Published: July 2018
The 2013 J.J. Thiessen lectures, delivered by Professor P. Travis Kroeker (McMaster University), undertake a theological exploration of the crucial interconnections between desire and economics in our intimate and institutional relationships to money, material goods, and our most basic human aspirations. The first lecture investigates the fact that the book of Genesis begins with an erotics and a "marriage" but one that opposes contemporary idolatrous erotic-religious mythologies, and that provides the dramatic theological basis for a different political economy. What does the structure of desire in creation have to do with economic justice and social shalom in the empire erotics of our own time? The messianic war against Mammon is depicted in the New Testament as a radicalization of desire through self-emptying and the sovereignty of divine love in the "heart." Does this provide the basis for a messianic political economy that can oppose the empire of Mammon? The second lecture examines the birth of Christian imagination in a non-Christian empire, follows it through with Joseph Conrad's analysis in Heart of Darkness and asks how this relates to Mennonites in contemporary North America. Why does the Bible end with a marriage and the fulfillment of desire, over against grotesque parodies of these in empire erotics? In the book of Revelation this is depicted not only as a question of worship but also of liturgy in its original ancient reference to public service. Beginning with an exploration of the distortion of messianic desire into the self-serving erotics of empire, the third lecture will ask how the messianic community can live out an alternative liturgy of service in the everyday.