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Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  551 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Have we really heard the message of Colossians? Is this New Testament book just another religious text whose pretext is an ideological grab for dominating power? Reading Colossians in context, ancient and contemporary, can perhaps give us new ears to hear.

In this innovative and refreshing book Brian J. Walsh and Sylvia C. Keesmaat explain our own sociocultural context to
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 4th 2004 by IVP Academic
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Laura Robinson
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Started out as an interesting take on Colossians through an anti-imperial lens with some exegetical issues here and there. Quickly became snobbish, smug, and sentimental. Particularly irritated at the authors' comments on public schools. It's pretty easy to say that we should resist a culture that tells us to "get an education and get ahead" when you're benefitted from public schools, have stable work, and live comfortably. I suspect there are a lot of families in poverty all over America ...more
Apr 03, 2009 marked it as reference
Shelves: lcc
maybe I'll read this all the way through someday... if my brain feels really strong.
Apr 23, 2009 added it
Good fun, if occasionally quite hard work! You'd want to be a little versed in post-modernity to get the best out if it. I like the conclusions they come to but I'm not completely convinced they they can come to them from Colossians, still feels at time that we want to make the bible (or in this case Paul) agree with us rather than accept that maybe he got it wrong :-)

random quotes
... the danger of wanting a god, without being willing to allow this god to speak in a voice that is radically other
Joel Wentz
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most refreshing and creative "commentaries" I've ever read (though the authors would probably cringe at the use of the word "commentary" to describe the book, it nonetheless functions that way). The authors do not shy away from specific claims of the political ramifications of the Christian life, but they also do a fantastic job at anticipating the questions/concerns/rebuttals many American Evangelicals would level at those claims. But the single aspect of this book that I ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Topics: Christ as Lord, Knowing truth through Revelation not rationality, Ecological Stewardship, Financial Stewardship (including where are you investing for retirement), generosity, working conditions for the products you buy(are you a slave master?) , Rome. the Roman context, Today's empires, politics, "the least of these".

A challenging, thought provoking book on what it means to follow Christ in an age where it seems the Church is not oppressed, not subjugated, and even perceives itself as
Christy Joy
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
It took me a bit longer to read this as it's fairly dense, but I appreciated the time the authors take to unpack Colossians, its socio-historic context, and what it might have to say to people in today's post-modern context.

Some of the ideas the authors discuss were quite familiar, but there were a number of things that stuck out to me, including: the discussion of the trajectory of pain and suffering that runs through the bible that has the potential to function as a counterideological
Bill Norton
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I was new and returning to faith and reading Colossians. A faculty member at Bethel University, where I was teaching, asked me if I had read this. I liked this book because, to me, the approach was more relevant to me living day to day and the style was a revolutionary way (to me) of looking at biblical text. I'm not a student of the Bible. I wish I were. I crave books outside the Bible that lead me to appreciate Scripture. For me, this book did that.
John Medendorp
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biblical-studies
Epic, cosmic, historical, compelling, imaginative, convicting, inspiring—everything the gospel should be!
Feb 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Colossians Remixed was the fad book among my friends a few years ago. I went into this book expecting it to be a quick and easy read, as most fad books are.

It was not.

But it was definitely worth taking the time to slowly read through it and digest its contents.

Colossians Remixed is the exploration of three narratives competing for attention in today's world. The first is Globalism, or "cybernetic global optimism," as the authors like to call it. It is belief in the story that the
Apr 20, 2010 rated it liked it
If I had read this book several years ago, I believe my review of it would have been even more positive. This is largely because this idea of subverting the empire was a fresh idea that was really beginning to take off in my mind and those of which I was reading. I was not at the point of reading more scholarly approaches to the concept(as this clearly is although extremely readable), but was learning how subversive Jesus was in the face of Rome at the time and so likewise as we found out here ...more
May 20, 2013 rated it liked it
I would have liked this book a lot if I had read it in 2004 when it was new. It would have resonated with things I was thinking and feeling at the time and depending on when I read it, may have influenced my thinking. As it stands, it simply affirms things I've already come to accept over the last decade.

This interpretation of Colossians asserts that Paul is doing anti-imperial theology, subverting the images and claims of Caesar. In the early and mid-Aughts this was refreshingly new for many of
Robert Irish
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It has taken me about a decade to actually read this book. I started it many years ago, but got bogged down. Parts of it are somewhat academic--discussions of Foucault and postmodernism--but ultimately it is a profound reading of Scripture in a way that opens out much. It demands a reader be ready to take on all of our presumptions about what the Bible says, about what it means to be godly, and especially about how we relate to our own Empire. I think the book is even more powerful and ...more
Sep 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a book I read because I wanted to stretch. I knew going in that it was something I'd likely not be comfortable with, but I hoped to gain understanding of "others" -- those I don't agree with. The shock was how much I agree with, and what discovered about myself.

Now the discomfort comes from being challenged to live a life that is in alignment with stated values and beliefs --not easy. This brings it directly to the choices I make and how I live everyday.

