Posted by: duncandrews | May 9, 2012

Budget night, prophetic tears, and royal theologies.

I’m working at the moment on a presentation on a theology of tears. Tears, it seems to me, are such a significant human phenomenon. They come at crucial moments in our lives as the powerful intersection of emotion and physicality.

And yet we don’t like to talk about our tears; they’re either too personal or too embarrassing. They’re an admition of weakness, of dependence, of powerlessness; and our pride, our desperate desire to communicate our self-sufficiency, wishes they weren’t there. But they still come, and they come for everybody at some point.

Here’s a great quote from William Willimon that relates to this, and which I also found insightful in the light of last night’s budget announcement, with its message of ‘making a better life for everybody’:

Kings do not grieve—no failures there. Royal theology puts a happy face on everything. Our present administration tells us, for example, that it is making a better life for everybody: we are better off than we were four years ago; we can sleep well tonight because NORAD watches over us; we have never had it so good. But the prophets claim that, despite the trappings of power, the glory of the kings of this world ends. The prophet calls the culture to a funeral—its own.
To be God’s prophet these days is to help people to grieve, finding biblical images that describe our predicament and that allow us to let go of our royal theologies, imperial economics and ceremonies of innocence. Our Lord himself shows us the way, for he too wept.

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