Despite a persistent longing for peace, humanity continues to be plagued by war. Against our own professed desire, we cling to a logic that makes violence appear rational and faithful to God. The book of Revelation has been read to support that logic, but Dr. Mabee contends that, to the contrary, the book of Revelation urgently exposes the irrationality of war and insists that rather than blaming God, humans accept the difficult task of taking responsibility for our own violence. Dr. Mabee invites us to enter into the ancient wisdom that aims to make war a thing of the past.
The Making Peace with Revelation workshop was held on Saturday Nov. 6, 2010, at the First Congregational Church of Wilmette, UCC, with keynote speakers Dr. Charles Mabee and Dr. Jim Papandrea. Small group sessions were led by Reverends Stephanie VanSlyke and Tripp Hudgins, Ann Frisch of Nonviolent Peaceforce, Tio Hardiman of CeaseFire and Joan Lundgren of CARE.
This original video was created by Reverend Tripp Hudgins.
My basic perspective will be that the book of Revelation calls us to re-imagine the origins of the impulse of war, and to reconsider “the path (to peace) not taken.” It does this by imaginatively projecting the result of the actual path chosen, namely destruction and the dawn of a new age under the influence of faith in God. The new age is really “the path not taken,” nothing more, and nothing less. In order to successfully reimagine all this, we have to learn the “dire consequences” of the path that we did take, and that is accomplished in the book of Revelation through allegorical figuration. The book is, in the final analysis, a demonstration of “the folly of empire.” – Dr. Mabee
Dr. Charles Mabee is full professor and director of the M.Div. program at Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Detroit and visiting professor and director of Religious Studies program at Oakland University, Rochester. Dr. Mabee initiated and edited the 16 volume series, Studies in American Biblical Hermeneutics at Mercer University Press and is the author of Reading Sacred Texts Through American Eyes: Biblical Interpretation as Cultural Critique (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1991) and Reimagining America: A Theological Critique of the American Mythos and Biblical Hermeneutics (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1985). Dr. Mabee is a founding member of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion.
The recording of Dr. Charles Mabee’s lecture, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: A Spiritual Diagnosis of War, is available below. The text of his lecture can be downloaded.
Dr. Jim Papandrea is a teacher, author, speaker, and musician, and currently the Assistant Professor of Church History at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary at Northwestern University in Evanston and working as a freelance consultant in the area of adult formation. His most recent work is Spiritual Blueprint: How We Live, Work, Love, Play, and Pray (2010). New books that will be published within the next year include The Earliest Christologies: Trinitarian Orthodoxy Before Nicaea, Reading the Early Church Fathers, and Novatian of Rome: Theologian and Anti-Pope.
The recording of Dr. Papandrea’s lecture, Looking Back on the Future, is available below.
Learn More about Revelation
From Left Behind to the Healing of Nations
Director of Education Adam Ericksen and Board Member Tripp Hudgins led a five session class on The Revelation to John.
Tripp Hudgins and Adam Ericksen reflect on the first of a five part series on Revelation.
Session 2: Prophecy and Apocalypse
Tripp Hudgins and Adam Ericksen discuss the second session on Revelation.
What is the scandal? Jesus, Roman culture, or both? How do you think it causes scandal?
Session 3: The Lion or the Lamb
Tripp and Adam discuss the third session from the series on Revelation. The whole of Revelation should be read within the context of the Johannine school, that is, John’s Gospel and John’s letter. The culmination of that school is the statement “God is love” (1 John 4:16). Revelation reveals this aspect of God by transforming our understanding of God from a lion-like god to the Lamb-like God revealed through Jesus.
Tripp Hudgins and Adam Ericksen discuss Revelation chapters 12-18.
Tripp and Adam discuss the final chapters of Revelation, chapters 19-22.
What does it look like to live into “the healing of the nations”?