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Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination Paperback


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Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination + Unmasking the Powers (Powers, Vol 2) + Naming the Powers: The Language of Power in the New Testament (The Powers : Volume One)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 444 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press; Reprint edition (January 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080062646X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800626464
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Bulworth exposes the powers through rap sing song and renders them powerless by engaging them with ridicule.
James A. Shields
It is the basis of even our comic book heroes, of whom Wink observes "repentance and confession are as alien to them as the love of enemies and nonviolence."
Amazon Customer
Agree or disagree with Walter Wink but read this book and have the way you view the world shaken up, seriously.
G. Stephen Goode

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By David on November 25, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not a Christian, yet I found this book extremely insightful and compelling in its exploration of the violent basis of our civilization and how the message of Jesus, among others, is not only that of personal salvation, but one of perceiving with clarity the nature of the world, i.e. the Domination System that has blinded us to its true destructive nature.

The type of spiritually grounded, proactive, creative nonviolence advocated in this book is a complete paradigm shift, an entire dimension apart from the simplistic dichotomy of violence vs. "passivism" that most of us unfortunately believe are our only choices.

The book includes numerous examples and interesting Biblical exegesis on top of an incredibly insightful exploration of the myth of redemptive violence and the Domination System that comprises our human society.

Fundamental to Wink's analysis of our society is his assertion that spiritual Powers are real -- but not simply as angels floating in the clouds or demons waiting in hell to gloat over your soul, but as the psychospiritual complexes that are formed from collective human belief and energy. Our governmental and corporate institutions are themselves Powers, having a spiritual existence in the sense of having a Being above and beyond the sum of the individuals that comprise them (as well as enjoying legal status that puts them on the same footing as a human being!). Unrecognized, the Powers run amuck amongst us. We are slaves to our own creation, and blind to our slavery. Our allegiance to the Power of the national security state, for instance, blinds us to its own violence, opens us to being subverted to evil ends, allows us to be convinced that upholding democracy and freedom is synonymous with the killing of others.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By H.E. Pennypacker on July 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
I consider this book one of the most stimulating and penetrating books on Christian theology I have read. Wink's trenchant analysis of the dynamic of how nations/cultures/societies organize themselves around self-perpetuating "domination systems" is both accurate and profound. Everyone of any religious or political stripe can be illuminated by this aspect of the book, although there are many other contributions on this theme from other quarters.

In general, I am enthusiastic about this book because it is a much appreciated example of a new generation of Christian thinkers who are opening themselves to thinking outside the conventions of rigid conservatism yet marking a pathway for relevant & transforming spiritual vitality. Wink importantly grapples with the conservative traditionalist delineation of the biblical God as the source of sacred violence. A wrathful God who punishes and requires blood sacrifice even to the extent of requiring the sacrificial death of Jesus articulates a schizophrenic understanding of God that in the end is incongruous with absolute love. Wink along with other Christian thinkers such as Rene Girard, Rita Nakashima Brock, Rebecca Ann Parker, Jack Nelson Pallmeyer and many others are attempting to lead us to a more fully integrated concept of a loving God and that is to be heartily congratulated.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 8, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The thrust of the book is the world is in control of the Domination System, the powerful institutions that repress us, perpetuate violence upon us, and whose power is based upon the myth of redemptive violence--the idea the violence "saves." Wink powerfully shows that the myth of redemptive violence is the actual religion of our society, so deeply ingrained in us that we are unaware that we idolize it. It is the basis of even our comic book heroes, of whom Wink observes "repentance and confession are as alien to them as the love of enemies and nonviolence." Wink's analysis is profound because it encompasses intellectual, the physical, and the spiritual aspects our predicament. The gospel, or good news, of his book is centered on how Jesus introduced us the "Kingdom of God," the antithesis of the Domination System, and how radical Jesus's teachings were, not only 2,000 years ago but today as well. Jesus's teachings were influential in the early church, but Wink shows how when Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire, the Church became corrupted itself as an institution, and has remained so to this day--because most of it became part of the Domination System which needs to repress the truth. Using biblical analysis, Wink explains that persons and institution in our world are (1) created by God and therefore good, (2) fallen, and (3) in need of redemption. A first-class biblical scholar, Wink among other things decimates the blood-theory of atonement, citing it as another instance of "redemptive violence" and an idea that could hardly have sprung from God: "Jesus's message reveals that those who believe in divine violence are still mired in Satan's universe.Read more ›
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By James A. Shields on June 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
Substitute "domination system" for "world" and Christ's declaration the He is not of this "world" takes on new meaning. Wink explains how the writer of the book of Revelation was a seer who could see the spiritual realm of the domination system. The movie "Bulworth" captures Wink's theme. Jay Billington Bulworth is a U.S. senator, one of the "powers" who has fallen. A black homeless guy spots Bulworth after Bulworth begins his journey to redemption and says "ya gots to be a spirit, you can't be a ghost." Like John of Patmos who portrays the fallen spirits as dragons, the black homeless guy is a seer who sees the "powers" for what they are and instructs Bulworth to "sing your song". Bulworth exposes the powers through rap sing song and renders them powerless by engaging them with ridicule. Wink is on to something here. Non-violence is the major theme of his book but it goes way beyond a treatise on non-violence. Wink introduces his book with a description of five world views which put his theology into perspective. Most of us never think of these world views but we are profoundly affected by the way we view the world. The materialists are clearly in control of the church these days and Wink argues that it is only through an integrated world view that we have the possibility of changing the world. A sub-theme of the non-violence theme is the way our culture is controlled by the ancient Babylonian myth of redemptive violence. In a word, that myth is embodied in the strict Hollywood movie formula of the good guy getting beat up for most of the movie and resolving all matters in the end with an act of terrible violence. Come to think of it that pretty much describes what went on in the minds of the Littleton murderers. Wink's book is a very penetrating look at humanity.
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