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HolyGround >> The Rev on Non-Violence


8/5/10 3:44 PM
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Lahi
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Curious what you guys think about this. Its a few minutes but will make you think.
8/5/10 3:47 PM
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Lahi
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Edited: 08/05/10 3:48 PM
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One reason I posted this:

Had an incident the other night where someone was banging on my door after midnight. When I looked out I couldn't see anyone.

I don't live in the worst neighboorhood, but its not the best either. Just a block or so away it gets a good bit worse. I also had a couple kids in the house.

Grabbed a loaded gun and had it hidden on me when I answered the door. Turned out to be a friend of mine who was playing a joke. If I had been by myself, I think I would've been more likely to think "non-violently." Still felt like I did the wrong thing though.
8/5/10 4:01 PM
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Lahi
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Just to add, he never knew I had a gun, I was just extra cautions when I opened the door. Didn't freak out or anything. But the idea that I would respond that way at all bothered me.
8/5/10 4:48 PM
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IBI
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Seems like a reasonable response. If I lived in America, I would carry a gun all the time (assuming I could get a concealed carry permit etc.).

That sounds like a pretty lousy joke on your friend's part. Maybe you should have shot him in the leg, to teach him a lesson.
8/5/10 5:12 PM
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Lahi
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LOL. Yeah, he felt kind of bad.

I guess I'm a worst-case scenario kind of person. I agree with just about all of what the Rev says. I know he's right that most of us will never have to worry about home invasions, or being kidnapped, or whatever. But that stuff does happen, and I want to be committed to trying to follow what I think is right in those situations too.

Maybe that's a fault of my nature. But when I read about one of Shane Claiborne's friends getting jumped and beaten up, or read Bart Campolo's blog about a couple armed guys acting weird in from of his house in the ghetto, I feel like I should be committed to trying to act the way they did, even in those situations.

Not to hijack what the Rev is saying. I am probably off track to think too much about that stuff, instead of focusing on what I can actually do in my day to day life to be practically Non-Violent.
8/5/10 6:01 PM
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Robert Wynne
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Lahi - Just to add, he never knew I had a gun, I was just extra cautions when I opened the door. Didn't freak out or anything. But the idea that I would respond that way at all bothered me.

 Don't you think, Moses in the same situation would of been packing too?


Moses whip a sinners butt :)
8/10/10 12:29 AM
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Grakman
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Lahi - LOL. Yeah, he felt kind of bad.

I guess I'm a worst-case scenario kind of person. I agree with just about all of what the Rev says. I know he's right that most of us will never have to worry about home invasions, or being kidnapped, or whatever. But that stuff does happen, and I want to be committed to trying to follow what I think is right in those situations too.

 I live right on the border with Mexico. Anything is possible.

So what happens to the theory of non-violence when it is not only your person in danger, but those of your children or your neighbors children who have entrusted them to your care? What about your wife or an elderly relative? Was the intent of the teaching of non-violence that the strong would permit harm to the weak, if there is no escape?
8/10/10 12:35 AM
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Lahi
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TTT for later
8/10/10 1:19 PM
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Lahi
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Grakman -  I live right on the border with Mexico. Anything is possible.

So what happens to the theory of non-violence when it is not only your person in danger, but those of your children or your neighbors children who have entrusted them to your care? What about your wife or an elderly relative? Was the intent of the teaching of non-violence that the strong would permit harm to the weak, if there is no escape?


I've lived and worked in some pretty rough areas too, and have seen first hand the terrible, evil things people do to each other. I think I'm pretty realistic about what can happen out there...if anything maybe my view is skewed towards the negative.

Personally, I don't think non-violence is always practical. It doesn't always offer better odds for survival, or safety, than violence does. Maybe in some cases, but not always.

The problem for me is that Jesus clearly taught a different way. The culture of His time saw 3 options to the violent oppressors who ruled them: submission and compromise, escape, or violent rebelion. Jesus taught that all these ways were not God's ways, and instead preached (and lived) a way of non-violent revolt.

One problem I have with responding violently is that it forces me to play into the cycle of violence that our societies are based on. It takes away my ability to show Jesus to those involved. My natural response is to respond violently, there is no doubt about that.

