Thursday, December 30, 2010

More about Peace Month

A few years ago journalists reported on a controversial story about rifle scopes used by US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The gun sights were inscribed with Bible verse references - John 8:12, which reads: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Here's a picture of the scope. (left)

A spokesperson for the manufacturer said, "Unless the equipment proves less effective, I don't see why we should stop using it." First of all, "less effective?" Does he mean less effective in killing people? Secondly, am I the only one who finds it more than a little disturbing that people would see no conflict in using Jesus' words as a way to promote violence and war. As if Jesus would be cheering us on in our pursuit of peace through violent means. As if Jesus doesn't want to turn our rifles into plowshares (Isaiah 2:4)

I'm going to include some really radical teaching from Luke 6. Take a look at it with fresh eyes and see what you think. Was Jesus a dreamer, an idealist, a fanatic, a schemer? Was this really his plan and hope for humanity? Doesn't he know what it's like to live in the real world? Does he really think this will "work?"

27“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.    32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:27-36)

A few queries for relfection:
  • Could Jesus possibly expect me to organize my life around these teachings? Pause. Listen.
  • How do these teachings give us power? How do they make us powerless?
  • What would be the scariest thing about following these teachings? What would be most liberating?

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