Living with Empire

August 11, 2016

Beginning this September, Trinity will offer a theological course entitled Jesus and Empire. The course will study the early Jesus movement’s resistance to the Roman Empire and explore ways in which the contemporary church has functioned (and still does) as both a community of resistance and acquiescence to Empire.

The 2016-2017 Deaconess Anne House members (young adults living in intentional community as part of the Episcopal Service Corps) will also attend the class as part of their program of study.

The course will meet on the 1st and 3rd Thursday evenings from 6 PM – 8PM in the North Parish Hall of the church.

Registration is required. Please email Fr. Jon Stratton,

We will be using a book by Richard Horsley, Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder. It can be purchased on Amazon for as little as $4.00. If you need financial assistance to purchase the book, that can be arranged, no exceptions. 
When: 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month beginning September 15th 
Where: Trinity North Parish Hall 
Facilitators: The Rev. Rebecca Ragland and The Rev. Jon Stratton 
Ministry Focus: Christian Education 
Required Reading:
                Richard Horsley, Jesus and Empire: the Kingdom of God and the new world disorder.  Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 2003.
September 15, 2016: Depoliticizing Jesus – then and now.  
Jesus and Empire – pp. 1 – 14 Introduction
Reflection questions and Conversation.
October 6, 2016
Youtube video – Shane Claiborne and Mother Theresa
Reading – The emergence of a single superpower – Jesus and Empire pp. 15 – 20
Reflection questions and Conversation.
October 20, 2016: Globalization in the 1st Century – then and now – effects on identity and culture
Youtube  - globalization
Reading, Horsley, pp. 20 - 31.
Values Pyramid vs patronage pyramid
November 3, 2016: Indirect Rule - Resistance and rebellion; how Empire has shaped and continues to shape us and how we subvert and resist
Readings,  Horsley, 31 – 37 skim pp 38- 52, read 53-54
Youtube – Gregory Boyle or S. Dewitt Proctor
Identifying a problem and maintaining our values
November 17, 2016: Class and Regional differences as they affected the Jesus Movement and as they affect us now.
Reading:  Horsley, 59 – 63; 71 – 78 optional
Youtube: PBS Special on Class (segments on lower class and rural)
Understanding Power and Building Movements
December 1, 2016: Prophetic Opposition to the Church and the State, then and now.
Reading:  Horsley, 91 -104 (summary 103-104)
Building movements, problems vs issues, actions
January 19, 2017:  The early Church as resistance to Empire:  Jesus’ covenantal call to community
Readings:  Horsley 106 – 111, 126-128
Shane Claiborne on Intentional Community
Review, reflection questions and conversation on contemporary responses to Empire
February 2, 2017: The Empire Strikes Back; the cost of prophetic witness; the cost of discipleship.
Reading:  Horsley 129 – 132
Dietrich Bonhoeffer – clip from documentary on his life
February 16, 2017: Analyzing our own communities:  how are we structured?  What do we resist?
Reading:  Horsley 132-134
PBS documentary on the early Jesus movement and missionary efforts
Planning a meeting, organizing money
March 2, 2017: The marriage of Christian and Empire: uncomfortable cohabitations
Reading:  Horseley 135 – 136
Sermon by Rev. Jerimiah Wright “God Damn America”

March 16, 2017: Building communities of resistance; community formation.
Horseley, 137 – 144
Evidence of American Empire; Globalization as Empire – and as Blessing
Planning an Action
April 16, 2017: Jesus and American Empire; our response globally, nationally, locally
Horseley, 145-149
Video: the infectious nature of resistence (M.H)

More Info

Contact ESM Dean, the Rev. Dr. Dan Handschy