Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty-Ninth Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-Ninth 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

Jesus is the Messiah of Judaism and He can only be understood as the Messiah of Judaism,” states Rev. John L. McKenzie. Jews do not believe Jesus is the Messiah of Judaism. But, the same New Testament that presents Jesus as Nonviolent and His Way as being a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies also maintains He is the Messiah of Judaism and He can only be understood as the Messiah of Judaism. The New Testament is not part of Hebrew Scriptures, so the fact that Jesus is designated the Messiah of Israel in these text carries no spiritual authority for the Jewish people. Their understanding and faith is as stated by Moses Maimonides (d.1204) in the twelfth of his thirteen principles of faith: “I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah, and even though he may delay, nevertheless I anticipate every day that he will come.” Some Christian, however, believe that the Messiah of Judaism has come and He is the Nonviolent Jesus of Nazareth, who teaches as God’s Will a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies. Should it not then be that these Christians who embrace the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels should regularly pray that Judaism come to see and accept the Nonviolent Jesus of Nazareth as the Nonviolent Messiah of Israel?

I am not suggesting that Constantinian Christians, who quantitatively compose most of what is named Christianity, regularly pray that Jews become Christian, that Jews should accept any of the institutional Churches of Christianity as something into which they should enter. I am saying that much like the “either-or” issues of whether monotheism, i.e., the one God, is violent or nonviolent, or whether the Jesus of the Gospels is violent or nonviolent, the issue of whether the Nonviolent Jesus is the Nonviolent Messiah of Israel is an “either-or” issue. If Judaism cannot be what it was chosen by God to be, cannot accomplished the mission for which it was created by God to accomplish, unless it accepts the Nonviolent Jesus as God’s chosen Nonviolent Messiah, why would not a believer in Nonviolent Jesus as the Nonviolent Messiah of Israel pray that such an acceptance would occur?

Admittedly, the violent, brutal, power riddled, enmity saturated Constantinian Churches,’ that have systematically tormented and destroyed Jewish people for centuries, are institutions that Jewish people should be a leery of in the extreme. The historical record makes clear that such Churches always have their finger on the trigger, and that the direction they fire in support of one day is the direction they can fire on the next day. But, for Jews to accept the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels as God’s choice to be the Messiah of Israel, proclaiming a Way of Nonviolent love of all, friends and enemies, as the Way to restore Israel, humanity and each person to their right relationship with God would be an entirely different choice for Jews to make. For disciples of the Nonviolent Jesus to pray for this acceptance, would not be praying for Jews to become part of the institutional Constantinian Church.

The salvation of Israel and through Israel of humanity is, like war, ultimately a God question. It is a question of what kind of God is God, and what does God expect of those to whom He has given existence?

“The last and highest of Jesus’ pronouncements is that of love of enemies…’Love your enemies’ in its fundamental meaning is deeply bound-up with Jewish faith and at the same time transcends it.”

– Martin Buber

“Jesus transformed the idea of Messiah when He fulfilled it. The total reality of Jesus Messiah is found nowhere in the Old Testament, not even in its totality. Jesus, however, could have emerged from nothing except Israel and the Old Testament. It is remarkable when one reflects that only as the Saviour of Israel can Jesus be recognized.

-John L. McKenzie.

– ECM

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Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty-Eighth Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-Eighth 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

As I was saying in the prior FAST FOOD Helping, lest it be thought that it was being suggested that attacking, de-legitimizing, questioning, mocking, humiliating, denying and annihilating of a possible Nonviolent Messiah, e.g., Jesus, is a level of darkness to which only the religious and political power-people of Jerusalem in the AD 33 could fall in their lust for power, and in their desire to protect and enhance their positions of dominative power, and in their determination to hang on to the psychological and physical gratuities that attach themselves to such positions, consider the institutional Constantinian Churches over the last 1700 years.

What the religious and political power classes of these Churches—Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant—have done historically and are doing presently to the Nonviolent Messiah, Jesus, whom they not only proclaim is the Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the World, but whom they also proclaim is God Incarnate, equals in spiritual darkness what the Jewish Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, Temple priests and their Roman power-accomplices did to Jesus.

