syllabus: Readings in Surviving Empire

Readings in Surviving Empire (Practical Theology 101)

Spring (and maybe Summer and probably Fall) 2015

Instructor: Me

This course is designed (with plenty of input from wise friends and companions) by myself for myself. The goal of the course is threefold:

a) to be reminded of the rich and diverse resources within the Christian tradition that witness to, offer up and put into practice modes of discipleship that are bent – either intentionally or coincidentally – away from or piercing through or in opposition to the totalizing power of Empire;

b) to reflect deeply and prayerfully on the context of near-unadulterated Empire in which I keep getting called to be in community, service and ministry;


c) to bring these – resources and reflections – to bear, one on the other, equally informative, equal parts of creating theological meaning.

Also, (fourfold!) to think more, whine less, engage the world and fulfill an intention of writing regularly.

Also too, to have some freakin’ FUN.

Reading list:

indeximagination paradise faith

William Cavanaugh, Torture and Eucharist: Theology, Politics and the Body of Christ (Wiley-Blackwell, 1998).

Willie James Jennings, The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (Yale, 2010).

Wes Howard-Brook, Come Out, My People: God’s Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond

Rita Nakashima Brock & Rebecca Ann Parker, Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire (Beacon, 2009).

Mitri Raheb, Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible Through Palestinian Eyes (Orbis, 2014).


For each book, the student (me) will be required to write an essay of indeterminate length applying the major concepts of the work to some particular situation, dynamic, conversation or consideration of the immediate lived context. That is, to explore how the theology is or is not directly related to discipleship on the ground, in either personal or communal or congregational life. Each essay will be posted here, on this blog.

In Addition:

This syllabus is a) subject to change; b) open to interpretation; c) begging for scrutiny and critique from others who have already engaged in similar undertakings and might offer a more excellent text, assignment, or conversation.


  1. Jan king · May 2, 2015

    Tell me more! Face to face, or online?


  2. danacassell · May 2, 2015

    It’s really just a syllabus I set up for myself, Jan. But I’d love online conversation with others who want to read along with me. I’ve written on Torture & Eucharist already, and am just starting to read The Christian Imagination.


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