False Gods and the Power of Love

When Walter Wink was writing Engaging the Powers, the practical magnum opus of his book series on the biblical concept of principalities and powers, he stumbled over economics. One long chapter turned into two and then was withdrawn altogether over doubts that he'd sufficiently treated the mushrooming complexity of the commercial powers. Ironically, nowhere is the "domination system" that Wink identified in his series more prominent or pertinent than in corporate globalization.

Globalization, broadly, is a moving theological target: a historic configuration of economic, technological, political, corporate, ideological, cultural, even religious powers in processes of competition and collusion, whose outcome is far from certain. "And don't speak too soon," Bob Dylan once sang, "for the wheel's still in spin." Still, we best look this thing biblically and theologically in the face.

To the bewilderment of our churches and communities, urban neighborhoods are being altered beneath our feet—by globalization, above all by its corporate form. Family farms, campos, and swaths of countryside are being seized and decimated. Local cultures and political economies are being strip-mined, pre-empted, or in some cases flat-out destroyed. Creation is being assaulted and despoiled. Even the terrorism that so exercises the American consciousness is a fact of globalization. Its emblem, the 9-11 tower collapse, was reputedly set in motion by an expansive religious and ideological network that turned the vehicles of global transport against the central symbols of worldwide economic and military power.

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 2003
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