Since “Messiah” is a category of Jewish thought and since “Jesus is the Messiah of Judaism and can only be understood as the Messiah of Judaism” (J. L. McKenzie, ibid), the most telling question a Jew can place before a Christian is, “If Jesus is the redeemer, why doesn’t the world look more redeemed?” The most common response given by Christians at a popular level is the old chestnut from Chesterton: “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” Talk about “being hoisted by your own petard!

Not trying to implement what the Messiah taught as the Will and Way of God for the Jew could only result from not believing that this is the Messiah speaking or from choosing to do evil, i.e., deciding not to do the Will of God. Since the faith of the Jews, and that includes Jesus, is an emmunah-faith, “total trust and reliance on God, where one shows trust through actions,” and not pisitis-faith, “a more intellectual belief in the cognitive truth of something,” to say I believe Jesus is the Messiah and then leave untried what He said, would either be nuts or evil. When God or God’s Messiah speaks, to try to do what is communicated is the “imperative of imperatives.” In other words the “do as I say, and not as I do” proclamation of Jesus Messiah and His Way has as little credibility among emmunah-faith Jews, yesterday and today, as it would have had little credibility for Jesus. This is why the most employed verb by Jesus in the Gospels is “do.”

To not do what God is communicating by His Word through His Messiah would be sin, if a person believed that what was said was God’s Word. But to believe something is the Word of God and then perform an Orwellian double-speak lobotomy on it and make it into the opposite of what it unequivocally means would be an abomination. To then spread this lobotomized Word as the true Word of God would be wickedness that matches what was done in Jerusalem on Good Friday in AD 33. It would be attempting to destroy God’s Plan for the salvation of Israel and for the salvation of all humanity as conveyed through God’s choice of a Messiah. It would be killing the messenger to kill the message that one does not want to hear or to be heard. This is about as evil as evil can get because it is not only flying in the face of God, it is also depriving Israel and humanity of the only Way out of the otherwise no exit world of evil, sin, suffering and death. 

Why is the Nonviolent Jesus’ teaching of the Way of Nonviolent Love of all, friends and enemies, “left untried,” to use the words of G. K. Chesterton? The primary, if not exclusive responsibility for this lies with the Churches’ power people, rulers, leaders and those who control the Churches’ wealth and communication avenues. They are the human beings who are primarily responsible for not allowing the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies to be born in the minds of Christians, and if born, to mature in the minds of Christians. And, if somehow the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels is born and matures in the minds of Christian, the religious power-holders will do all in their earthly power to kill the thought and make sure it is never resurrected. 

Daily they crucify Jesus in the minds of those in their Churches by means of attacking Him as unrealistic, by de-legitimizing Him as a Utopian idealist, by questioning the exclusive absoluteness of His spiritual and moral authority, by mocking His teaching as absurd in the real world, by humiliating Him by belittling the teaching He faithfully lived unto His own torture and death, by denying that His teaching is for all who choose to be Baptized, and generally, by annihilating all conscious thought about Him as the Messiah of Nonviolent Love of all under all conditions, even unto death.

Thoughts that people never hear, or if heard are relegated by trivialization to a state of preposterousness, are thoughts that people cannot choose or will not choose. Information control has always been a tactic of those driven by the lust for power, if a piece of information will raise serious questions about them and what they are about. But in this case it is information needed for their salvation, for the salvation of Israel and for the salvation of all humanity, that is airbrushed out, that is systematically century after centuries withheld from human beings who have a need and a right to hear it—and to hear it properly presented.

One can kill the messenger in various ways, thereby assuring that the message never gets to the ears of those who need and/or want to hear it. Contemporary examples of the use of this tactic by power people abound. But, when the message is the Word of God inviting people into God’s Way of removing evil, sin, suffering and death from the human condition for all, as well as God’s Way of inviting human beings into eternal communion with the Holy One, killing it by refusing to let it be heard or killing it by lobotomizing it is the maximal evil in which religious leaders can engage, whether in Jerusalem in AD 33 or in Rome, Constantinople, Canterbury or Geneva in AD 2014.

