• The Dangerously Divine Gift: a Biblical Theology of Power

      Sweetman, Robert; McGuire, Rachel A.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2015-05)
      This dissertation develops a large-scale biblically-shaped theo-ethical narrative of power. Propelled by a liberationist commitment, this work first stands in solidarity with earth's marginalized majorities, and then focuses its lens on the social location of "middle agents." In the global economic/power structure, middle agents (the eighteen percent) live and work in the space between the two percent who own over half the world and the eighty percent who earn less than ten dollars per day. The method is constructive. The work develops a scriptural narration of power that starts in creation, moves through the fall(the first act of commodification), and into violence, empire and the demonic. The central part of the project concentrates on the particular predicament of middle agents in complex globalizing regimes. Staying close to the gospel (particularly Luke and Mark), in the second half, an ethic of hospitality is developed – one that rearranges power structures, moving practitioners personally, communally, and societally toward a world of shared power. The story of power closes with a reading of apocalypse as the falling away of parasitic and violent structures, and the emergence of new creation on earth. The academic approach is interdisciplinary. At each stage, relevant academic conversations are engaged in biblical studies (e.g. Ellen Davis, Terence Fretheim, William Herzog, Richard Horsley, Sylvia Keesmaat, Catherine Keller, J. Richard Middleton and Ched Myers), liberation theology/praxis (e.g. James Cone, Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Martin Luther King Jr., Kwok Pui-Lan and Letty Russell), and social theory (e.g. Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault).