Hero photograph
Photo by Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

“He Had Made a Scourge of Small Cords”: Postcolonialism and the Problematics of the Nonviolent Christ

Jackson T. Reinhardt —

Even in the midst of a contagious and deadly pandemic, the world has not seen an end to protests against the powerful.

In the United States, the killing of African American George Floyd at the knee of a white police officer re-ignited the “Black Lives Matter” movement as protests spanning the country and the globe. In India, there is (as of writing) an ongoing strike by farmers, numbering in the hundreds of millions, against the perceived corporatist agricultural policies of the nation’s governing administration. The world is full of multitudes of the dispossessed and disgruntled, wanting change of systems and a reclamation of personal and collective agency. In this article, I provide a paradigm of nonviolent ethical action, directed squarely at the oppressed underclasses of the world, based on a postcolonial analysis of the actions, words, and teachings of Jesus. I believe this paradigm can speak to churches and secular activists alike: it provides a flexible, ever-changing strategy of nonviolent resistance that, while grounded in the Gospels, nonetheless gives immense freedom of praxis for Christians suffering the continual hardships of racial, economic, political, and/or spiritual oppression. I hope this paradigm can influence and impact future protests.

In the decades following European decolonisation, postcolonial theory, or postcolonialism, arose in comparative literature departments across the Western academy. The theory’s adherents sought to determine how colonialist ideology and discourse, consciously and/or unconsciously, influenced historical and contemporary fiction. Yet, postcolonialism quickly spread beyond debates concerning the problematics of Rudyard Kipling and began to investigate how colonialism not only affects various other forms of media (non-fiction, sacred scriptures, film and television, etc.) but also means by which our contemporary reality, especially in the global south, is conditioned by the lasting, latent ideological vestiges of the colonialist paradigm (frequently referred to as neo-colonialism). Noted postcolonial biblical scholar R. J. Sugirtharajah cogently frames postcolonialism as:

a critical enterprise aimed at unmasking the links between ideas and the power which lies behind Western texts, theories, and learning…[it] is not about the territorial ejection of imperial powers or about learning … the art of cursing the evils of empire … [instead] it is a discursive resistance to imperialism, imperial ideologies, and imperial attitudes and to their continual reincarnations in such wide fields as politics, economics, history, and theological and biblical studies. Resistance is not simply a reaction to colonial practice, but an alternative way of perceiving and restructuring society.[1]

In what follows I attempt to present a paradigm whereby the oppressed can be liberated nonviolently from contemporary forms of colonialism. A postcolonial optic methodologically aims to "deconstruct the texts, interpretations, ideologies, labels, forms of knowledge, symbolic practices…that have been authored by the dominant group in order to unmask the way they legitimate and reinscribe colonial interests.”[2]

Postcolonialism is inherently emancipatory insofar as it attempts to link these new re-readings with “the experiences of the diverse so-called others ... [and] relevant … postcolonial interests.”[3] In other words, postcolonialism shows how texts, notions, and even methods of action truly serve the interests of empire, global capitalism, and oppressive ideologies, etc. In addition, they explicitly focus on the interests and issues of those residing in the postcolony. Thus, I utilise a postcolonial optic on both the theory of postcolonialism itself—particularly its ideological but influential precursor decolonialism—as well as texts within the Christian canon, both of which attest to detail a narrative of liberation for those oppressed.


I seek to address problematic notions concerning violence and liberation that exist within both postcolonial theory and Christianity. The former, postcolonial theory, exists in a state of ethical dualism in which major figures in the movement embrace either revolutionary violence or passive pacifism, both in an attempt to instil agency in the subaltern, a term denoting the colonized, usually indigenous population excluded from the machinations of political, social, and/or economic power. The latter, Christianity, which is fast growing in the global south, provides no clear position on violence, with particular ambiguity in the Gospel traditions. At times, violence in either postcolonialism or Christianity appears to mimic the violent methods imperial orders utilise to suppress their enemies. In order to bridge this gap, my thesis is thus: in the face of continual injustice, Christians should embrace a “postcolonial creative nonviolent paradigm” that ethically resists continual modalities of colonial oppression and formulates a sense of individual and collective autonomy. This paradigm desires for subaltern peoples, especially in Christian communities, to employ nonviolent tactics that are contextually relevant, holistically empowering, and eschews rote application of the letter of Jesus’ teachings. The proposal allows the Bible to function, not as a strict and demanding moralistic document, but as a source of perpetual inspiration for nonviolent resistance uncoupled from colonialising tendencies that can potentially lead towards destruction and/or further oppression.