The problem is that when I order my life around being prepared for a worst-case scenario, the law of violence is determining how I treat other people in a lot of situations that are not worst-case. The reality is that once I choose violence, I'm not going to limit it to just being ready to protect children or old folks who are being violently assaulted.

For instance, when I'm walking down the street, I'm often sizing people up, thinking about how I would respond violently in different situations if I were attacked. I've already decided that I'm going to react violently, and the reality is that I can't show Christ to people if they do threaten me when this is my mindset.

Shane Claiborn has a story about a friend in his ghetto community, who got jumped by some gang-bangers while he was walking down the street. They beat the crap out of him, for no good reason. When the guy got back and got healed up a little, they held a community meeting to decide how to respond to the situation. They printed up flyers with the guy's picture on it, that said something like:

"My name is Mark, and a few guys jumped me and beat me up pretty bad around here the other day. I just want to let them know that I forgive them, and that there are no hard feelings. Here's my number and address. If they see this, maybe we can get together and play fuseball sometime." Then they put the flyers up around the neighboorhood.

Claiborn also makes the point that we are not called by passively submit, but to look our oppressor in the eye after they stike us, and force them to see our humanity. And to love them by any way that is open to us.

Like Rev has said, we need to be as creative in our non-violent solutions as others are in their violent ones. (There were lots of things I could have done besides answering the door with a gun.) This will certainly open up the chance that we and our loved ones will be hurt in ways we might have not been if we had chosen violence. But I believe we are called to this life as Christians. I'm not willing to let the fear of what might happen if I don't choose violence dictate my life, and keep me from sharing God's love. Of course I would try and stop children or old folks from being harmed, but I would hope I would not resort to killing to do so, but instead try everything else possible, including being willing to die myself. (Some old folks that I know would say the same thing themselves).

Again, this is what I believe to be true, not what I can do or have done. I'm very much geared towards another mindset.
8/10/10 1:38 PM
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Ridgeback
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 The problem with most Christians is that they don't live on that cusp between extreme self-defense of loved ones and total non-violence (which I think is a legit issue).  Most Christians are happily in bed with violence at the disinterested level of the militaristic empire that bombs other Christians and murders their children.

This dilemma was aptly presented in the movie The Mission.  Jeremy Iron's characters upholds total non-violence, while Robert DeNiro's intends to use his sword to protect the people he once enslaved and had grown to love.  I am not sure that dilemma is ever solved, but the one whereby Christians get behind the looting and bullying of the world in the name of abstract ideas (freedom, democracy, commerce) shouldn't even be an issue.  Christians should be the hardest people to drag to war rather than the easiest.
8/10/10 5:01 PM
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Lahi
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Great post Ridge, totally agree. Will have to check that movie out.
8/10/10 10:28 PM
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Grakman
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 I'd be interested to hear if Clairbourne's friend ever got to play fuseball with the guys that beat him.
8/10/10 10:59 PM
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Lahi
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It didn't sound like it:) But those are the kind of guys who would do it for real. I don't know if you've ever checked him out, but Claiborn is an interesting guy, even if you totally disagree with him, he really lives it.
8/10/10 11:51 PM
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Grakman
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 I read one of his books that the Rev recommended but I don't remember the name. Very inspiring.
8/10/10 11:55 PM
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Lahi
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Didn't mean to type you a sermon, just been thinking about this stuff a lot lately.
8/11/10 12:05 AM
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Grakman
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 No problem Lahi, I didn't take it the wrong way. Most of my waking thoughts are consumed by some sort of thinking on theology or religion. I feel your pain. :)
8/11/10 12:17 AM
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Lahi
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:)
9/11/10 1:12 AM
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reverend john
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I think that I stated quite clearly that I believe its a myth to think violence will enable us to "save" others automatically. If my wife or daughters were being attacked I would intervene. The truth is, it is quite possible I would react rather than act. But if I was given the grace to live by my convictions I would die to protect my wife, or even a stranger on the street, but I would not kill to do so. Non violence doesn't always work, but violence never works.

rev

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