Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 13

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE we can’t even imagine under our current structure? This is what following Christ is supposed to give us a glimpse into: a possibility of seeing something that we can’t imagine. But I also think if you look at how this is practiced, you see it isn’t just done individually, but it happens when you are supported by structures that help you do things differently. So, I will look here at 1 Samuel 8. This is when the Israelites basically said to Samuel they wanted a king. They weren’t down with the current program. They wanted a king. So Samuel goes to God, and God instructs Samuel to explain to the people what the King will take from them as his right: Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights. He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give them to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the LORD will not answer you in that day. But the people refused to li sten to Samuel. “No,” they said, “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us” (1 Sm 8:10–20ab NIV). And so Samuel hears the response of the people, repeats it to the LORD, and the LORD says, good luck with that, right? Fine, you want it? Let’s see what happens. So, essentially what God was telling the people was, when you create this different kind of structure of hierarchy, that’s going to change you. You are going to put in place a structure of hierarchy that’s going to condition you to start oppressing other people. You will become different in that process. You will have more violence. You yourself will start to become violent. But when Jesus comes, Jesus puts forth essentially an alternative to kingship. In Matthew 23:8–12, he says, But you are not to be called “Rabbi,” for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth “father,” for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 12