Thursday, January 18, 2007

A couple of thoughts from the discussion…

I love the passion and the compassion shown by Christ as well, but I will warn you that phrases like “Jesus died bloody, but His hands were clean” suggest to many that act and events of Christ suggest a violence of them self that they are uncomfortable supporting simply to stop the redemptive violent thinking

Be careful in discussing violence with Protestant Reformation I believe this would be a tough sell since the violence tended to a bit one sided as more reformers practice non-redemptive measures for peace.

I love the fact that we keep looking to scripture to get a better feel for God’s truth. So I commend you on that. The Matt. 10:16

"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Is an interesting passage to quote as to images used by Jesus would drawn attention to some interesting stories for Jewish listeners. First, snakes…where is the first snake mention. What was this snakes skill? And doves… two immediate connections 1) a common sacrifice in the temple 2) illusions to the Holy Spirit. Jesus is careful in his wording. Looking at some images that would of come up for good Jews then how is Jesus expecting us to act as sheep among wolves?

As Christians we can all tell stories of getting into cycles of sin that we just get rutted into and can seem to find a way. It often takes radical measures to break these habits. Is peace the radical measure to break violence? (I think so) I would love to see some scripture supporting this argument (hint hint Jim). At the same time, to give Al some ammunition what about point us to Matt 10:34. "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword…” Is there a larger understanding to this that we need to consider?

Finally… Danny no worries “grace abounds more.” At the same time, we love you too much to not push you to join the conversation. Your thoughts would be helpful to us. Besides the prodigal son Stuart is still MIA.

My prayers for each of you are daily.


Al said...

Just as an fyi, I’m loving this.

I agree that the Protestant Reformation tried to be a peaceful effort but something that large could not have gone without some discrepancy. Luther, Zwingli, Hus, Eramus and Wyclift all did what they could to be peaceful but it did end in warfare and yes I am in a history class right now. The German princes did united and once they were attacked they too engaged to keep the movement going. Christians were on both sides of the sword. Violence was necessary unless Protestantism isn’t.

Redemptive violence does not equal any other type of violence. Redemptive violence is kinda like getting back at each other for not very good reasons. Redemptive- bringing about redemption. Redeem- to get or win back. It is basically what brothers do to each other.

Rob Bell identified it correctly in the Old Testament reference but then tried to apply it to all violence. You can’t say what we did in WWI, WWII was sinful because we (as in the USA) tried to free people and diplomacy obviously wasn’t working. Violence can be good in a sense. No Christian really wants to do it. I’d hate to be ordered to shoot someone even if they were trying to kill me.

Going off what Keith suggested with the scripture look at Luke 12:49-53. “52) From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.” How can we expect peace if it can’t even be accomplished to the fullest in our families, and not just in our blood-related family.

Jim, let me be a bit clearer. Whatever Jesus asks to do is right. If Jesus says do this, then we need to do whatever to the best possible way. Jesus told Peter to put his sword down because at the time it was pointless. First, Jesus knew exactly what was going on and that he had to die for us. Rob Bell was great in saying if Christ wanted to he could have called plenty of angels to his aid. Second, Second Peter didn’t understand the situation or even why Jesus was being arrested. He committed redemptive violence when he struck the servant’s ear off.

Sheep in a pack of Wolves. I think Jesus asks us to put ourselves out there in a place where we are different, no one is like us. First though I think we must realized we are sheep. One who is dumb and usually follows the crowd. They need shepherds, a leader to watch over them, keep them safe and protect them. Then to move to a point where you’re not with bunches of other sheep would be intense. Alone and able to be by yourself is a whole other level. Then to move into a pack of being who wish to devour you is crazy. I think you can do this if you can retain your identity. The sheep is still a sheep but must remain thinking like an “alone, independent” sheep. Also to be able to keep the relationship with its shepherd or more importantly make sure the shepherd still has its connection to you.

Sorry it was so long. I find this helps a lot and that it is challenging.

Stuart said...

Hey Guys....

Sorry it took me so long to post this. Life has been really busy but to be perfectly honest, I wasn't looking forward to listening to something for 30 minutes. I know that sounds lame but I need some sort of visual stimuli to keep me entertained- listening to someone talk on the computer did not sound too appealing to me.

With that said, I actually really enjoyed listening to the sermon! I think he brought up some good points and I liked reading everyone's comments so far.

I do agree with him that redemptive violence is not the way to go. Taking an eye for and eye- and in the case of Judges 15 even more- is never a good solution. As we have seen throughout history, this course of action escalates and turns a minor conflict into a major one. However, at one point in the sermon I believe that he said that any type of violence is no way to gain peace. This is where I start to differ from the sermon. I liked what Al said, "Violence can be good in a sense." I think that there is a difference between violence, redemptive violence, and necessary violence.

First, violence just for the sake of violence or just to obtain a point of view or goal is completely wrong. Some places in the world the only method of negotiation is violence- for example, the Blood Diamond conflict in Africa or the multiple genocide catastrophes throughout history. No one should resort to violence as a first or only resort, and I believe that this was one of the cornerstones of Jesus' teachings.

Redemptive violence, as Rob Bell described and illustrated through Judges, is where one small event is escalated into a big conflict through the desire to gain revenge or to out-do someone. Vengeance, or revenge, is NEVER an appropriate action.

But, I do feel that in some cases there is a need for violence. This is appropriate only as a last resort. For example, the World Wars. As Al said, diplomacy and peaceful actions did not succeed. The US and innocent people throughout the world were threatened by evil, and the only way to stop it was through violence. I believe that violence as defense or to stop evil is warranted, to a certain extent. However, as I said earlier, violence without DUE CAUSE is very wrong. I would continue, but this post would become VERY political and I know that is not the purpose of this blog. Email me if you want to talk about it. :)

So, I do think that redemptive violence is wrong and agree with Rob Bell that Christians are called to be peacemakers and show the world that there is an alternative to violence. However, no matter how peaceful we as Christians are, there will always be those in the world who will resort to violence and terror to achieve their goals. As a result, I believe that, even as Christians, violence is necessary.

My question then is this. Jesus taught in the Bible to "turn the other cheek." So, does that mean that when we are stopping someone like Hitler or responding to an attack to maintain our defense that we as Christians are going against God's will? Because I am going to be honest, I love God with all of my heart but if my family or freedom was directly threatened I would feel an obligation or duty to protect them. So what implications does that have for following Jesus, something we have all given our lives for?

Sorry that was so long but I am glad that I finally listened to the sermon!

D. Group said...

Stuart... great thoughts... I will hold on responding until we listen to Sermon 3 as it might be helpful. Don't listen ahead but wait and see what's to come.