Posts Tagged ‘non-violence’

Light of the World… Used to Kill People

January 20th, 2010 1 comment

There is outrage in this country, but I fear it for the wrong reason.

A story just broke this week which revealed the weapons company Trijicon has been branding their military rifle scopes with Bible verses.  I have included one such example below.  The ACOG4X32 model number ends with "JN8:12" – a reference to verse 8:12 in the New Testament Gospel of John.  The fear is that this constitutes "proselytizing" and thus is outside the regulations.  People have been outraged that such blatant Christian influence was allowed to find its place in our military.


Oh believe me I am upset by this, but not for the same reasons the ACLU is upset.  It is more likely someone will convert to being a fan of Nashville Hockey by flying an unmanned drone than it is someone will become a Christian after using these sights.  What is frustrating to me is how offensive this juxtaposition of worldviews is.  In John 8: 12 Jesus says:

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

That is written on the side of a device used so you can see people more clearly so that you can kill them.  Does anyone else see how screwed up that was?

The entire life, death and resurrection of Jesus points to a life of non-violence and sacrificial subversion.  Jesus embodies love, grace and mercy, yet his words are used to brand an instrument of war and destruction.

We might as well name our next warship the USS Martin Luther King Jr. or put a picture of Ghandi on our nuclear weapons.  I am not worried Muslims will be offended by this verse on the side of a rifle scope.  I fear they will be upset when we use this rifle scope to kill them

I guess I must admit that I do fear proselytizing, but not in the way many have expressed.  I am not worried about people sharing their faith in Christianity through verses written on a scope.  I fear people will continue to be converted to this false gospel that the way of Jesus is one of force and privilege.  I fear people will convert to seeing an American Jesus and ignore his radical message of peace, love and non-violence even in the face of oppression and persecution.

Trijicon messed up when they put this verse on their product.  Not because it broke military regulations, but because they have grossly misrepresented the savior they have claimed to serve.

The Descending Spiral of Violence

January 18th, 2010 No comments


The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.


Brueggemann, God and the Bible

August 4th, 2009 3 comments

The following is a brief interview with an academic mentor of mine about the God of the Bible and the call for the church today.  Brueggemann says a few things that will be unsettling to some, but I think his points are thought provoking and important.


Walter Brueggemann on the Bible

Here are some of the key quotes in the interview:

  • I believe the God of the Bible is implicated in the inherent violence of the Bible.
  • I believe the God of the Bible is a recovering agent of violence… it (violence) is always latently there.
  • Violence is intrinsic to our inheritance… the question is whether or not we can resist this inheritance.
  • The big revelatory moments are characteristically departures from what has been taken for granted.
  • There is no final reading to the text — we are always going to be led somewhere else.

Without doubt most Christians are uncomfortable with calling God a recovering practitioner of violence, but without some serious theological gymnastics, it is hard to dispute — The God of the Old Testament used violence to bring about his will.  Let us not get caught up in this non-traditional description of God, but instead grasp the more important points Brueggemann is trying to make:

  • The narrative of redemptive history is pointing us in the direction of love where violence is no more.
  • Each generation is called to further the restoration of the world.
  • We must often fight with the status quo in order to bring about a better world.
  • While the next step is not always certain, the direction of the movement is.  We must move away from violence and oppression and towards a world where all things are set right.
  • We must be open to God’s will in these matters and be bold in our willingness to act.