Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty-Fourth Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-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)

Henry Ford often made a point of saying, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” If God asked the Israelites of old, or Jews today, or Muslims today or Christians today what they want, the answer would be exactly what it was on the day Jesus was crucified:

We want a political Messiah, someone who will wield dominative power, coercive power, the power of violence over people in order to whip them into shape and “see to it” that they are being good, walking the straight and narrow, not tripping the light fantastic, and doing God’s will.

Of course, the content of “good” and “God’s will” would not be the same for all, or even for most, who pine for a political Messiah, who once and for all will “straighten people out” and “set things straight”—or else.

Instead, what did God give humanity?  God gave humanity Himself, access to the Power that is His own, the Power that He is, namely, agape, love. How did He give this gift? He gave it through a Nonviolent Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, His very Incarnation, who lived, taught and died, “and through this love rose from the dead and lives in the Church.” He gave it through the teachings by word and deed of the Nonviolent Messiah of the Gospels, who lived, taught and gave incarnational witness to the Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as the power that saves.

But it seems that the Church, like Israel, is totally disappointed with and discontent with a Nonviolent Messiah.  So the Church has done to Jesus what an author of the Targum of Isaiah did to the nonviolent Suffering Servant of Isaiah 42:1ff. He transformed the passage on the Suffering Servant into a statement of victory by a conquering warrior King Messiah. For the last 1700 years the institutional Church has stood the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels on His head and transformed Him into the major spiritual and moral support person for Christian Just Warists. If “Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church and the Church is an extension of Christ in time and space” as St. Augustine and the Catechism of the Catholic Church say it is, then Christianity has that for which Israel can only presently hope, namely as violent political Messiah, who validates, via His moral approval of war and capital punishment, destroying the evil person to get rid of evil, and the mass slaughter of human beings.  Today, about 98% of Christians are just warists following the Way of the CJWT, thereby placing their trust in and betting their lives on, exactly what their Israelite, Constantinian and pagan predecessors trusted in and bet their lives on—a never ending pursuit of a “faster horse.”

Clarence Jordan, founder in 1943 of Koinonia Farms in Americus, Georgia, a Nonviolent Christian inter-racial community, tells this story:

One day an old Georgia farmer confronted me:

“Clarence, I hear you folks won’t fight.”

“Who told you that?” I replied. “We sure will fight.”

Surprised the farmer said, “Well, you won’t go into the army, will you?”

“No, we don’t fight that way,” I said. “Do you see that mule over there? Now, if that mule bit you, would you bite it back?”

“Nope,” replied the farmer. “I’d whack that mule with a two-by-four and knock its head off.”

“Exactly,” I said. “You wouldn’t let the mule set the level of your encounter with him. You would use a weapon the mule doesn’t know how to handle, but you do. Well, that’s what Christians are supposed to do—use the weapons of the Spirit that Jesus uses, not the weapons of the world the enemy uses.” 

For 1700 years the Churches, their leaders and their laity have been using the same weapons that the enemy uses to combat evil. And, the results have been what? Billions of butchered and brutalized victims of Christian Just Wars, so many victims, that every Christian Church on the planet should have a statute, shrine or monument calling their people to pray for the victims of their Church’s Just Wars. Today, however, there are bishops, priests, ministers, pastors and laity by the hundreds of millions praying for, desiring, demanding, purchasing, searching and researching for a more effective and efficient way to bite the donkey. They all want to be protected and saved by a “faster horse.”

“The horse is a vain hope for salvation; for all its power it cannot save.”

-Psalm 33:17

– ECM

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