Empires seem to be adverse to adjusting their means of power to world reality (the Ecological Crisis, happening in no small way due to the resistance of Empire to the “limits” of “growth”, and seeing no other way to move forward other than the continuation of it’s “means of success”, even when that means is obviously rendered obsolete.
Interesting that I have listened to this sermon by Mark Davies(https://oneworldhouse.net/2018/03/08/religion-and-empire/ ) , as I am also reading a particular section of Larry Rasmussen‘s Earth Honoring Faith (in my re-reading of it 3 years after my first reading). Rasmussen is observing the stubborn persistence of the “means of growth” in simply “tweaking” the former means by “adding new efficiencies” (represented by the “Green Efforts” that represent now a totally insufficient “solution” to the problem of Climate Change). He sums it up here:
They are ‘improved means to unimproved ends.’ Marked efficiencies accompanying greatly expanded energy use generates climate change. In short, the realization dawns that some new first works are required. Revising the old ones is not sufficient. Greening unlimited consumption does not suffice.
—Rasmussen, Larry L.. Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (p. 116). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
It seems to me that Empire will bend over backward to continue justifying it’s means of power, and “promise” that by a few tweaks here and there, the “greatest economic engine in the world” , capitalism, will prove victorious, “as it always has” (ignoring the growing consequences of stubbornly refusing to give up “old means”).
“New first works are required”. This is the task of theology in our “Anthropocene” life reality. We must challenge the “first works” of our Empires, who are stubbornly resistant to the ways of exploitation; exploitation of anyone and anything that is perceived to be standing in the way: People and communities perceived to be in the way of acquiring “required” resources, Ecosystems that make life possible in so many ways, and Jesus himself, who challenged Rome’s First Works (their assumptions about “what it takes” to maintain power).
Our world is groaning under the travails of the old “first works” of our “Civilized” Civilizations, “defended” and expanded by Empires. We are a people who, because they see a different world of reality (the Kingdom of God) , are called to accustom themselves to “doing first works over”.