This is what the Lord says:
“You false prophets are leading my people astray!
You promise peace for those who give you food,
but you declare war on those who refuse to feed you.
Now the night will close around you,
cutting off all your visions.
Darkness will cover you,
putting an end to your predictions.
The sun will set for you prophets,
and your day will come to an end.
Then you seers will be put to shame,
and you fortune-tellers will be disgraced.
And you will cover your faces
because there is no answer from God.”
But as for me, I am filled with power—
with the Spirit of the Lord.
I am filled with justice and strength
to boldly declare [the colonizer’s] sin and rebellion.
Micah 3 (New Living – with slight paraphrase)
The more famous passage of Micah, where your sons and daughters will prophesy, follows this passage. We find where the prophets are when we dismiss the so-called prophets of the kings and queens – the appeasers. Those who disguised their words uplifting the oppressive systems of the halls of power, of destruction, of war, of racism, of sexism, as the Word of the Lord. Who sell their images as God-speakers, yet what they have to say sounds oddly and eerily what the powerful already say.
One of the hallmarks of living in a kyriarchy economy is how easily and quickly the lower social stratus can be dispelled from sight and community with the elite groups. We can colonize, we can take the land and work and bodies, and then throw aside their personhood through colonialism and heteropatriarchy. This makes it easy for elites – for white, middle class, able-bodied, neurotypical males above all – to dismiss criticism and malign prophets. For what are the dispossessed if not prophets? Do they not speak the Word of the Lord to the Kings and Queens?
Fortunately, we now live in the digital age and the voice(s) of the prophets are everywhere. So when a white male pastor asks where all the prophets have gone, he is missing the picture: they are here. Here is your family of prophetic voices. They speak with passion and knowledge and wisdom and joy and hope and anger and resentment and frustration and within community and from outside the very community they have been cast from. Meanwhile, the white heteropatriarchy asks why they can’t be nicer, why they don’t work within the very kingdom they have been cast from?
If you want the voice of God, it is not to be found in mass media (cf, pt 3), whose ultimate purpose is to support the hegemony of White Culture and consumer capitalism. You may find it in Dexter or Breaking Bad or True Detective, but these are shows of violent white males and I’m not sure how that is much different than other predominant White Male Supremacy voices of Dick Cheney, Exxon Mobil, or penal substitutionary theory (Nothing But the Blood, indeed).
Yet these same people will call Liberation Theologians “ultimately violent”* for loudly resisting the kyriarchy and will proclaim or accept the title of prophet for themselves. They will make racist, sexist, homophobic utterances about the very people they dispossess from the lands. They will talk about how inclusive they are, and how racially conscious and wow what Jesus Feminists they are, but promote White Males all day long. They will present themselves as lgbtq allies while not just blocking LGBTQ people (but will engage with homophobes all day long), but talk about trans people as having a sexual preference, refer to “a gay lifestyle” and “sin” and say (repeatedly) that the “purpose for marriage equality is to promote lifelong monogamy, which is preferential for everybody.”
Did I say they block LGBTQ people? Yes. Yes they do. In fact, they block People of Color, feminists, and their accomplices – any critic who doesn’t take kindly to being tokenized and co-opted. Any prophet who will not kowtow to the White Supremacist, Heteronormative Patriarchal Structure of the White Western Church. This is because the kyriarchy is not used to being talked back to in such tones, so they will consider it an act of violence [link to Zahnd’s tweet on liberation theology being violent; other suggestions?]. You want to know where the prophets are? They are right here, but your mute button has put them on silence.
It is an act of intentional cultural genocide. In this manner, they act as Ahabs, erasing prophets from the land for the fear of being confronted with their participation in the White Supremacist, Heteronormative, Neoliberal Patriarchy.
And yet they have the gall to call themselves, endorse others who call them, and then call others that also look like them as “prophets” and “prophetic”, “called you in this time“. They use prophecy as a branding tool rather than a way of God speaking to the powers, to the oppressors, as Amos and Daniel did.
The Empire cannot prophecy to the Empire. White middle class heterosexual men are the Empire in this society. Rather, the sons and daughters of the dispossessed are your prophets.
*Though Zahnd would later walk the statement back, he barely did so, in fact equating people’s revolutions (who were sometimes backed by Liberation Theology) with the violence of fascist regimes in Latin America that they were fighting against. But could we then not say that Euro-American theology is even more violent, since it has and continues to support genocide, war, and slavery? For more in-depth understanding of White Anabaptist approaches to Liberation Theology, cf Political Jesus’ “Anabaptist Theology & Black Power: A Subaltern Ethics Of Peace #AnaBlacktivism.”