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FAITHFULNESS TO THE REIGN OF GOD

The Last Week: A Day-by-Day Account of Jesus’ Final Week in Jerusalem
By Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
HarperSanFrancisco, 2006. 220 pp. $21.95.

by Kathy Perry

book - The Last Week

"’Jesus is Lord’ –and the powers of this world are not." According to Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan in their new book The Last Week, this is the essential message that Easter affirms. They insist the Jesus of Mark’s Gospel was a God-centred human being who revealed his commitment in both a personal and a politically engaged way. For the authors, Christian commitment imbues personal and political life with religious meaning, involving followers in active discipleship that is both challenging and inviting. In this book, they provide an exegesis of the Gospel according to Mark, focusing on the account of the last week of Jesus’ life.

     Many people today understand our world as a more or less integral network of national governments. The power relations that bind nations together are complex and difficult to understand. The "normalcy of civilization" –to use a phrase from the book– is the domination system. In other words, organizing societies in this way is "what most commonly happens." In the apocalyptic imagination, a system based upon principles of domination and exploitation assumes a concrete form in an all-powerful system of global domination. This monstrous system is the modern version of the Pax Romana: An inherently violent method by which peaceful coexistence is sought, but where, as Foucault stated, silence about oppression and injustice is the shield behind which the powerful work. Religion either collaborates with those who wield power through the organized use of violence, or it organizes itself as a resistance to domination systems. The activity of resisting violence and injustice brings to birth new societies. Responsibility for one another is mediated according to covenant imperatives of inclusion, justice, mercy, and compassion.

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