I intend this article to advance the discussion into the means by which postcolonial biblical interpretation can combine with the field of ethics to provide suggestions of action for the subaltern, Christian or not. Research has been unduly academic and frequently focused on the problematic, embedded colonialist ideology of texts, speaking little on how such interpretations can be applied in the realm of the church and polity. In this sense, I hope this article can potentially serve the needs of those organising resistance to colonialism, wherever it may still exist.

The Problem of Violence in Postcolonialism and Christianity

Several of the prophetic and ideological forerunners of the contemporary postcolonial movement were ardent defenders of violence against the imperial status quo. Franz Fanon, psychiatrist and a principal theoretical figure during global decolonisation, stands above the rest in both his literary endorsement of and active participation in violence against colonialism. In his eulogy to Fanon, French poet Aimé Césaire remarked that while the psychiatrist utilised a violence that was, in actuality, non-violent: “his violence … [was] the violence of justice, of purity and intransigence ... his revolt was ethical and his endeavour generous.”[4] Decolonization advocates, from Fanon to Che Guevara, saw their violence as an ethical intervention contra the evils of ruthless and dehumanising colonialism. Robert J. C. Young sees a medical analogy in this violent ethos: “to cure the open wound of colonial rule ... surgical intervention [is necessary].”[5]

Fanon, Guevara, and company saw nonviolent resistance, such as the variation propounded by Gandhi, as virtual malpractice: it not only allows the colonial paradigm to face no serious, physical threat to its rule, but it placates Western mores instead of initiating liberating justice. In The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon believed the colonised subject acquires self-respect and emancipatory agency when they “engaged in revolutionary anti-colonial violence, where violence … [results in] a form of self-translation … [the colonized become] subjects, not objects, of history.”[6] While postcolonial criticism has primarily been the work of scholars working in Occidental research universities, this decolonial, Fanonian legacy is not irrelevant. In fact, it is a serious position for all oppressed individuals and groups to consider when they engage in challenging perpetual and wide-scale injustice.

Yet, how does the oppressed Christian respond to this position? Does the global-south religious dissident or wage-slave, when combating the neo-colonial political and economic powers, take up arms with his colonial siblings?[7] Postcolonial criticism rightly demonstrates that the Bible has been and is currently utilised for both emancipatory and oppressive purposes. As Walter Wink notes, nonviolence resistance—especially the type advocated by peace-conscious Westerners—has been seen as “the injunction to be submissive to authorities ... to accept floggings and blows obsequiously.”[8] However, Paul beseeches the reader to have the “same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5).[9] Christians are thus to align their own behaviour with Jesus. But, in what way does Christ’s message and ministry inform the subjugated Christian’s understanding of violence and then respond to their ongoing exploitation? Does Jesus demand absolute passivity to the powers that be, or can revolutionary fervour be initiated with a cross and rifle?

Violence in the Gospels

In the fourfold Gospel presentation of Jesus’ ministry, there is essentially no uniform ethic of violence. There are many, stirring instances where it appears Jesus rejects any usage of force against physical and institutional oppressors. In Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, Jesus implores the audience that “if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also” and “if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile” (Matt 5:39, 41). Jesus famously rebukes a violent, knives-out attitude as inherently self-destructive when he states that “all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt 26:52). How can one do violence on others when we are supposed to “love [our] enemies” and pray for our persecutors (Matt. 5:44)?

