Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Twenty Fourth helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Twenty-Fourth Helping

 Again,

“We adore God Who is love, Who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him.”

Pope Francis, 6/21/14

It is not a secret of one religion or one culture that as others feed the brain of a human being from the outside, the personality of the individual is generated. The language, the hopes, the fears, the values, the perceptions, the desires all are embedded and maintained largely by input from outside the person. Buddha knows this, Gandhi knows this, the composers of the UNESCO Charter know this, every public relations corporation on the planet knows this, the military knows this, every mass media executive knows this and Jesus knows this. Indeed the first word out of Jesus’ mouth in His public ministry in the Gospel of Matthew is metanoia, which means, “change your mind,” often translated “repent.” Jesus then goes onto tell His people in what direction their minds should be changed and by extension in what direction their behavior should change, if they which to do God’s will and eventually enter into the Kingdom of God.

Change, like death, is universal and inevitable. The issue is in what direction a person should change and why. There are legions of people out there who for some reason or another want to change other’s minds in one direction or another. Jesus is one of them. The Church is instituted by Christ to be “an extension of Him in time or space.” The Church then must be an assembly of disciples of Christ committed to putting on the mind of Christ and calling others to the same metanoia, change of mind, repentance to which Jesus people.  The Church is not established for nor does it have a commission from Christ to struggle on behalf, to promote or to support or to call people to any other change of mind in any other direction.

The spiritual battlefield is the mind,” says Gandhi. There is no question about that. But, there is also no question of the mind being a battlefield.  Spiritual warfare is an apt metaphor for what takes place there. Ideas, values desires and hopes put in the Christian’s mind by others war within his or her mind with idea, values, desires and hopes placed in that person’s mind by Jesus. The conflict that results from having to choose between the two is constant, fierce and deadly. From moment to moment a person must do all he or she can to die to one’s old self and self-understanding in order to live into a new self and a new self-understanding. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mk 8:35).

Considering all this, how is it possible for any Christian leader in any institutional or domestic Christian Church—from hierarchs to clerics, from Popes to Patriarchs, from theologians to religious education teachers, from mothers to fathers—to maintain with any intellectual and moral integrity before God that nourishing the minds of those Christians in their spiritual care, and themselves, on the mass media diet of brutal hallucinations is a process that will help a person put on the mind of Christ? How can anyone not know that continuously feeding into their own mind and the minds of those in their spiritual care the principles, the understanding of others, the understanding of God and the self-understanding of the savage mythologies of mass media is choosing to make oneself and to make others into the radical opposite of what the Jesus of the primitive Church and the Gospels asks, indeed, commands? Could any ordinary, reasonable atheist or agnostic even believe that such a process is a process that would nurtured the mind of Christ in a person and motivate him or her to love as Jesus loved?

(As regards bishops and cleric and Christian fathers and mothers spiritually approving of those in their spiritual care entering into “the abomination that maketh desolation,” military training, as a way of putting on, nurturing and enhancing the mind of Christ in a person, this is so outrageous as not to deserve even a comment.)

The only rational explanation that I can see why those Christian leaders, Catholic Protestant or Orthodox, would sit on their duffs while those in their spiritual care are spiritually and morally raised on a lifetime diet which is the moral equivalent of an endless stream of pornographic movies, is that they believe that the metanoia of which Jesus spoke requires only one change to be saved—either saying one has a cognitive faith in Jesus as Savior, with or without emotional content, or submitting to the rite of Baptism. However, the belief that a person can make one moral decision that will relieve him or her from making any other moral decisions is not the teaching of Jesus.

- ECM

Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Twenty Third helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Twenty-Third Helping

 Again,

“We adore God Who is love, Who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him.”

Pope Francis, 6/21/14

Gospel Nonviolence is the Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies in the Spirit and in the model of the Nonviolent Jesus of the primitive Church and of the Gospels. It can genuinely be manifest by an act of civil disobedience aimed at converting people’s minds and hearts so that they freely choose to stop doing evil, to stop engaging in wickedness, and to begin to do good. This is not, of course, the only way Gospel Nonviolence can or should be manifest. But, it is most definitely a way.

Corporate mass media is systematically hostile to Gospel Nonviolence. It expresses its hostility by not giving it a microphone and by presenting it as something it is not. This is so because corporate mass media and those who control it need violence to operate as they do and in order to protect corporate and personal interests, e.g., luxury wealth. Regarding Gospel nonviolence and its depiction to people by the mass media, Thomas Merton writes in his little gem of a book, Faith and Violence, the following:

One of the most widely read American news magazines has this to say about the [Kennedy] assassination. “Oswald was a lone wolf whose background showed that he was inclined to nonviolence up to the point where his mind apparently snapped.”