– ECM

Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty-Seventh Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-Seventh 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

I cannot imagine that even a single Jew who believes in God would have a single thing against Jesus as the Messiah. Should the coming one be Jesus he would be precisely welcomed as any other whom God would designate as the redeemer of the world. If he would only come,” says Jewish theologian, the late Pinchas Lapide. But, I am not so sure that such would be the case.

If a Messiah, whom Israel absolutely knew was the Messiah, proclaimed to Israel a Divine command to put up the sword and to live in total trust of the Father and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, I think, that at best He would receive a “mixed welcome.”  Most Jewish men, women and children would exclaim, “Hallelujah!” and would commence in trust (emmunah) to take the necessary actions to incorporate this Way into the fabric of their personal and social lives.

But, there would be a segment of Judaism whose response would not be so celebratory—the Jewish religious, political and economic elites, leaders, rulers and their kept sycophants, most of whom would not have the privileges they have nor be able to maintain what they have without violence and enmity. The most basic of all the privileges they would loose is power, dominative, coercive, violent power over others. The history of human beings driven by the lust for power and the self-satisfying prerogatives it makes available to them is probably the most sordid dimension of the human condition. Men and women so driven will sacrifice anything and anybody that they think stands in the way of their climb up the ladder of power or that they think might pull the power ladder out from under them—even their God or by extension their Messiah. If their God or God’s Messiah cannot be harnessed to support their lust for power or their maintenance of power accumulated, or worse, if their God is a major and irremovable obstacle to their becoming king of the hill and staying king of the hill, then God or God’s Messiah’s supremely exalted place in people’s minds and lives has to be attacked, down-graded, delegitimized, questioned, mocked, denied and if at all possible annihilated.

Every form of lust, of any desire by which a person is consumed, including the lust for power, if fed by the person and/or others, has within it the potential energy to bring the person to calling evil good, to calling falsehood truth and of brining the person to brutally attacking, and if necessary killing, his or her God, and by extension his or her Messiah. Lust, including the lust for power, drives people out of their right minds.

Once that primary spiritual battlefield, the mind, is overrun by lust, “justified” sordid behavior is logically what cascades from the person into human existence to work its corrupting effects, not only for a moment, but for only God knows how long. If God or God’s Messiah is on the side of one’s lust then, “Praise the Lord.” If God or God’s Messiah is opposed to one’s lust then God or God’s chosen His Messiah has to be corrected, bought off or annihilated in mind and in memory. And, if God or God’s Messiah too accurately and too acutely threatens the “justifiability” of pursuing or maintaining one’s particular lust, then what God or God’s Messiah is purposing as an alternative must be quickly taken off the table. If possible it must be removed from circulation without even giving it a try, and placed as far out of view and consciousness as possible by those needing God or God’s chosen Messiah’s moral support for pursuing the lust to which they have handed over their minds, but are unable to acquire.

That it was the Jewish religious, political and economic elites, leaders, rulers of Jerusalem and their kept sycophants, who connived to have Jesus killed, and that it was their cohorts in the local Roman power system who agreed to fulfilled these desires and killed Him, is beyond question. This is just the typical arrangement among members of the power classes; one bloody hand washes the other bloody hand. The ordinary Jewish man or woman either felt positive about Jesus or was indifferent toward Him. That the average Jewish person at the time, let alone the majority of Jewish people at the time, wanted him killed is not in the realm of reasonable possibility from anything the Gospels tell us. That the religious powers-that-be whipped up a small crowd of people during the night and early morning hours to yell “Crucify him!,” in front of Pilate, I think, is also beyond question. Power people, left and right, are masters at organizing and orchestrating small, “spontaneous,” vociferous crowds to do their bidding. So the religious and political powerhouses, who probably had more to lose if than any one else if the Nonviolent Jesus of Nazareth was the Nonviolent Messiah chosen by God, made the basic decision on whether He and His Way were God’s choice to save Israel. And, to this day it seems that that decision by those few power-males holds uncontested and unexamined sway among most Jewish people.

