The New Christians

The New Christians

Comment of the Day

Angela, on the Sermon on the Mount and martial arts:

People are always telling me that when Jesus said “turn the other
cheek” he meant “within reason,” that when he said to carry the pack an
extra mile, he meant “if it won’t make you late for an appointment.”
I’ve come to believe that instead, turn the other cheek meant to
surrender, to lay down your life, to present yourself to be crucified,
if that’s the way of love.

I am cautious about being too quick to tell myself that the path of
love involves kicking the crap out of someone. On the other hand, I am
also a student of the martial arts. It strengthens my body and mind so
that I am better able to stand and look someone in the eye with love
(instead of fear) and say “Let’s not do this.”

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posted March 5, 2009 at 8:23 am

Angela: “I’ve come to believe that instead, turn the other cheek meant to surrender, to lay down your life, to present yourself to be crucified, if that’s the way of love.”
I disagree. Too many times the ideas of “turning the other cheek” and “presenting onself to be cricified” do more harm than good. We shouldn’t turn the other cheek to a physically abusive person. We shouldn’t turn the other cheek to someone who is emotionally abusive. We shouldn’t turn the other cheek to a rapist. We shouldn’t turn the other cheek to a nation who is causing genocide. The list could go on and on. Obviously, Angela didn’t explicity suggest these things. But the ideas do have an impact in the lives of many Christians. In my experience as a councelor and chaplain, I have seen them at work. Pastors and other church leaders need to be very careful when promoting these ideas and using this language. It’s the councelors and chaplains that have to help people get over the damage that these theologies do. So I urge caution and mindfulness. We need to think about the ethical implications of the theologies we teach. The following is one article that I have written on this topic:

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posted March 5, 2009 at 11:35 am

Brian, you are mistaking “turn the other cheek” with “do nothing”.

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Mark Van Steenwyk

posted March 5, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Amen. It is called Pacifism, not Passivism. Nonviolence MUST be active…it is a way of engagement, not the absence of engagement. I recommend you read Kurlansky’s “Nonviolence” as an excellent overview of how folks have actively employed nonviolence.

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posted March 5, 2009 at 2:42 pm

We need to be actively anti-violent. There is much we have to learn from the Quakers.

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posted March 5, 2009 at 2:43 pm

My link above is another resource along those same lines.

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posted March 7, 2009 at 6:57 am

All for being active against violence. The early comment ‘within reason’…. mmmmmmm, nothing like taking a text and making it fit your own image instead of God’s image.
Slavery, Capital Punishment….. does it look familiar?

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