Here a great deal is implied and it is all understood by the public because mass media can assume in the reader a particular mode of self-understanding, which is a myth which mass media itself has created in people and nourishes on a diet of brutal hallucinations. Any other way of self-understanding is dismissed as heretical. Nonviolence is based on radically different principles, which bring it into head-on collision with this mode of self-understanding.

However, because of the gross spiritual and pastoral negligence or the calculated omission of most leaders in most of the Christian Churches, the understanding of Gospel Nonviolence even in the minds and hearts of most Christians worldwide is the understanding given to them by mass media, which is no understanding at all. They have never been seriously and accurately informed of its true nature or of its teleological temporal and eternal purposes, that is, of the ends which Gospel Nonviolence and Gospel Nonviolence alone can—by cooperation with the grace of God mediated through Jesus Christ—accomplish.

So, the Christian Churches and their leaders, like the mass media—and out of the same motivations as the mass media—have chosen to leave Gospel Nonviolence as an exotic, confused, confusing and free-floating vagary in the minds of those placed in their spiritual care.

Worse yet, these Churches and their leaders use time, talent, treasure, ministry and office to help nourish explicitly, or implicitly by silent indifference, the brutal mythologies and hallucinations that pagan mass media is burning into the minds of Christian children and Christian adults. The Churches and their leadership could be using all they have been given to help their children and adults throw off, break away from, the violent, enmity-laced mythologies propagated by the head honchos that control mass media. But they don’t and don’t have any intention to do so. They could share the faith of the primitive Church and its authentic presentation in the Gospels, which would necessarily include the Nonviolent Jesus and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies with the children and adults in their congregations, and also with those engaged in chronic public evil and wickedness. But, they don’t and don’t have any intention to do so.

Certainly, all these Churches and their leaders are in the business of proclaiming, “Jesus saves!” But again, how?

- ECM

Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Twenty Second helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Twenty-Second Helping

 Again,

“We adore God Who is love, Who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him.”

Pope Francis, 6/21/14

In FAST FOOD Helping Twenty-One I wrote, “A great and grave crisis of truth exists in today’s institutional Churches—and is being ecumenically and deceitfully swept under the ecclesiological carpet.”  This is the case because most of today’s institutional Churches believe and teach that they “share the faith of the primitive Church,” yet they engage in the carnage and the human butchery of war and the spirits and acts that war absolutely requires. Beyond engaging in such activities and with such spirits, they justify it as in conformity with the faithfully following of Jesus and His Way and following the will of God as revealed by Him. Such teaching and belief is in obvious contradiction to what we know of Jesus “through the witness of the primitive Church,”

A great and grave crisis of truth exists in today’s institutional Churches” and by Churches is meant the Christians, regardless of rank, who compose them. The grave crisis of truth is that over a billion Christians and most of their Church leaders and Churches are obstinately flaunting their disregard for the sine qua non governing principle for the human search for truth and for the communication of truth, namely, the principle of non-contradiction. The principle of non-contradiction simply stated is this: Between two logical and meaningful propositions “X” and “not X” there is no middle ground. If one is true the other is false. The principle of non-contradiction is that without adherence to which truthful communication between and among people is impossible. Between these two statements, “There are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” “There are not weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” only one can be true. The principle of non-contradiction is also that without which morality is impossible. Even stronger are Pope Benedict XVI’s words regarding it, “Contradictory things cannot be means to salvation

In relation to the matter under discussion this means that if Jesus teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as the Way of discipleship, then it is impossible that He teaches a Way of justified violence and enmity as the Way of discipleship. If the primitive Church’s witness to Jesus—the only witness there is by which to ascertain anything at all about Him— communicates that Jesus was Nonviolent and taught by word and deed a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies unto death, then the witness of the primitive Church to Jesus cannot communicate that Jesus was violent and taught by word and deed a Way of justified violence and enmity. If one is true, the other is false! Most of the Churches of Christianity today profess to share the faith of the primitive Church, and yet they, that is the Christians in them—with the explicit approval of their pastors as high up on the hierarchical pyramid as one can climb—maim and kill other human beings and believe they are living lives as faithful discipleship of Jesus.

