The Powers That Be

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The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium by Walter Wink; notes by Doug Muder1) Walter Wink is a nonviolent political activist and a professor of biblical interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York. He has promoted his vision of nonviolent resistance in Pinochet's Chile and South Africa under apartheid, as well as in the United States. The Powers That Be describes the theological basis of his social and political beliefs, which he sees as springing out of the teachings of Jesus. Powers reinterprets the angel mythology of the Bible as an ancient way of understanding and dealing with the corporate intelligences embodied in social institutions like companies, churches, nations, and cultures. Wink sees these institutional intelligences as "fallen angels" -- having forsaken their life-affirming mission in order to promote their own interests. Supporting all of the fallen institutions is "The Domination System," a cultural vision in which a dominating hierarchy is the only conceivable source of order and "good" violence is the only defense against "bad" violence. The Domination System plays the role of Satan in Wink's mythological interpretation. The mission of Jesus, according to Wink, is the overthrow of the Domination System. He sees a nonviolent "Third Way" in Jesus' teachings, a way that is neither passive acceptance of domination nor an (ultimately self-defeating) violent revolution against it. Wink re-examines several of Jesus' most famous statements and finds practical lessons in political theater and nonviolent resistance. I break this book into the following sections: The Introduction and first two chapters introduce Wink's concept of "the Powers" and use it to describe the fallen state of the contemporary world (i.e., the Domination System). Chapter 3-5 find in the teachings of Jesus a vision that competes with and responds to the

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