Some are ecstatic about the news and some… not so much: Whose Ox is Gored?
Professor Stuart Sim and Van Loon write a critical, historical, and philosophical construct of social science and the tensions between to help the reader try to better understand how and why we live the way we do. They use brief synopses of social science terms along with several hand-drawn images to express that there is a very real human side to the terms being defined.
“Critical theory is an innately pluralist exercise. It presents us with a range of possible methods and perspectives by which to analyse not only cultural artefacts but also their contexts.” The tension of these perspectives seems to be who will dominate whom? Will the government, a social uprising, or shall we let sleeping dogs lay, meaning don’t bother the system, so to speak?
Looking at the text this week and considering my research emphasis I found a word I have never used. “As a guiding framework, I will be employing post-Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony, which states that culture changes as a result of the push and pull between the elite ruling classes and the oppressed classes.” The struggle for dominance really should not be in the church, but I am afraid it is so. It is so by those who resist the establishment and by those who resist change. Plus, control can be found everywhere in between that delineation. I realized a faint, but similar tension to what I have discovered in congregants who mostly think they think they pay their pastor for doing work in the church. Hegemony is a “sophisticated tool for cultural analysis.” It is partly a guess, yet, it is my guess that therefore many congregations are facing a resurgence of the multi-funded pastor. The stagnation in the North American church, given painted with a broad brush is because too many parties desire control instead there is One Lord. That Lord said to make disciples!
The differences between the two dominant forces usually leave only one winner. Who actually wins in a dominant struggle might be dependent upon like is written in Exodus 21:29 whose ox is gored. “But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death.”
What are we to do with the word then: hegemony as Christians? Well, we can surely head down the revolutionary road of resisting the establishment by just not going to church so we don’t let those so and so’s have control (by the way I know that feeling). Or we just might begin to analyze why we have to have control and begin to hand that control over. I have to ask myself the question, “Didn’t Jesus learn by suffering?” And, “Didn’t Jesus hand over the control of his life on earth to Another?” Just thinking.
 Stuart Sim and Borin Van Loon, “Introducing Critical Theory: A Graphic Guide, Icon Books Ltd.” (Kindle Locations 1409-1410).
Taylor Applegate, “The crossroads at midnight: Hegemony in the music and culture of Delta blues,” 2013, https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bf93/293da6b8cd885df147e5bed5f31c7165fa3a.pdf.