If the faith of the primitive Church had no moral dimension that was directly tied to Jesus, if its faith in Jesus did not include Him as the revealer of good and evil, of right from wrong, of what God’s will is and what God’s will is not, of what the Way of righteousness is and what the way of the wickedness is, then to share in the faith of the primitive Church and to share the faith of the primitive Church with others would be sharing a faith in Jesus devoid of any unique moral content. If such were the witness of the primitive Church then Jesus would be a totally morally neutral person without any teachings or commands of a moral nature concerning the will of God and how people should think, speak and act. If such were the case there would be no problem in maintaining that one shares the faith of the primitive Church and one is faithfully following Jesus while sallying forth to slaughter and maim other human beings, even other Christians, for the greater honor and glory of Uncle Sam, Mother Russia, John Bull, or God and country.

But if the primitive Church possessed a faith that included truths communicated by Jesus about what the will of God is and therefore how His disciples must change their minds, words and deeds to live in accordance with it, then there would be a great and grave crisis of truth if a Church and/or a Christian today said they shared in the faith of the primitive Church and then proceeded to sallied forth to kill and maim people for any reason. Why?  Because, “If Jesus—meaning the Jesus of the primitive Church “as faithfully handed on to us in the Gospels” (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Sec.#18,)—did not reject any type of violence for any purpose, then we know nothing of him.”

To maintain that a Church and a Christian are sharing in the faith of the primitive Church and sharing the faith of the primitive Church with others while they are justifying killing and maiming people is a breach of the principle of non-contradiction—between two logical and meaningful propositions “X” and “not X” there is no middle ground. If one is true the other is false. Such a proclamation of Jesus Christ and His Gospel would be an irrational, illogical cacophonous proclamation, to which no human being should give credence and no Christian should give credence or allegiance because it is a blatant lie, which cannot be a means to salvation.

Yet more than a billion Christians do give credence and allegiance to a “truth” that cannot be the truth because it is arrived at by way of defying the principle of non-contradiction.  When Mahatma Gandhi says, “Only Christians do not see Jesus as nonviolent,” he is not making a spiritual point. He is simply and gently, and I think quite persuasively, trying to communicate factually and rationally to the Churches and to Christians that they are being illogical and irrational and therefore being untruthful to themselves about Jesus and the option of violence in the human situation.

When such Churches and Christians say, “We have no God other than Him” is this Him the same Him as the Him of the primitive Church and of the Gospels?

- ECM

Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Twenty First helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Twenty-First Helping

Again,

“We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him.”

Pope Francis, 6/212/14

It is noted in the first FAST FOOD Helpings of this year that the Gospels proclaim that Jesus comes to save and does save. The question is “How does Jesus save?” In yesterday’s FAST FOOD: Helping the Catholic Biblical scholar, Rev. John L. McKenzie, noted, “We know Jesus only in the proclamation and tradition of the primitive Church. “We know what he said of himself only as the Church reported it. If the Church did not tell us what he was, then there is no way in which his true identity can be ascertained…We know Jesus only through the witness of the primitive Church, to question that witness is to make it impossible to share the faith of the primitive Church” Later we noted what he said about Jesus as presented to humanity by the primitive Church: “If Jesus did not reject any type of violence for any purpose, then we know nothing of him.”

Since most of the Churches that designate themselves Christian today believe and teach that they “share the faith of the primitive Church,” a great and grave crisis of truth exists—and is being ecumenically and deceitfully swept under the ecclesiological carpet—because the overwhelming majority of Churches today, and for many yesterdays, believe and teach that they and their membership can share in the faith of the primitive Church, the Church made visible in the Gospels, and still engage in the carnage and human butchery of war and the spirits and acts that war absolutely requires. Such teaching and belief is in contradiction to what we know of Jesus is left to us “through the witness of the primitive Church,” the primal and irreplaceable source and witness to the true identity of Jesus. Remembering always, the primitive Church is the source and witness without which Jesus is a mere vapor, a person with no ascertainable content or identity.

If by some process the ascertainable content and identity of Jesus to which the primitive Church is the witnesses is altered and thereby replaced by its direct opposite, then it cannot be logically or truthfully maintained that those who accept this alternative content and identity share in the faith of the primitive Church. Must it not now be said that those who do this are proclaiming and following a Jesus and a tradition of Jesus that is simply something of their own creation and imagination? Can such a Jesus save? And who or what are such Christians worshiping? What would it mean to say, “We have no God other than Him.”

- ECM

Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Twentieth Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Twentieth Helping

Again,

“We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him.”