Lest it be thought that this is a level of darkness to which only the religious and political power people of Jerusalem in the AD 30s could degenerate in the protection and enhancement of their power positions, consider what the religious and political power classes of the institutional Constantinian Churches have done to the One whom they not only proclaim is the Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the World, but to the One whom they proclaim is God Incarnate!

– ECM

Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty-Sixth Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-Sixth 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

FAST FOOD Helping Thirty-Five concluded with these words:

“Whether Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah of Israel, the Saviour of Israel, or not can objectively have—because of the principle of non-contradiction— only one truthful answer: yes or no. However, any yea or nay an individual human being would give to that question must be a faith answer, a faith answer which is intimately interconnected with whatever it is that is her or his faith understanding of what kind of God God is and what God expects.”

In his Two Types of Faith, Martin Buber distinguishes between the Hebraic emmunah faith: total trust and reliance on God, where one shows trust through actions. and St. Paul’s pistis faith: a more intellectual belief in the cognitive truth of something. Note, Buber attributes this pistis-type faith to Paul, not Jesus. Whatever else Jesus may or may not be objectively, He lives a life of unreserved, unswerving, unconditional emmunah-type faith.

Martin Buber is the most renowned Jewish theologian of the Twentieth Century. He says that at root the faith of Judaism is a relationship of trust (emmunah) in [The LORD] Without standing firm in trust in [The LORD], His word and His way there is no Abraham, no Moses, no Prophets, no Mary, no Jesus. Standing firm in one’s trust of the Holy One is the “imperative imperative” of the Jewish faith. Commenting on the necessity of this rock-like trust in God for faith he writes: “Only if a person stands firm in the fundamental relationship of his life (the relation of the person to the Power, the Source, the God from which his or her being originates and is sustained) does that person have an essential stability.”  But standing firm in trust in God always involves unknowns and possible dangers. Nevertheless, “the true Israelite trusts in the God who exists as a matter of course.” And, as one trusts, so he or she will be entrusted, e.g., Abraham, Moses, Mary, Jesus.

It takes only a little thinking, which still may be too much for too many, to see beyond the evil of the moment and perceive that there is universally running through the human condition a terrible and destructive power, which, can and does, century after century turn individual human lives into hellish cauldrons of misery and the world into a furnace of pain, anger, hate, enmity, deception, despair, cruelty, greed, callousness and death. It takes only a tad more thinking too see that there is no exit, no humanly conceivable way out the lock this power has on humanity. Both Jews and Christians recognize the reality and unrelenting intractableness of this pernicious power, whatever it is. Both also recognize that either [The LORD] saves the individual, the House of Israel and/or the human race from the clutches of its iron fist or there is no deliverance from it.

“Through its history Israel learns that salvation is not achieved through human culture or political institutions: salvation is achieved only through the intervention of [The LORD]. It also learns that the obstacle to salvation is man’s refusal to accept it. Messianism precisely understood, i.e., with reference to a personal human agent of deliverance chosen by God, brings out the human factor in deliverance: while it is the work of [The LORD], it is a work in which man must share”

 
(Rev. John L. McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible @ Messiah, Messianism).

Pinchas Lapide, a Jewish theologian and historian, in dialogue with Karl Rahner, S.J. a Catholic theologian, said,

“Jesus was utterly true to the Torah, as I myself hope to be. I even suspect he was more true to the Torah than I as an Orthodox Jew…I cannot imagine that even a single Jew who believes in God would have a single thing against Jesus as the Messiah. Should the coming one be Jesus he would be precisely welcomed as any other whom God would designate as the redeemer of the world. If he would only come!”

At one level what Lapide says is incontestably true. The Messiah is God’s choice, chosen for God’s reasons, whose purpose is to save Israel and through Israel to save all humanity. Messiah is not an office one runs for; it is a ministry one is given by God. So a believing Jew would have to say, “Amen,” to God’s choice—although perhaps he or she would have made a different selection, if consulted. But, “Amen,” does not necessarily mean, “Welcome!” It means, “So be it;” “So it is;” “So shall it be;” “So it must be.”

