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24 December 2009

Empire and a Post-Colonial State of Mind

Don’t bite the apple Eve,
Caught up in the in crowd,
Now your in-style,
And in the winter gets cold en vogue with your skin out,
The city of sin is a pity on a whim,
Good girls gone bad, the cities filled with them,
Mommy took a bus trip and now she got her bust out,
Everybody ride her, just like a bus route,
Hail Mary to the city you're a Virgin,
And Jesus can’t save you life starts when the church ends
Jay-Z, Empire State of Mind
Jesus saves. That's what Christmas is all about.
But there's a lot of trouble in the world. A lot of souls need saving. And many of them believe in Jesus.
Churches talk about individual and corporate salvation, salvation in this world and salvation in the world to come. Fire insurance.
Polarities make a post-colonial feminist nervous. It's not my salvation or the salvation of the world - all creation; it's both/and. It's not abundant life in another life or abundance in this life; it's both/and. At least that's how it should be. That's what the already/not yet kronos/kairos time of the scriptures signifies.

The already, the Incarnation, is what we're preparing to celebrate as we prepare for the advent of the not yet. It's not the not yet that's troubling me. Not so much the when of the not yet. But the trouble in the world since - and dare I say in spite of - the already.

That's what I think Jay-Z's Empire lyrics are getting at with that audacious line: 

Jesus can’t save you life starts when the church ends.

In this season of hope and expectation, the light is shining in the darkness. The darkness cannot overcome the light. Yet what John (1:5) doesn't say is that the light does not overcome the darkness. The darkness and light co-exist. There is always shadow.

Perhaps there are no shadows in heaven.


  1. I think you will like my Christmas Eve sermon. I was of the same mind you were as I wrote it.

  2. I love Jose and Maria and the immigrant slant. Thanks so much!