So I think now is the time to talk about guns. Now that all the fuss has died down.
I get it: Letting a flooded market of guns just saturate our culture so that people will be too afraid to shoot each other instead of anxious to shoot each other is naive.
I get it: Trying to ban all guns will just take guns away from law-abiding citizens and keep them in the hands of law-breakers and a sporadically tyrannical government, which makes it also naive. Continue reading →
After a tragedy, sometimes people ask “where was God in this?” Sometimes I want to ask “where is God in your response?” and, more importantly, “what kind of God is in your response?”
Can we agree to a verbal armistice? Let’s pretend that bad memes and misuse of statistics are like using nerve gas and Agent Orange. Be the bigger one and stop using it, demonstrating that not-using-it-ness to those who disagree with you. Come on, I know you can do it. Continue reading →
Chapter 13 is about the alleged violent Jesus in John’s Revelation. J. Nelson Kraybill asks “What About the Warrior Jesus in Revelation 19: ‘He has trampled out the vintage’?”
To start with, Kraybill reminds us that “we should read Revelation as reassurance that God has chosen to act and redeem in the midst of a messed up world.” That’s important, considering some of the weird interpretations of the book that have come up over the ages. Far too many people still believe that it’s something like the “Left Behind” books that themselves left wisdom and truth behind. What John writes is in essence a revealing. In all the troubles Christians were undergoing and about to undergo, we Jesus is revealed. That is the purpose of the book John wrote on Patmos. Continue reading →
Chapter 10 Samuel Wells deals with a puzzling statement made by Jesus. Now we ask, “Didn’t Jesus say he came not to bring peace, but a sword?”
Matt. 10:34-39 is the central text in this chapter. Jesus did in fact say these words: “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
The irony Wells points out is that nearly every Christian will tell you Jesus didn’t “come to bring the sword”, and yet so many Christians act as if he did, whereas he said he did “come to bring the sword”, and yet his life and the lives of his followers after his ascension show the opposite. So something’s strange here, right?
In chapter 2 D. Stephen Long deals with the difficult question “What About Protecting Third Party Innocents? Can we just let our neighbors die?”
Long doesn’t pretend all this is easy. He’s a reluctant pacifist who came from a military family. He doesn’t let us choose pacifism for some bogus reason. He rejects that liberal pacifism where we just say we hate war but perpetuate the conditions that make war “necessary”. He rejects the notion that war is bad because all soldiers are bloodthirsty savages. Many soldiers are and have been decent, loving, exceptional, faithful people who seem to be incapable of harboring hate, and what we call good soldiering requires “self sacrifice, disciplined community, and moral attentiveness.” He rejects the notion that pacifists are better because they don’t like war and everyone else does. Practically nobody loves war (except immature American boys who play Call of Duty all day and think war would be fun). Even the most battle-hardened want to avoid it, with few exceptions. So we can’t reject violence for cheap reasons. Continue reading →