At these moments, such as in Luke, Jesus appears to be friendly with representatives of the tyrannical Roman imperial order—Christ declares a Roman Centurion in Luke 7:1-10 to have more faith than all of Israel, for example. He does not call upon the Centurion to drop his weapons, reject the violence of Caesar, or free his slave. No, because the Centurion is deeply courteous and reverential with Christ, the latter heals the former’s dying servant.[10] Indeed, while Christ does not endorse the violence of Caesar or slavery, Luke’s Jesus is surely no openly anti-imperial figure. As Seyoon Kim forcefully remarks, “Luke does not think that the redemption that Jesus has brought has to do with overthrowing the Roman imperial system…[he does not] condemn Pilate’s brutality or the oppressiveness of the Roman rule, let alone call for a fight against it.”[11] Additionally, Luke also has Jesus recommend to his disciples that if “one who has no sword he must sell his cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36). While this act is, most likely, for self-defense,[12] it is odd counsel considering Christ’s warning in Matthew 26.

In John, one witnesses the most explicit act of Jesus’ violence: as he sees that there are moneylenders in the Temple, he “[made] a whip of cords ... drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle … [and] poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables” (John 2:15, cf. Matt 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:45-48).[13] John’s Jesus does not merely overthrow tables and merchandise. He makes a weapon (contra the Synoptics) and employs it against the money changers.

Thus, in three different Gospels there are three divergent attitudes Jesus has towards violence: pacifistic, ambiguous, and arguably indirectly supportive or endorsement—in particular circumstances—of violent behaviour. In light of these attitudes, it seems developing a coherent approach to violence Christologically might potentially be futile: one would have to make arbitrary and historically suspect decisions about where Jesus is presenting his authentic perspective on violence.

Yet, examining Jesus’ actions and words as they pertain to his present reality in the first-century context does not consider Christ’s message concerning divine and/or eschatological violence. Throughout the Gospels, particularly the Synoptics and especially Matthew, Jesus remarks, both directly and in parables, that the wicked will either/both suffer horrific, eternal torment in the afterlife or during the parousia. In an enigmatic, but blunt pronouncement, Jesus tells his disciples that he “did not come to bring peace, but the sword” (Matt 10:34). According to Dale C. Allison, “divine judgement does not appear in a mere isolated verse or two in the canonical gospels; it is a rather significant element of the Jesus tradition as we have it.”[14] One cannot read the Gospels without coming upon the extreme violence that will fall upon those opposed to Christ. In the ending to nearly every parable in Matthew, which features the most nonviolent Jesus, Christ gives elaborate explication on the expected brutal consequences of the wicked:

[T]hrowing them into a fiery furnace, binding them hand and foot, casting them into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, putting them to a miserable death, cutting and breaking them into pieces and crushing them, destroying murderers and burning their city, depriving them of the presence of God, and putting them with hypocrites or with the devil and his angels for all eternity ...[15]

The punishment to be inflicted upon Christ’s enemies is a totalising and unending destruction. Even if many of these descriptions are metaphorical or hyperbolic, the ubiquity of their appearance in the Gospels indicates that Jesus taught extraordinary violence will ultimately fall upon evildoers. As early Christians believed that Christ was soon returning (Matt 24:34, cf. 1 Thess. 4:15-17),[16] the unimaginable violence described would fall upon the contemporaneous rulers, rich, and ruffians.

Benny Liew sees the preponderance of apocalyptic rhetoric and violence in Mark as a “dystopian” reapplication of imperial power structures. Through the parousia—in which Jesus will reappear in power and judgement with an entourage of angelic warriors (Mark 8:38)—the entire earthly political order will be aligned with God’s reign and the “wicked authorities” will be utterly destroyed. Christ is characterised as a figure of divine and unquestionable authority—“those who criticize him are ‘guilty of an eternal sin’” (Mk. 3:29).[17] Mark’s Jesus

duplicates the colonial non-choice of “serve-or-be destroyed” ... [which is] based on … [a] colonial rationalization of Mark ... that certain people have proven to be too barbaric, too evil, or too underdeveloped to be given autonomy, or ... the right to live.”[18]

To Liew, Jesus is thus reinscribed as a divine emperor who will extract violent retribution against earthly enemies—eschatological violence is imperialised. He argues that, within this imperialized eschaton, only those prostrating in prayer will be spared from civilising annihilation. Liew concludes by noting that the same hierarchical/colonial power structures that subjugated the first-century Jesus followers, and currently oppress billions across the globe, have been appropriated by Mark’s Christ. [19]