(Pope Francis, 6/212/14)

We know Jesus only in the proclamation and tradition of the primitive Church,” writes the eminent Catholic Biblical scholar, the late Rev. John L. McKenzie. He continues, “We know what he said of himself only as the Church reported it. If the Church did not tell us what he was, then there is no way in which his true identity can be ascertained…We know Jesus only through the witness of the primitive Church, to question that witness is to make it impossible to share the faith of the primitive Church” (The Power and the Wisdom, (1965), Imprimatur).

The proclamation, tradition and witness to Jesus of the primitive Church as it is definitively recorded in the Gospels is that Jesus is Nonviolent, that He is the Nonviolent Messiah of Israel and that He teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies—among other truths. If any post-primitive institutional Church teaches other that this, then it is not sharing the faith of the primitive Church, then it is neither proclaiming nor following the only Jesus there is to know, proclaim and follow.

If any institutional Church that comes after the primitive Church is not sharing the faith of the primitive Church then what faith is it sharing? What Jesus does it say it knows and professes, when it preaches and teaches by word and deed what is in direct logical contradiction to the explicit witness of the primitive Church? And, how does it know and validate that it is presenting the true identity of Jesus when it parts company with the witness to Jesus of the primitive Church? And, what are the necessary implications of this for the God image, as well as, the truth concerning the will of God, it is imparting to people? If it is not the Jesus of the primitive Church who is Nonviolent, who is the Nonviolent Messiah of Israel and who teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as God’s will that a post-primitive Church is calling people to have faith in, then who or what is it that that Church is calling people to have faith in and to follow?

Any departure from the faith and witness of the primitive Church to Jesus can only result in tremendous evil being propagated under the patronage of Jesus. This is proven, historically verifiable fact, not personal conjecture.

So let me end this FAST FOOD Helping where it began, with a statement from Rev. John L. McKenzie, a Catholic biblical scholar with over fifty years of the highest quality of scholarship to his credit: “Jesus taught that violence belongs to the Reign of Satan, and that men must expel violence if they wish to liberate themselves from the Reign of Satan. If Jesus did not reject any type of violence for any purpose, then we know nothing of him.” The Jesus of whom McKenzie is speaking is the only Jesus there is to know, the Jesus who is “known only through the witness of the primitive Church, the Jesus who is known “only in the proclamation and tradition of the primitive Church.”  He is speaking of The Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels who is the Nonviolent Messiah of Israel and who teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love (Agape) of friends and enemies.

- ECM

Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Nineteenth helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Nineteenth Helping

Again,

“We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him”

Pope Francis, 6/21/14

If the choice of both violence and nonviolence are faith stances—and they are—with neither position being able to be reasonably proved as the truth to the exclusion of the other, then the question arises to whom or in what does a person put his or her faith to validate their faith choice.

In his seminal work on the importance Jesus being a Jew and not a Greek or Roman, Jesus of Nazareth (1912), the Biblical scholar, Joseph Klausner, writes:

“There was yet another element in Jesus’ idea of God, which Judaism could not accept. Jesus tells his disciples to love their enemies as well as their friends, since their Father in heaven makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and send his rain upon the righteous and the ungodly. With this Jesus introduces something new into the idea of God. How could Judaism accede to such an ethical ideal?”

There is only one way that Judaism could accede to such a radically new ethic, to such a new understanding of right and wrong, and that is if it were in fact the truth of the God in whom they had place their faith over the prior two thousand years, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, etc. But, this God had never told them to “Love your enemies,” through those in whom the Jewish people had placed their faith as authentic communicators of the word and will of God. In the faith of these same Jewish people could there ever possibly be a more authoritative spokespersons, for communicating to them the truth about God and his will, than Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses?

Yes! The Messiah! Their faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses includes in it the belief that when God sends the Messiah to them he is to be trusted (emunah) with the same level of trust that is given to God alone. He is to be accorded absolute trust, because he is the specially anointed one from God who knows, as no human being could know before Him or after Him God, God’s will and God’s way. He speaks the definitive truthful word about God and about God’s will and God’s way. No authority in heaven or on earth can override or contradict what the Messiah communicates to Israel and through Israel to humanity about God, God’s will and God’s way.

