Friday, April 6, 2012

Interview about Tim Gombis' The Drama of Ephesians

Matthew Montonini did an interview with Tim Gombis about his book The Drama of Ephesians. Read the interview and you will know why the book is such a treasure. Here is one of the questions in the interview.

"Matthew Montonini: Could you talk a bit about Paul’s cruciform role in Ephesians 3.1-14, and how as actors in the gospel drama what are some of the ways we are to model ‘power in weakness’?

Tim Gombis: This was the most powerfully transformative passage for me personally. It is so utterly counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. We imagine that we will succeed personally and professionally through self-assertion and will advance in our careers (or in ministry!) through power-accumulation and the exercise of power over others.

But throughout Ephesians (and everywhere in Paul), the manner in which God triumphs in Christ sets the normative pattern for Christian discipleship. God triumphs through the death of Christ, he wins by losing. The victory of the powers was their defeat and the defeat of Christ was his victory. Paul draws the clear implication that if God triumphs through the cross, then cruciformity thoroughly shapes Christian communities and Christian lives.

I believe this is what Paul is getting at in Ephesians 3. His imprisonment is not a set-back, but the perfect place for God to magnify his triumph over the powers. God builds his church through the preaching of this shamed prisoner, this ‘least of all the saints’, rather than through someone with loads of social or political capital. For Paul, this makes perfect cruciform sense, and it is one of a number of passages that sets the normative ethical pattern for Christian existence.

How do we model that? By cultivating postures of servant-hood and humility in relationships, never exercising power over others nor relating manipulatively. For those who are well-practiced in (self-)destructive relational modes, our repentance is a bit more painful! But the way of life is the way of the cross."

Click here for the full interview.

1 comment:

Earning a Prophet's Wage said...

These thoughts really encourage me. I have been wrestling with just these notions of redemptive suffering vs. Redemptive violence. Of vocational suffering. of strength of God in my weakness and shame, of wisdom of God in my foolishness etc.

Not some hippy paradoxical statement while high on dope, but really embracing humiliation when every fiber of my being grasps at pride, and seeking God's hand in the service I give to the world in just that posture.

Thanks. This post blesses me too. I am glad I found your blog.