Postcolonial Creative Nonviolence

By examining the totality of Jesus’ statements on violence, as well as the underlying notions embedded within such statements, one is only able to comment upon a pervasive ambivalence and ambiguity. There is never explicit affirmation or negation, but a variety of viewpoints with only one sure position: the wicked shall be punished — although, what that punishment precisely looks like is also hard to determine. Yet, if Jesus does not provide a clear answer to the question of revolutionary violence, how can the oppressed achieve dignity, agency, and potential liberation in the midst of structural injustice? How can subaltern Christians of the postcolony avoid embracing aspects of Jesus’ message which seem to reinforce hierarchical systems of power, as per Liew’s analysis of Mark?

I contend that the oppressed do not need, in the Fanonian sense, revolutionary violence to achieve either dignity in the face of or potential emancipation from injustice. Trying to abide exactly with Jesus’ words concerning violence will only lead to paradoxical paralysis or an inadvertent endorsement of hierarchical power structures. Rather, Jesus’ message should be a launching pad by which creative, liberative, and proactive nonviolence is formulated and utilised. Regardless of whether Jesus’ words can be construed to justify revolutionary violence, the oppressed Christians should take the ethical high ground against the systems and instigators of injustice., lest they be perceived as accommodative to exploitative power! While responding to long-term, debilitating inequity with rifles and bombs may be emotionally satisfying, it is merely mirroring— if not agreeing—with tactics employed by the agents of oppression: that harmful force is a legitimate means to achieve one’s ends. To escape colonialism, one should escape the methods by which colonialism is enforced. A creative nonviolent paradigm not only promotes ethical superiority and human dignity, but it avoids the lure of colonialist coercion via a self-conscious commitment to an anti-colonial paradigm.

I am not defining nonviolence as simply passive pacifism— the universal refrain from my act of coercion. Rather, I find Michael J. Nojeim’s notion of the violence/nonviolence continuum to be helpful. He writes that “strictly speaking, no activity and no industry is possible without a certain amount of violence.”[20] Thus, what distinguishes the activities is the intention by which the coercion is deployed: “With violence, the aim is to deliberately harm the opponent in order to compel … [their] defeat or destruction.”[21] While, with nonviolence, “some harm is being done, the intention is not to destroy the opponent, which is contrary to violence.”[22] Nonviolence looks both to minimise coercion and instigate change— personally and/or structurally— without an attempt to inflict harm.

Walter Wink and the Nonviolent Jesus

In Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way, Walter Wink provides an example of how Christians can practice creative nonviolence with inspiration from the Gospels.[23] Wink discusses three instances from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:39-41) in which Christ implores his audience to avoid both reactive resistance and passive resignation but to instead embrace an anti-hierarchical, nonviolent protest. Sayings such as “turn the other cheek,” “give the undergarment,” and “go the second mile,” have been dogmatically interpreted as universal prescriptions for all people at all times. Wink elaborates that these actions are contextual recommendations to a subject people, who regularly had to suffer humiliation, subjugation, exploitation, and physical violence at the hands of the political, economic, and religious elite. Jesus’ listeners are not

those who strike, initiate lawsuits, or impose forced labor, but their victims … [people] forced to stifle their inner outrage at the dehumanizing treatment meted out to them by the hierarchical system of caste and class…[and] imperial occupation.”[24]

Jesus thus provided a message of creative nonviolence for a subject people. When Jesus exhorts his audience to “go the second mile,” this saying is properly understood in a Roman imperial context, which “could scarcely have been lost on Jesus’ hearers ...”[25] Soldiers could forcibly impress a civilian to carry their weight load for exactly one mile, but no more according to military law. If a civilian thus decides to take the initiative and continue to carry the soldier’s load for an extra mile, the troop is thrown off-balance. To Jesus and his followers, this would have been a humorous antic: the haughty soldier’s superiority has vanished and now he must beg the lowly, impressed subject to return his supplies. By performing acts such as turning the other cheek, giving one’s undergarment to debtors, and utilising the laws of the unjust against them, an oppressed subject has exposed the logical consequences of exploitation. They have replied to coercion with humour and mockery, created agency out of servitude, and seized a moral initiative without recourse to physical violence. The Jesus community saw the injustice around them and found methods by which evil could be and was exposed. While there was always hope for repentance by evildoers, Jesus’ examples show that victims need not wait for the miraculous: they can take initiative in even the most humiliating moments and reclaim dignity.

