Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Revenge Lie

I spent this last weekend rock climbing in Oregon and took this picture during the drive. Every so often I am reminded of the anger, hatred, and revenge that is so ever-present in this world. This sign on the back of a semi-truck was one of those examples. Now don't get me wrong...I'm as angry about terrorism like September 11 as the next guy and wish America would never have had to suffer through that horrific event. But I continue to be surprised by the incredibly ungracious and unforgiving quest for revenge and retaliation that has permeated American culture since that fateful day.

The true sadness is that this desire for revenge is built upon a lie. Scholars call this lie the 'myth of redemptive violence,' that the next act of revenge and violence will settle the score once and for all. We all know that this is not true. Violence only begets more violence. That next, and assumed last, action only perpetuates another action..and another action...and another action.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is clear that the appropriate response to violence is grace and peace. The only way that we ought to respond to terrorism is through forgiveness and love, not hatred and retaliation. I understand that some might argue that this way of living would never work, that it would never stop violence and terrorism from happening. Maybe they are right. But maybe they aren't...we don't know because no society has ever tried it. It is obvious that war and further violence has not succeeded in ending violence, so I wonder what the world might look like if took the words of Jesus seriously when he calls us to turn the other cheek and walk 2 miles rather than 1. At least that seems closer to redemption than redemptive violence.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Theology via Twitter

I've recently begun using Twitter in order to follow a few of my favorite authors and musicians. I had previously said I would never use Twitter, but on a few occasions it has provided me with some provocative and inspiring words from people like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and Peter Rollins. Peter Rollins is a philosopher/theologian from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He posted the following quote yesterday, and the words continue to make me think. Enjoy!

"It is not a question of whether Christianity can exist without religion. But whether Christianity, at its core, is a protest against religion."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Overwhelmed & Out of Rhythm

I'm in a funk. I'm sure you get those days...or weeks...or months. I'm there. My fall semester started over a month ago and I still haven't settled into a rhythm of life. I can't quite put my finger on why either. I find myself unmotivated in nearly every aspect of my world and badly want to work my out of this conundrum.

For weeks now I've realized my desire to read and write and blog but have failed to do much of any of those things. I've had things to say and stories to tell but lacked the energy to make them public. I keep telling people that since we didn't have any break after summer semester, my mind took its own break to rest and recover. I'd say its time to snap back into intellectual action though.

I've got a huge paper due Thursday for my Church History class and then a week and a half off for Reading Week. The 2nd weekend of Reading Week I'll be heading to Oregon for four days of rock climbing, so hopefully this relaxation will snap me out of my funk and back into a desire to learn and grow and experience the fullness of life that was so present last year. Lord help me.