Posted by: Frank | March 28, 2023

Frank blogged on March 28, 2023 at 11:08AM

I believe that if something is really true, it is true every where and for all traditions, which is known as the perennial philosophy. It should be obvious that violence begets more violence because this is really true. Jesus’ Sermon On The Mount almost entirely teaches how to respond to and reconcile with this truth, For example, Jesus says, “You have heard how it is said to our ancestors, You shall not kill..but I say this to you…” (Matthew 5:21-22) and goes on to say, be reconciled with your brother first.

Further in the sermon Jesus says, “You have heard how it was said, You will love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you;” (Matthew 5:43-44). Throughout the sermon Jesus teaches us that laws in themselves do not make change, true transformation requires addressing the deeper issue that laws are simply a response to.

Perhaps the biggest problem of Christianity is that its adherents either don’t know or intentionally ignore what Jesus taught for teachings instituted by a tradition born of empire. Why we ignore what Jesus actually taught may be because if it were actually lived out the empire that born the Christianity we know would be threatened (Jesus would say replaced by the kingdom of God), or those who know his teaching ignore it because they don’t think is possible that it cannot be lived out. Jesus would say we have little faith.

Soon Christians will celebrate Easter, but not many, if any, churches will reflect on how what Jesus did in that last week of his life was a response to violence. Palm Sunday should be the first clue, while his disciples where imagining a triumphant and militaristic response to Rome from their Messiah, Jesus road a donkey in to Rome rather than a battle horse.

Jesus encountered and endured the most violent act Rome inflicted on its enemies, crucifixion, and did not respond violence but instead by stretching out his arms on the cross. Why is it that Christians, who claim to know and follow the teach of Jesus cannot, perhaps will not, accept and live out what “Christ Crucified” means?

The empires of man believe that peace is only possible through violent enforcement of laws, but the real truth is that such peace is only enjoyed by a few and is only fleeting, because there will always, always be another who thinks their peace is only possible by another act of violence. On Good Friday those who the claim the adjective, Christian, should by the teaching of their tradition see before them the result of collaborative act of violence by religious and state authorities. We should know best the consequences of violence, as did Jesus, who was Jewish, and saw how Israel was trapped in the violent spiral starting from Egypt through Babylon and to Rome.

Christians claim the cross, but what we do not see is that in practice we live under the cross of Constantine’s battle standard and not the cross of Jesus. We know how to break out of the spiral of violence, it is in our face on Good Friday if only we will open our eyes to see it. If we allow ourselves to be caught up in the movement that Yahweh started on Easter Sunday, follow the Way that Jesus taught and lived, we will find there is a way to break free from the spiral of violence. The real challenge of faith is believing that it is possible to do break free from the spiral, in Christ.

from Frankly…


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