Archive for February 3rd, 2009

03
Feb
09

Two-fer Tuesday: Peace by Miz Pink

pink-kissNormally, it’s been Deke talking about Hell ’round here. Damnation is something I just don’t feel comfortable talking about because I do have trouble trying to figure out where the love and forgiveness and eternal punishment intersect and make sense. I’m sure it does make sense and I believe there is a hell but I just don’t like to talk or think about it much.

Maybe that’s sticking my head in the sand. probably is. Oh well.

But I was thinking about some of what Deke has said about people choosing hell in most cases instead of them truly being sent there. And when he told me today’s topic was “peace” it got me to thinking.

I think a lot of people don’t really want or like peace.

I mean few and far between are the people who want constant bloddy horrible awful conflict and volatile relationships filled with hate. But I wonder if an awful lot of people just think existence is too boring when peace is involved.

Alot of people I think see heaven as some boring place with nothing but prayers and sitting around staring at clouds and learning to play the harp and crap. I think they assume that there is nothing pleasurable or fun in heaven. I think they expect that peace will mean a mind numbing eternity instead of contentment. I don’t think as many people as I would like to really think we’ll be doing anything productive in heaven.

So I can totally see people choosing to reject heaven because they are afraid of peace.

It sounds funny but human nature is a funny thing. We want moments of peace or long periods of peace, but I think most of us would cringe at a lifetime of peace. We would wonder where the spark is. We feed on conflict whether its personal or whether we see it on TV or whatever.

The fear of peace I think is what will drive at least some people to hell. And it makes me wonder how many other hangups we humans have that send us to hell, and not, as we assume, the will or desire of God.

03
Feb
09

Two-fer Tuesday: Peace by Deacon Blue

angel-fiery-swordChristians are, by and large, supposed to be a peaceful, helping and loving lot. That’s what Jesus set forth for us, that’s what the apostles and other early church leaders reinforced, and that’s often what we have drifted away from in favor of selishness, judgment, condemnation, violence and so many other negatives.

And yet…

There are times we need to kick ass. Not often. But those times exist.

Because, on the other side from the angry, bitter, nasty Christians is the “all is love” camp where Jesus’ words about turning the other cheek carry the day in all interactions. (They forget that Jesus also whipped the moneylenders out of the temple with a heavy rope.)

Never lifting a hand no matter what, it strikes me, is as foolish as turning away from peace. To reject peace is counter to Jesus’ message and God’s will. But at the same time, to embrace peace to the point of stupidity is irresponsible when it put us in harm’s way for no good reason or when it causes harm to others.

Example: If you are being attacked physically, do you just take it? Do you passively allow yourself to be backed into a corner where you will get your ass handed to you, possibly meaning that you could be severely impaired, or possibly crippled and killed? What does this serve? Racking up medical costs, destroying your quality of life, keeping you from being able to support your family and be a part of daily family activities?

Are these good things?

Now, I realize we lift up many people both in the early church days and in modern ministries abroad who were (and still are) martyred. It is one thing to be killed or harmed in the process of doing good work and spreading the gospel. If you are set upon by a person or group determined to kill you, and there is nothing you can do, you will die most likely. If you are taken into custody by a government that finds your message annoying, you will possibly rot in prison or be executed. There isn’t much you can do. And that’s part of the risk of some missionary work.

But if someone, say, comes up to knife me because they don’t like the fact that I mentioned something about Jesus…or if it’s just some random thugishness for the sake of thugishness, I am not going to stand there and say, “Go ahead, kill me.” I am going to defend myself.

Nowhere did Jesus forbid us from serving in the military or in law enforcement, two areas where violence can and does occur, and killing too at times. He told us to protect the weak. We shouldn’t seek out violence, but sometimes it finds us. And even if you aren’t going to defend yourself, what if violence comes for your family or friends? Will you stand there and let them be harmed when you have a chance to strike out in their defense?

This is what Paul tells us in Romans chapter 12, verse 18: As much as it is possible, live in peace with everyone.

Violence isn’t the point of that passage. The message is a more general one about not causing or escalating strife if you can avoid it. But it is clear from Paul’s words that there are times when nothing you can reasonably do will keep the peace.

Violence should never be our first choice, but sometimes, violent means will be required to protect people or to protect ourselves. Within the law, mind you. We are expected to obey the laws of the land, and Jesus made that clear. So don’t start beating or killing people over the practice of abortion and justifying it with this. The law of the land doesn’t define a fetus as a fully living human being, and there is ample evidence in Jewish religious texts, which form the foundation for much of Christianity, that the life of the mother supercedes the life of an unborn child, so clearly, it’s not as cut and dried as so many pro-lifers would like to think. So as much as you may believe otherwise, you don’t have the right to take the law into your own hands and kill people or harm them over the pro-choice/pro-life argument.

Same with being a vigilante. It isn’t allowed. Don’t do it. Frankly, even if you are going after someone who has harmed you or someone you love. Violence in defense, sure, but violence in revenge, no.

And missionary work in other countries where the laws are against you? It is your right to do that, but you know the score, and you know the laws of that land are against you, so if you are caught, you need to be prepared to accept the consequences.

But self-defense when someone attacks you? Yes. Rescuing someone else from an assault or attempted murder in the middle of the street? Certainly.

Peace first and foremost. But intelligence, too. Logic. Wisdom.

I won’t seek someone out to harm, but if a person comes into my house intending harm, I will stop that person by all means necessary.

And I won’t feel bad about it.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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