Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone


Thomas McKenzie's Blog.

Power and Secession

I have placed the fourth of my five-act series on the book of Colossians on the HajjPod podcast. Only one more to go.

Here are the some of the notes for the podcast, if you are interested.

Topic One: Imperial Power vs. Jesus’ Power

Colossians 3:1-4
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Psalm 110
The LORD says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”
The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of your enemies.”
Your troops will be willing on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor, your young men
will come to you like dew from the morning’s womb.
The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
The Lord is at your right hand;
he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
He will drink from a brook along the way,
and so he will lift up his head.

“Allow your imagination to be liberated to comprehend Christ’s legitimate rule.”
“Allow your ‘metanarrative’ to be directed by Christ’s heavenly rule from the seat of true power.”
“The redemptive rule of Christ is hidden, and so is the true meaning of your life”

Topic Two: Our True Home

Your have died with Christ (3:3)
You have been buried with Christ (2:12)
You have been raised with Christ (3:1)
Your mind is on him who is seated above (3:2)
You will appear with him in glory (3:4)

Topic Three: Secession

To withdraw formally from an alliance, federation,
or association, as from a political union, a religious organization, etc.

From the union of
self-gratification and self-annihilation,
secede into care for one another
and for the good gifts of Heaven and Earth
—Wendell Berry,
The Mad Farmer Secedes from the Union

Colossians 3:5-7
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you
once lived.

Secede from Consumerist Sexuality

“Consumerist Sexuality” is marked by exploiting
nature without thought of the consequences. It is sold on the promise of instant gratification with “no strings attached.”

“Committed Sexuality” is marked by two lovers held together by public vows of covenanted commitment to live together in God’s pattern. They have no interest in accumulating a multiplicity of consumerist sexual encounters because their relationship is enough. “And there is no word more offensive to a culture driven by unlimited economic growth that the word enough.” (Walsh and Keesmaat)

Secede from Idolatry

Hosea 4:1-3a

Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites,
because the LORD has a charge to bring
against you who live in the land:
“There is no faithfulness, no love,
no acknowledgment of God in the land.
There is only cursing, lying and murder,
stealing and adultery;
they break all bounds,
and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Because of this the land dries up,
and all who live in it waste away . . .

Secede from Violence

Colossians 3:8-12
8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Anger, wrath and malice all serve to reduce another person to a mere object of contempt. This further serves to justify any action taken against these now de-humanized objects. This is precisely opposite of Paul’s admonition that we are all members of one community with Christ the head of us all.

Uncomfortable Question
How will you secede from these things? What is one practical way you can secede from consumerist sexuality? From idolatry? From violence?