Wink notes that Jesus’ humorous, liberative, and contextual examples have been deadened into legalistic prescriptions. Christ’s attempt to “nerve the powerless” in order to “assert their humanity under inhuman conditions has been turned into ... a prohibition on schoolyard fistfights between peers.”[26] Jesus’ insights are, instead, “infinitely malleable”[27] — the examples are not supposed to be followed literally, but they are inspirational, “the impetus for discovering creative alternatives that transcend the only two that we are conditioned to perceive: submission or violence …”[28] To Wink, the “creative, ironic, playful quality of Jesus’ teaching has been buried” by advocates of fight or flight.[29]

This inspirational attitude thus cuts the gordian knot of Jesus’ ambiguity towards violence. As his message was a contextual one to subject people, so too should the contemporary oppressed construct circumstantial, creative, and transformative nonviolent responses to injustice. This intentional epistemic paradigm, in which one always looks for creative nonviolent reactions to power, is possessing the “same mind of Christ,” rather than a blind, fruitless application of the scattered passages from Jesus’ ministry. This does not entail a rejection of his ethical teachings; they should be considered in the process of formulating a nonviolent reaction. Yet, neither dogmatically enforcing a “turn the other cheek” submissionist attitude towards an ethnicity on the verge of genocide or advocating a disruptive, counterproductive revolutionary ethos—which only perpetuates active hostility towards the oppressed — are Christological mindsets.

Nonviolence and Implementation

In the post-colonial, globalised world, the practice of establishing alternative communities and economies aligns with this Christological creative nonviolent. One need not bow to Mammon or kill it, but merely perform the radical action of turning-around or speaking truth to that power. Both Wink and Young give countless demonstrations of how the oppressed construct such alternative social systems without engaging in industrial or physical violence.

Wink contrasts how Eastern European nations in the 1960s resisted Soviet imperialism, “the armed revolt in Hungary was crushed ... at the cost of ... six thousand Hungarian lives,” with tens of thousands tortured and sent to    Gulags.[30] In Czechoslovakia, “spontaneous nonviolent resistance was mounted, seventy died, and political prisoners were released.[31] I give this example, not as a historical argument that armed revolution is completely inefficacious (obviously one can point to the success of Algeria and Cuba), but that nonviolent resistance, such as demonstrated by the Czech, can create emancipatory fissures within an oppressive social system whereby justice is fulfilled.

Young discusses the Movimento Sem Terra (MST) which sought to combat the scourge of landlessness in late-20th century Brazil. By encouraging the landless to occupy and till uncultivated areas of land, hundreds of thousands of farmers were able to win recognition of the right to utilise that land. While Young admits that “there have been violent clashes between the peasant farmers, landowners, and police,” the MST went beyond mere land-occupation and developed a holistic alternative community in which the organisation “established food cooperatives, primary schools, and literary programmes in their settlements.”[32] MST is not a perfect, or particularly Christian, example, but they demonstrate the broad change that creative nonviolence can initiate: the MST, by examining their social context, saw an opportunity to secure agency for hordes of landless farmers without recourse to a Maoist-style peasant-guerilla warfare,[33] and in the process create spaces of alternative social arrangements. A postcolonial creative nonviolent is not merely about achieving the moral upper hand in person-to-person conflict, but, in however small a context, fostering an ethos and attitude that gives dignity to the oppressed and establish alternative communities[34] that repudiate the hierarchical domination of contemporary neo-colonialism.

