i have been thinking a lot about peace, and other issues facing our country. I found a short writing I had previously created and want to share it with you.
Since I often post political things and will soon play music at the 8th pro-peace rally, I thought I would post a sermon snippit with a teaching on pacifist responses as taught by Jesus. I learned these things from Walter Wink, a theologian well worth reading.
A New Vision of Resistance:\
Jesus would teach in the Sermon on the Mount, "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for eye, and a tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." (Matthew 5:39-41)
The cheek story, think about it, if you are struck on the right cheek one of two things has happened, either you have been struck with the left hand, the dirty hand in His culture, or you have been struck backhanded by the right hand. Either way, the response to turn your cheek puts the offender in an untenable position, which he cannot do and be politically correct. When he encouraged the man to give his cloak as well, it is like saying go ahead give him all of your clothes and just be standing there naked. In our culture, we would be embarrassed to do that, but in Jesus culture the embarrassment was to the one who saw, not to the one who was seen. Again Jesus has indicated a non-violent resistance. The last one is even more interesting. In Jesus time Roman law allowed a soldier to ask anyone to carry his or her pack, but only for a mile. So by carrying the pack further, one would put the soldier in conflict with his superiors…all of these done as acts of kindness. This is a new way of reacting and relating to the things, the people that make us angry.
This is strategic kindness. It is not a justification for being a wimp. It is not a call to be soft. It is simply recognition that violence breeds violence, whether it is physical or verbal. Hatred breeds hatred. We can turn a minor disagreement into a major conflict by the way we handle our anger. Humanity has had to work very hard at curbing tribal and national hatreds. We've seen that in recent years in Ireland, in the former Yugoslavia, in Africa and most especially today in the Middle East. What if we could find ways to use the religious fanaticism of those fighting us to our advantage? What is sin to them? How could we show them that they are in that position; sinners…falling away from the one they deem to be God? revdocwelch