Blogging Towards Sunday
We're in a time of intense polarization, fighting, in-fighting, name-calling and judging. The neighborhood I live in has witnessed protests and counter-protests regarding Proposition 8 every night this week. On Wednesday the protests were broken up by the police after the YES crowd parked a car in the middle of the intersection and ramped up the level of the fight. The cover of this week's New Yorker points to the atmosphere of intense polarization, blame laying and us-vs-them mentality resulting in radical judgment of others: whether over wardrobes, war records, orientations, economic policies or who is an real American and who is a false one. Suddenly it's not just Democrats vs. Republicans, but plumbers versus nurses, neighbors versus neighbors. We have something in us that pushes us to judge one another. It's a wonder we haven't had more assaults in Oakland this past week.
This week's scripture has Jesus condemning judgment. Funny. An ironic paradox. According to scholars Jesus isn't talking about judgment like "nice hair," "hypocrite," or "bad politics." Rather Jesus is saying that we can't play God. We can't condemn one another to hell. We can't say to others that they're going to burn, or be excluded while we won't - because we don't know. Jesus tells a funny story about logs and splinters. He turns things upside down, basically saying who are you to judge. For when you judge you overlook yourself. And if you thoughtfully, prayerfully and spirit-filled-ily look at and examine your own life, you won't be quick to judge others. We can't condemn or pretend to be able to exclude anyone else from God's love: whether they're gay, straight, plumbers, from Alaska, community organizers, own more than 10 houses, or come from Scranton. God doesn't want moral watchdogs, for such dogs always lead to violence, and a downward spiral of more violence. Rather God wants participants, pre-emptive actors.....blessed are the peacemakers....for theirs is the kingdom of God. Maybe the Amish are on to something...
Here's some great pages (270-277) from Jesus for President that talk about non-violence....the Jesus Doctrine. Click on the picture to make it bigger and easier to read.