What about divine violence—Gehenna, the parousia, and other ethereal acts of destruction? How does this nonviolent paradigm address those sayings of Jesus? As Sandford notes, “the concept of ‘hell’ has long been used by hegemonic forces to instill fear in people.”[35] Yet, this represents a profound irony: “Jesus used the threat of divine violence on those who neglected the needy, and for condemnation on the rich who are the authors and sustainers of structural, objective violence.[36] I said above that this creative nonviolence does not need for mutual repentance: the colonised are reclaiming agency whether the oppressor sees their injustice or not. The threat of divine retribution can itself be a nonviolent means of encouraging repentance and transformation among the oppressors, especially if they share the same faith. There is no harm inflicted upon the unjust, merely a verbal confirmation that God is on the side of the oppressed. Of course, this perspective must be thoroughly decolonised: the imperial appropriation of the parousia and Kingdom of God, as elaborated by Liew, cannot be utilised. Thus, just as the colonised find ingenious means of nonviolent resistance, a further goal is to construct a postcolonial eschatology devoid of such reinscription. Yet, just as with earthly violence, Jesus’ words are the starting point towards that theology, not the end in themselves.


I have hoped to demonstrate that the colonised Christian, in the face of structurally ingrained oppression, can avoid either revolutionary violence or submissive pacifism by appealing to radical suggestions of Jesus in the synoptic tradition. A postcolonial creative nonviolent paradigm, while based in the Bible, allows for adherents to always be seeking for new, contextualised, emancipatory means of protests beyond the letter of the text. While beholden to certain key principles, this paradigm allows for re/action against oppression in specific means that pertain to the conditions of the colonised, more than the frequently moralising attitudes of Western middle-class Christians.

Jackson T. Reinhardt is a graduate of Vanderbilt Divinity School with a Master of Theological Studies.

[1] R. J. Sugirtharajah, Asian Biblical Hermeneutics and Postcolonialism (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 17 (emphasis mine).

[2] Gordon Zerbe, “The Politics of Paul: His Supposed Social Conservatism and the Impact of Postcolonial Readings,” in The Colonized Apostle, ed. Christopher D. Stanley (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2011), 63.

[3] Gordon Zerbe, “The Politics of Paul,” 63.

[4] Quoted in Robert J. C. Young, Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 129.

[5] Young, Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction, 129.

[6] Young, Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction, 146.

[7] I agree with Oseni Taiwo Afisi’s assessment, “Post-colonial studies have shown extensively that despite achieving independence, the influences of colonialism and its agents are still very much present in the lives of most former colonies. Practically, every aspect of the ex-colonized society still harbors colonial influences.”Oseni Taiwo Afisi, “Neocolonialism,” in Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed March 25, 2021, https://iep.utm.edu/neocolon/.

[8] Walter Wink, Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 3.

[9] All biblical quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

[10] One may contend that, as Luke adapts and endorses Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:17-49), that Jesus’ healing of the centurion’s slave is an actualization of the command to love one’s enemies and do good to them (Luke 6:27), especially since the miracle comes right after this teaching. Yet, there is nowhere in the text where Jesus indicates that the soldier (or Rome) is his enemy. Jesus is motivated to heal the servant because a group persuades him due to the centurion being “worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us” (Luke 7:4-5).

[11] Seyoon Kim, Christ and Caesar The Gospel and the Roman Empire in the Writings of Paul and Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008). 95.

[12] See Thomas Kattathara, The Snag of the Sword: An Exegetical Study of Luke 22:35-38 (New York, Peter Lang, 2014).

[13] Even in light of Christ’s “cleansing,” Richard Horsley remarks that “there is no evidence that Jesus advocated violence, either, at least, not overt individual acts of violence,” Jesus and the Spiral of Violence: Popular Jewish Resistance in Roman Palestine (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987), 318. Yet, Marxist theologian José Porfirio Miranda⁠— appealing to John 2⁠— comes to an opposite conclusion, stating that “Jesus used physical violence is a fact that cannot be denied.” He asks humorously, “Or does flabby theology think we exhorted them out of the temple,” José Porfirio Miranda, Communism in the Bible, translated by Robert R. Barr (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, [1982] 2004), 77, 78. 

[14] Quoted in Michael J. Sandford, Poverty, Wealth, and Empire: Jesus and Postcolonial Criticism (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014), 180.

[15] Barbara E. Reid, “Violent Endings in Matthew's Parables and Christian Nonviolence,” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 66, no. 2 (2004), 250.

