Does The Revelation Condemn Us?

It seems like every time I read something that Marva Dawn has written, I gain respect for her sensitivity, perspective, and wisdom.

In her book Joy in Our Weakness, Dawn discusses several issues that relate to the theme of suffering and weakness in The Revelation. This small excerpt, taken from her chapter on Babylon the Great (the fall of which is described in Revelation 18), is a great example:

Babylon’s major sin is not so much sexual immorality as the sensuality of wealth. Notice the long list of kinds of luxury related to the city. All the rest of chapter 18 is composed of various elements that make up the god of Mammon: luxury goods, exploitation of other human beings, sensual pleasures, empty hilarity, self-absorption…

What is wrong is the deception, the greedy amassing of material possessions, hilarity without meaning, self-aggrandizement without care for the rest of the world…

Perhaps one reason our age has been so busy making up lurid interpretations of The Revelation is that we have not wanted to face how much this chapter condemns us. In a world of gross inequities, we are reproached for our accumulation of silver and silks and spices. We are rebuked for our enculturation into a society that has fallen to the power of Mammon.

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