It's tough "chewy" read that I
Apr 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
This work explores the contemporary meaning of the ancient text of Colossians. This very intelligent and somewhat academic text uses “targums” (translations that significantly expand on the original text in order to reveal the original meaning to today’s culture). The authors pick through content in Colossians and elsewhere that argues that from the beginning followers of Israel’s God were meant to live out an anti-empire lifestyle. The empire in question today is a consumption-driven, ...more
A refreshing anti-commentary on Colossians. I took away some interesting thoughts and interpretations of Paul's epistle.

I found the argument, indeed the hermeneutic of the book became progressively weaker through the epistle. For those familiar with the epistle, this is perhaps unsurprising. The stronger sections of the commentary are those on chapters one and two, contrasting Paul's gospel and message to the Colossians with the meta-narrative of the Roman Empire. Walsh and Keesmaat's reading of
Sep 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: commentaries
this was at times a very good book and at times frustrating. There method and conclusions were quite challenging and worth the read to the standard "safe" evangelical commentaries. I recommend for the discerning reader because I felt their interpretative decisions were too secular in nature. The issue is with who are the "powers, rulers, authorities" Paul refers too. Their point of the subversion in the book against Rome was very good and should be considered in way most American Christians ...more
Mike Curtiss
May 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bestofthebest
A pseudo-commentary of Colossians based on reading it from our postmodern context. Teaches the reader a lot about postmodernity, empire, and how people today respond to the bible. One awesome thing is how the authors (a husband/wife team) commit at the beginning of the book to not recommend any applications that they are not already doing themselves (for example: growing food in a garden -- yes!).
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Walsh and Kessmaat are now personal inspirations to me. They have taken Wright's own Biblical theology and incapsulated what they theology means for us here today even better than he has, and have pushed it much further then he has. Colossians Remixed is a book about Colossians, but also about how to engage postmodernism, and what the Christian church should look like in the shadow of Empire. An impressive work by all standards.
Sep 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is an amazing example of how to produce contemporary applications from ancient writings. Keesmaat and Walsh cover such a wide array of topics that it can be dizzying, but by grounding the letter to the Colossians in the context of the Roman empire, they make some extremely salient applications to our role in "subverting the empire" of consumerism and militarism today. I think this is a must read.
Sep 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Melanie by: J. Ferguson
Shelves: nonfic
At times, I was frustrated with the way this book was written, but it deserves four stars for how it has enriched my thinking about truth and the ways that much of Christian life today is yet shaped by a response to the "empire." I read this as part of my preparation for leading a girls' Bible study on Colossians this fall.
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I put this book in the "top ten books that changed my faith" list. The book deals with the topic of being a Christian in a context of Empire, specifically America. While I didn't agree with everything that it said it did awaken the social advocacy side of my faith that I had never even considered. The only down side is the format. I don't find the dialogue format engaging but distracting.
Song Summers
Feb 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I was stretched and convicted as I saw myself so easily swayed by the world and what the world says is good. I especially like how Walsh and Keesmaat studied the book of Colossians in today's context and what an ancient text would read today.
May 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
I love all of the ideas in this book and found myself really wanting to believe it was true. However, I don’t think that Walsh does a good job of proving that the first century Christians did in fact interpret the letter of Colossians in this way.
Jun 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book that ties the Modernistic capitalistic views to that of Roman society during the time of Paul. Understanding why Paul makes the statement in Colossians 1:17-23, letting you Jesus is bigger then Caesar and Disney, HBO & Coca Cola combined
Frank Peters
Jul 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
outstanding commentary about and for a postmodern culture
Jamie Roach
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great book. Very challenging. I found it to be very helpful in providing guidance for navigating through a postmodern context in a way that is faithful to Christ and the cross.
Nov 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Intellectual Christians
Shelves: theology
Strong argument, attractive politics, and nuanced, complex philosophy. The novelty-gags got a little old though. Very inspiring.
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Meh, post-modernist and a little too dismissive of, well, everything. This book is ambitious, but it hardly succeeds at destabilizing everything it wants to. Worth a read once.
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A study of Christianity as a subversive force to Empire. I met the author at Cornerstone.
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Parts insightful. Found it frustrating at times and not worth the time or effort required. I came away with some helpful insights.
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“What was true of an ancient community of Christian believers struggling with a powerful and appealing philosophy is also true for Christians in a postmodern context. Arguments that deconstruct the regimes of truth at work in the late modern culture of global capitalism are indispensable. So also is a deeper understanding of the counterideological force of the biblical tradition. But such arguments are no guarantee that the biblical metanarrative will not be co-opted for ideological purposes of violent exclusion, nor do arguments prove the truth of the gospel. Only the nonideological, embracing, forgiving and shalom-filled life of a dynamic Christian community formed by the story of Jesus will prove the gospel to be true and render the idolatrous alternatives fundamentally implausible.” 5 likes
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