[16] There is considerable debate on the issue of whether Jesus, and by extension Paul, truly endorsed an imminent eschaton. Ben Witherington III remarks that “while some early Jews and Christians did believe that the world would definitely end in the first century [CE]…Jesus and Paul were…[not] among them.” He argues “their beliefs about the certainty and the character of the end of human history, not some belief about its timing, account for the way Jesus and Paul speak.” Ben Witherington III, Jesus, Paul and the End of the World (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 10. Emphasis original. This position, I believe, fails to account for texts which strongly suggest the opposite view. Dale Allison contends that the Synoptics— particularly Mark 9:1, 10:23, and 13:30— contain “statements that explicitly make the eschatological kingdom of God temporally near…” Imminent eschatology is visible in “the parables that advise people to watch for the coming of the Lord or the Son of Man, with the pronouncements of eschatological woes on contemporaries, and with the miscellaneous complexes that either announce or presuppose that the final fulfillment of God’s saving work is nigh.” Dale C. Allison, Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1998), 148-151. Discussions of Paul’s eschatology fall outside this paper, but Kim includes a quick, but thorough, explication of the apostle’s belief in an imminent eschaton and the imperial implications of that belief. Christ and Caesar The Gospel and the Roman Empire in the Writings of Paul and Luke, 50-54

[17] Tat-siong Benny Liew, “The Gospel of Mark” in A Postcolonial Commentary of the New Testament Writings, eds. Fernando F. Segovia and R. S. Sugirtharajah (New York: T&T Clark International, 2009), 115.

[18] Liew, “The Gospel of Mark,” 116.

[19] As Liew states, “[Jesus] demands the submission of everybody, and thus also the annihilation of those who do not submit…Mark is…no different from the ‘might-isright’ ideology that has led to colonialism, imperialism, and various forms of suffering and oppression.” “The Gospel of Mark, 117.

[20] Michael J. Nojeim, Gandhi and King: The Power of Nonviolent Resistance (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004), 9. I utilize this resource from Nojeim for purely definitional and analytical purposes. The scope and purpose of this paper prohibits any extended analysis on the nonviolent theory and praxis of Gandhi and/or Martin Luther King Jr. Of course, their past works should be a constant source of inspiration for nonviolent advocates. The postcolonial creative nonviolence allows for Christians to utilize a wide variety of prior historical sources and precedents in their fight for ethnical justice. Yet, Jesus gave historically-culturally contextual examples for potential nonviolent resistance, which I elaborate on. I believe it would be to the detriment of contemporary subaltern Christians to be completely beholden to nonviolent strategies that arose in opposition to specific historical actors in specific historical situations. This determination of usefulness, obviously, is up the nonviolent participants.

[21] Nojeim, Gandhi and King: The Power of Nonviolent Resistance, 9.

[22] Nojeim, Gandhi and King: The Power of Nonviolent Resistance, 11.

[23] Wink was not a postcolonial biblical critic. Yet, his scholarship examined the intersection between contemporary nonviolence struggle (many times in postcolonial contexts), the Roman imperial realities and conditions of first-century Palestine, and New Testament research. Thus, I believe it is appropriate to utilize Wink’s arguments for this discussion. See Sandford, Poverty, Wealth, and Empire: Jesus and Postcolonial Criticism, 168-171 for a postcolonial consideration of Wink’s work.

[24] Wink, Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way, 15. Emphasis mine.

[25] Wink, Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way, 28.

[26] Wink, Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way, 33.

[27] Wink, Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way, 33.

[28] Wink, Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way, 34.

[29] Wink, Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way, 34.

[30] Wink, Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way, 53.

[31] Wink, Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way, 53. Emphasis mine.

[32] Young, Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction, 46-47.

[33] Peasant revolution was a tactic employed by the Shining Path in Brazil’s neighbouring country Peru. That conflict— which is technically still ongoing— led to tens of thousands dead and the autocratisation of the nation under Pres. Fujimori.

[34] These alternative communities need not be extensive, or even physical. I am reminded of Jesus’ saying, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matt 18:20). Just as with the Church, there need not be a physical building or numerous participants within an alternative community, but a prevailing will to enact transformative, liberating justice.

[35] Sandford, Poverty, Wealth, and Empire: Jesus and Postcolonial Criticism, 182.

[36] Sandford, Poverty, Wealth, and Empire: Jesus and Postcolonial Criticism, 183. Emphasis original.