When we speak of the Jewish Jesus of the Gospels as the Messiah of Israel, we are always speaking of a Nonviolent Messiah. But, we are also always speaking of “the Hebraic emmunah based faith that is the only faith that Jesus knew and that is the faith of Jews in Jesus’ time and today. An emmunah-faith intrinsically calls forth total trust and reliance on God; where one shows trust through actions.” Jesus assertion that “Not everyone who says to me,’ Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 21:7) is just a statement that is logically consistent with the emmunah faith in which He was raised.  In a pistis based faith, one can apparently sing with his or her lips until he or she is blue in the face, “He is Lord! He is risen from the dead and He is Lord. Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,” and trust the Lord only to the extent cultural common commonsense says it is reasonable to trust in Him. So, would a Nonviolent Messiah who would necessarily call forth that level of incarnational emmunah, which is reserved for [The LORD] alone, receive a “Welcome,” or even an “Amen, brother,” from a community that knows faith means emmunah and not merely lip service?

If as it seemingly is with having a pistis-faith in a Nonviolent Messiah, a believer can “praise the Lord and pass the ammunition,” well then, a Nonviolent Messiah would be more that welcome. But if one has an emmunah-faith and the Nonviolent Messiah teaches, “Stop biting the donkey back and forget the search for a faster horse because such are not the Way that the Father of all saves Israel and all humanity”, then a believer in this Messiah has to wholeheartedly trust in the Messiah’s communication as truthfully presenting the Word and Way of God, AND he or she has put it, and nothing contrary to it, into action. We are here presented with two very different answers to the question, “How does the Messiah save?

– ECM

[editor’s note: The Name of The LORD (the Sacred Tetragrammaton) is used several times in this Helping. I hold The Name as absolutely Holy, never say it and offer reparation when I hear it said. This was the practice of the Fathers of the Church. I try to substitute it’s occurrence with [The LORD] as is the practice in the original Catholic documents]

Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty-Fifth Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-Fifth 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

From A Theology of the Old Testament by Rev. John L. McKenzie:

“Jesus is the Messiah of Judaism and He can only be understood as the Messiah of Judaism. Jesus could have emerged from nothing except Israel and the Old Testament. It is remarkable when one reflects that only as the Savior of Israel can Jesus be recognized. The role of Jesus can be protected from distortion only by holding fast its connection with Biblical antecedents: a non-Israelite Jesus makes no sense.

The total reality of Jesus Messiah is found nowhere in the Old Testament, not even in its totality. Jesus, however, could have emerged from nothing except Israel and the Old Testament; but the study of the Old Testament does not demand that Jesus Messiah emerge from it. As Jesus cannot be understood without the Old Testament, so He is not found in His full reality in the Old Testament. Jesus arises from the categories of the Old Testament but He surpasses them. Jesus transformed the idea of Messiah when He fulfilled it.

The Old Testament contains many statements of doctrine which Christians cannot believe and of morality which Christians cannot practice. As far as I can tell, the bloodthirsty Israelites of David’s time or the bloodthirsty Romans of Jesus’ time were quite as ready for the Gospel as are my contemporaries.”

In these FAST FOOD (2014) Helpings much time and cyber-ink has been expended making it rationally transparent that the Jesus of the primitive Church and the Gospels is Nonviolent and teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as the Way. He teaches this by word and deed as the only Way to enter into the salvation process initiated by God through Him. It is a process which vanquishes evil and death in all their manifestations for all people. It is now obvious, I hope, that when a person answers the question that Jesus asked St. Peter, “Who do you say I am?” in the manner Peter answers it, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16: 16), he or she is simultaneously saying, “You are the Saviour of Israel. You are my Saviour and Lord. You know what you are talking about. Your Way is the Way of God. I unreservedly trust in you. I will be your disciple and follow you. You have the words of eternal life. Where else can I go?”

