Thursday, October 02, 2008

Blogging Towards Sunday, October 5, 2008
Jesus for President

The Jesus Doctrine: Jesus' War on Terror
Matthew 5:21-48 (NRSV) (The Message)

What does it cost to have freedom, security and peace? Our answer - the historic human one through every empire and nation - has been that it takes war, fighting, violence and quite often the curtailing of freedoms in order to ensure that we're "safe", free from harm, free from loss. To protect our families, livelihoods and the mountains of things we've accumulated we have to give up more. Yet what kind of peace do we get from it? Violence begets violence. Our possessions aren't safe - whether stored in a golden parachute on Wall Street or under our mattress on Main Street - they can't be bailed out when lost. How do we actually get to this pie-in-the-sky, real-on-the-earth Beatitude vision of peace on earth aka the kingdom of God that Jesus talks of? How do we respond in the nitty gritty to agression whether it's nukes in Iran or a neighbor that refuses to recognize us as a living human being, or a brother/sister that abuses us? Is there a way to escape the blinding of the whole world that Ghandi talked about? What is the Jesus Doctrine (contained in large part in Matthew 5:21-48) that he clearly talks about yet which we struggle to understand and be able to articulate when we're interviewed about what it is and what Jesus hopes to accomplish through it.

The following pages (92-98) from Jesus for President offer a striking interpretation of the challenging eye for an eye teaching of Jesus. As always if you like the pages - buy the whole book!
Click on a photo to enlarge it for easier reading.
I think that the Jesus doctrine is a radical affirmation of our humanity. Each policy that he puts forward is designed to force us to love - to recognize the humanity - of our ennemies and our friends. When that happens things change: Walls break down. Divisions can be addressed. We have to choose between recognizing what we share with those we oppose, or decreasing our own humanity through shameful violence that minimizes and refuses to recognize our similarity with our brother and sister in front of us. Whereas most empires (Herod, Caesar, Napolean, Hitler, maybe some that are more recent like that of the Bush Administration.) act out of a will to power, a desire to have it all, they always refuse to recognize the humanity that we all share. They pre-emptively attack or intentionally wipe-out others in order to ensure their own supposed freedom, security and peace. Today we call such actions a war on terror, when in fact Jesus would call it a war of terror. Violence only leads to violence: a downward spiral. The only way out is to choose another way all together: the Jesus Doctrine.

What do you think the Jesus Doctrine is? Is it realistic policy that we can put into action? Or is it a pie-in-the-sky dream-land sort of thing?

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