If a Jewish person in the context of his or her faith does not accept in faith that Athronges or Jesus or Simon bar Kochba or Sabbatai Zevi or Menachem Schneerson or Judas of Galilee is the Messiah promised by God to Israel, then he or she is not called upon, indeed must not, put unconditional trust that what he is saying is God’s word, will and way. The communication from a faux Messiah about God and His words, will and way are to be evaluated and trusted as one would evaluate for truth and trust content the words and deeds of any human being. If a person, however, had faith in any of the above men as the promised Messiah then what the Messiah said about God, His will and His way would be absolutely morally binding, not because the Messiah’s teaching appears reasonable to the person’s mind—a mind of very limited perspective—but because of faith in the Divine authority that the Messiah possesses by the decision of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses.

That the Holy One, Blessed be He, could choose Himself to be the promised Messiah by way of becoming a human being is an option that cannot be exclude from among God’s possible options, since nothing is impossible for God, and because “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Is 55:9). But from the human side this would be validated for the person by faith alone, not by an exercise of logic and reason. But once it is said in faith, “You are the Messiah, the Christ,” the Messiah’s communications about God, God’s will and God’s way must be unreservedly accepted and obey in absolute trust in the God of their faith who sent him or her the Messiah—whether the Messiah be the incarnation of God or not.

If the Messiah in whom a person places his or her faith, regardless of who the Messiah is, teaches that God’s will for Israel and through Israel for humanity is the way of nonviolent love of friends and enemies, then every reasonable objection to that way—and there are millions—is irrelevant, invalid, and rendered nugatory by the authority with which the Messiah is endowed by God. However, faith in this person as Messiah must precede faith in his teaching as true and as the will of God. But, to profess faith in this person as Messiah, while simultaneously denying, altering or refusing to follow the Messianic Way he proclaims to Israel and through Israel to the world, and/or replacing  his Messianic Way with something more reasonable, and perhaps even contradictory, is nothing more than attempting to kosher infidelity to God.

-ECM

Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Eighteenth helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Eighteenth Helping
 

Again, 

“We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him”

(Pope Francis, 6/21/14).

It is well pass the time for the proponents of justified violence to stop asserting that their choice of violence is “only reasonable.” It is equally pass time for the advocates of nonviolence to stop saying that bringing violence into the human situation is always unreasonable. Violence is unreasonable, but so is nonviolence. Both positions can be defended or repudiate with impeccable logic. There is no unassailable logical argument for the intrinsic immorality of employing violence, per se, in the human situation. But neither is there an unassailable logical argument for the use of violence within the mystery of human existence. Any reasonable argument forbidding the use of violence, per se, among humans can be countered by an equally reasonable argument for permitting the use of violence, per se, among humans. Reason alone cannot validate whether it is intrinsically good to introduce violence, pre se, against others human being into the human condition or whether it is always intrinsically evil.

(A parenthetical note may be appropriate here. Nonviolence means no violence. The person who maintains, “I am nonviolent but…” then presents a situation where he or she would use violence is not nonviolent, but is rather someone who believes it right to introduce violence into human situation.)

Since the decision to be an agent to introduce violence into the mystery of human existence can never be a decision based on incontestable reasonableness, what is the ultimate basis on which one thinks it is right to chooses to be a channel for letting violence enter into the world of human relationships? Faith! The decision that it is right and proper to become an agent for the power of violence to become part of the human condition is not and cannot be a logical decision. In this area what logic propose as truth , logic can dispose of as truth. The mystery of a single human existence, let alone the mystery of the existence of all humanity—past, present and future— and the mystery of existence itself, is too immense to logically calculate with any integrity whether violence should be part of the atmosphere between and among human beings or not.

One’s position on whether human violence against other humans is good, right and proper or whether it is never good, right and proper is not a position within the purview of determination by reason. So it is imperative to stop the talk that violence is reasonable or that non-violence is reasonable. Neither can be a reasonable choice. Both are faith choices. After the basic faith choice is made, then implementation of it is a matter that is within the domain of determination by logic and reasonableness. For example, determining whether a person can carry ten or thirty stones to defend himself or can have 50 or 2000 nuclear weapons to defend herself, these are issues open to logical determination after the faith decision is made that violence belongs in the human situation. And, such is also precisely the necessary case with nonviolence.

After the faith decision has been made that violence is not to be part of the human situation and I therefore must not be its agent into humanity, I still have to figure out how to implement that faith stance, and it will be by logic and reason that I will figure that out. But, the primal decision of whether to bring violence or never to bring violence into the state of being human beings is beyond reason’s capacities to decide. It is and always has been a faith decision. The search for truth necessitates that we name violence and nonviolence what they are—faith choices—and get on with discerning truthfully what the faith is that we really hold and hold tight to.

- ECM