According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pacifism's Ideals Against "Just War" and "Measured Response," Part II

Last week I was working through the several ideas of pacifism and its counterparts of "Just War" theory (sic, there are no "just wars," just "just causes") and "Measured Responses" (meet all oppression with appropriate delegation and determination before launching reciprocating policies that become locked into place without budge or move). Those ideas may be found in the post, Pacifism's Ideals Against "Just War" and "Measured Response."
 
Today, Roger Olson presents a post of expediency which I think is basically a re-hash of my earlier post from a week ago. It is built upon common sense and a sensible response to evil and cruelty through judicious remediation, open and honest communication, and a willingness to investigate all truths (or untruths), before forming a solidifying opinion. In a sense, an equitable court of public opinion is presented over an inequitable one filled with mistaken impressions, wrongful lies and slander, biased or prejudicial stereotypes, inaccurate media reports, and/or public fears and political pandering to those fears. Hence, no public policy should be formed without first during the hard work of validating both the wrongs committed, and the ethical dilemmas they may further present, if any further action is undertaken.
 
One further note is Olson's reluctant use of measured force while retaining his idea of being a Christian "pacifist" along the lines of Jesus' commands. Even so, I applaud his version of this idea of pacifism, though another definition of it would see all abandon to any force used to the protection of life, liberty, and freedom. As such, I would much more align with Olson's brand of pacifism in defense of the weak and innocent than I would by not doing anything at all. I suppose this would be more in line with the idea of "American Justice" as we see it exploited by Hollywood. (And no, I don't equate "American Justice" with the judicious response to biblical rightness... rather, I use it as a cultural pejorative, if I understand and am using the term correctly).
 
However, there is a far greater sin than the one of reacting to evil, and that is the one of taking no action at all. It is the sin of cowardice in the face of evil. Or the sin of no response by allowing evil to harm another. Or the sin of pride in dying for one's belief's when they affect another's will to live. Each is a study of reflection and human socio-psychology. In Bonhoeffer's case, look at how many German citizens willing allowed evil its corruption without preventing its rise by turning a blind eye to the concentration camps, or the evils suffered by their Jewish (and minority) neighbors. It takes far greater courage to break from public perception and will than it is to go against the crowd by acting singularly, bravely, and without help, towards the humanitarian debt of necessary prevention and cessation.
 
Lastly, how many times to we read of each reaction in the Old and New Testaments. One for ethical rightness (OT), and the other for judicious judgment (NT). It's an ancient problem and not one to go away anytime soon. Whether at home, in our communities, nationally, or globally. It started with the weak-minded parenting of Adam and Eve in provoking jealousy and animosity and doesn't end when reading of Paul's missionary church's arguing between themselves. However, it behooves us all to use common sense, a biblical sense, coupled with self-examination, humility, grace, and forgiveness. Hard choices to be sure. But then again, living this life in a Jesus-centered fashion is hard in itself. May God give us wisdom.
 
R.E. Slater
November 6, 2013
 
* * * * * * * * * *
 
Right, Wrong, and Necessary