Walter Wink was a professor of biblical interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York and author of many books, including The Powers That Be, When the Powers Fall, and most recently The Human Being. He died in 2012.
Posts By This Author
From the Archives: Nov-Dec 2001
[After 9/11] Many of us feel a deep desire for revenge and violent retribution. We know how natural that is. We want to strike back at the perpetrators. And it is true: We do need to find and punish them. But we must not let that need be overwhelmed by sheer rage. We need to counter those who want to bomb indiscriminately, to “take them out” with missiles, or even to use everything in our arsenal. ...
Can we together agree that retribution is not the way of Jesus? Can we remain steadfast in nonviolence, despite the skepticism of those who embrace violence as a way of fighting violence? Can we repudiate belief in redemptive violence? Christians must behave as Christians no matter how much our society and churches ridicule nonviolence as idealistic and ineffective. If we cannot be faithful in such a crisis as we presently face, when will we?
Finally, we must cling to God by blind faith in such a time as this. To the question, Where is God in all this? we can answer, Where God always is: nearer than breathing and closer than hands or feet. But just as the clouds of dust and smoke and falling debris blotted out the sun on Sept. 11, so horror of this dimension blots out the light of God. In such a time, we cannot perhaps feel God’s presence, but it is there, and we have to cling to it even as we scream at the silence of God.
From the Archives: April 1992
VIOLENCE is the ethos of our times. It is the spirituality of the modern world. What is generally overlooked is that violence is accorded the status of a religion, demanding from its devotees an absolute obedience-unto-death.
Its followers are not aware that the devotion they pay to violence is a form of religious piety, however. Violence is so successful as a myth precisely because it does not appear to be mythic in the least. Violence simply appears to be the nature of things. It is what works. It seems inevitable, the last and, often, the first resort in conflicts. It is embraced with equal alacrity by people on the Left and the Right, by religious liberals as well as religious conservatives.
All Christianity has to give, and all it needs to give, is the myth of the human Jesus.
The Bonhoeffer Assumption
Theres a trap that Id call the Bonhoeffer assumption. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was studying at Union Seminary in New York.
The Silence of God
Many of us feel a deep desire for revenge and violent retribution. We know how natural that is. We want to strike back at the perpetrators.
A Time to Weep
A Nonviolence Roadmap
A Brazen Faith
Studying the text to be transformed
A World Overturned
We are starved for the Word of God
Road Signs and Squeaky Wheels
We read scripture to be transformed. We are not interested just in adding to our knowledge, or even to our being.
Evicted, Yet Welcomed Home
What we are seeking is the questions that themselves brought the text into being. We try to follow the questions back to their source, to comprehend what is moving in the questions. We become willing to suspend our favorite beliefs (and disbeliefs), to bring our own lives and understandings under radical scrutiny, to allow the text to examine us, rebound on us, as a fundamental challenge to our integrity. We give the Bible that much authority, not because we worship it, but because we are confident (we have heard about it happening to others or it has happened to us!) that the Holy Spirit is able to train its words on us, laser-like, and perform the soul-surgery that we need to become more whole, more real, more our true selves.
Victory Songs and Fish Fries
These reflections are precisely that: thoughts and questions mirrored from the text.
Seeking a New Thing
How we study scripture is as important as that we study it.
The Myth of Redemptive Violence
Exposing the roots of 'Might Makes Right'
God Is The Intercessor
Christians give words to the Spirit's longings
Prayer and the Powers
History belongs to the intercessors: co-creating with God through prayer
We Have Met the Enemy
On Not Becoming What We Hate
A Mind Full of Surprises
Remembering William Stringfellow, America's most important theologian.
Gift of Sexuality
We strongly disagree with the treatment of homosexuality in Foster's article "God's Gift of Sexuality."
The Powers Behind The Throne
An election year equation for discerning the spirits.