Nothing in the Gospels suggests that after a person professes, “You are the Messiah, the Christ,” he or she can, or would even have the smallest inkling, to say, “Thanks Jesus for coming and saving me. But, now, I must be getting back to my old wanton and wicked ways. See you in heaven!” This is not how Jesus saves. The explicit admonition to Church leaders and warning to all Christians in these Helpings is that the institutional Churches for the last 1700 years has gone back, in fact, theory and theology, in the areas of violence and enmity, to the old wanton and wicked ways of Israel in the Old Testament, of Rome, of Greece, of Egypt, of the world. They have never ceased saying with their lips to Jesus, “You are the Messiah, the Christ,” while simultaneously never ceasing to engage in the wantonness and wickedness of violence, war, capital punishment, abortion and enmity—and propagandizing these anti-Jesus, anti-Gospel evils as part of the saving Way of Jesus!

When Peter proclaims “You are the Messiah, the Christ,” he means, as all Jews would have meant and all Christians must mean—if Jesus is not to become a Rorschach inkblot into whom can be read every mythological notion of salvation conceivable—that Jesus is the Messiah of Judaism, the Saviour of Israel.  But all the admonitions and warning of these FAST FOOD Helpings have been addressed to the Churches, their leaders and their people. Jesus during His life on earth never addresses the Churches. The Church was born on Pentecost, after Jesus had ascended to the Father. Jesus addresses Israel, the leaders of Israel, the people of Israel. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Mt 15:24; 10:6).

Israel, the leaders of Israel and the people of Israel yesterday and today reject His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, not by some serpentine, Orwellian double-speak contrivance of logic that equates war with peace, love with hate, violence with nonviolence as the institutional Churches do, but rather on the basis that Jesus is not the Messiah of Israel and therefore He knows no more about God’s Way than anyone else. Absent being the Messiah of Israel, Jesus has no Divine authority and His teaching regarding what kind of God God is and what God expects, and specifically His teaching of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, have no Divine mandate behind them as the Way of God for Israel, for its leaders or for its people. The rejection of Jesus as the Messiah of Israel puts an end for any Jew to any more than normal human interest in what He taught.

But, whether Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah of Israel, the Saviour of Israel can objectively have—because of the principle of non-contradiction— only one truthful answer: yes or no. However, the answer any human being can give to that question must be a faith answer, a faith answer which is intimately interconnected with whatever it is that is her or his faith in what kind of God God is and what God expects.

– ECM

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

Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty-Third Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-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

For the follower of Jesus eternal life is worth “loving as He loves” for, worth loving enemies for, worth suffering for, even worth dying for. But, for the follower of Jesus to say, “I’ll kill for eternal life,” makes no sense at all. It is tantamount to saying; “I’ll shoot my way into heaven! I’ll slaughter those whom God infinitely loves as the Way to becoming one with ‘the God who is love!’

Without intending to demean any person and without intending to engage in hyperbole, it must be said that the Way of the Christian Just Warist is spiritually and morally, logically and theologically is nothing other than ludicrous. And, for the Christian to say he or she can reach the degree of moral certainty necessary for him or her to choose the Way of the Christian Just Warist over Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is patently disingenuous.

Jesus has no need for the Way of the Just Warist, the Church has no need for it and the Christian has no need for it. Everything for which the Christian has been given the gift of existence and everything for which he or she has been given the gift of faith can be totally accomplished without anything that the Way of the Christian Just Warist has to offer. All that is needed for salvation is accomplished exclusively by Jesus’ Way of Nonviolent Love of all, which Way is accessible to all who desire to live according to it. As noted in FAST FOOD Helpings 9 and 10, “Jesus placed his achievements within the reach of all men. He demands nothing that is not within the reach of every man of every age. The deliverance of man is not to be accomplished by an act, which can be shared by only a few.”

In his book, Source, Rev. John L. McKenzie summarizes what is being said in this FAST FOOD Helping:

“Jesus was a practical person in the sense that he proposed a program which anyone could follow. The teaching of Jesus, as reported in the Gospels, is simple and without subtlety; it is addressed to the mental age of 12 years (as I’m told most television programs are addressed). The moral instructions of Jesus, as I have said before, are not hard to understand; they are just hard to do. We have devoted our intellectual subtlety to evading the words of Jesus, or to convincing ourselves that doing something else is just as good and a lot more practical.”

 So now, answer truthfully: “How does Jesus save?” “How important is the eternal salvation of yourself, your loved ones and all human beings to you?

– ECM