“Understanding discipleship .. could be helped by introducing the language of “empire”. Empire is .. the principalities and powers at work in the world to exert its will in the form of politics (Eph 6:12). The empire is in rebellion toward God because of sin. The empire exploits, commodifies, and dehumanizes people with its lust for power, domination, and control.”
1. Discipleship is ultimately participation in God’s project for creation. This project was inaugurated in Jesus and carried out in a subversive and transformative manner within the empire and for the sake of the world.
2. There is an intimate connectivity (a breathing together) that we witness in the life of Jesus with his disciples. There is a story playing out within the larger story of the empire to non violently resist the practice of domination and oppression that ultimately support the empire.
3. Discipleship is conspiracy because of the invasiveness of the word into the world through the Incarnation. Only by this incarnate invasiveness can the breathing together with humanity occur. Disciples are co-conspirators with God. It is ultimately a demonstration, rather than religious education or ideology alone.
4. Conspiracy has an element of surprise. As co-conspirators, disciples work their way through the empire as the Holy Spirit leads (Matt 13: 31-32). Discipleship is surprising because of its way of non-violent resistance. It leaves the aggressor disarmed while demonstrating a new way of being in response to aggression.