Archive for category Loving Your Enemies

Lessons In Nonviolent Resistance: The Example Of Hans & Sophie Scholl

Posted by on Sunday, 11 March, 2012

In this clip, Bruxy Cavey, pastor of The Meeting House church in Ontario, Canada, discusses the faithful witness of Hans and Sophie Scholl and their nonviolent resistance to Nazi Germany. Bruxy compares and contrasts Hans and Sophie Scholl’s approach with that of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others involved in the assassination attempts against Hitler…

Ministry: The Meeting House
Full Podcast: But What About… (Drive Home)
Date: 5/9/10
Speaker: Bruxy Cavey

 

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Hans & Sophie Scholl


Related article:
The White Rose: A Lesson in Dissent 

Partial transcript: Sophie Scholl offers us an example of someone who because of her strong Christian faith–along with her brother Hans and a number of other people–launched a letter writing campaign and a public tract distribution campaign to speak against the evils of the German government, of the wars, of the Nazi regime, and to call faithful Germans away from their support of their own government; Sophie and Hans wrote faithfully from a Christian point of view… they had a wide-reaching effect on the hearts and minds of the German population; Both Sophie and Hans gave of their lives; Neither the assassination attempt [of Bonhoeffer and co-conspirators]–the way of “just violence”–nor the way of pacifism–the way of actively speaking out against and calling people to the way of Christ–both techniques led to the death of the participants… but the way of Hans and Sophie Scholl–that prophetic voice like a John the Baptist who stands up and says what needs to be said and loses his head over it (and literally that’s what happened to Sophie and Hans Scholl–they were beheaded), but they died in the way of Christ; They were not pacifists in the hypocritical sense, by being passive and doing nothing… perhaps too many German people were–they were afraid for their own lives; This is the challenge, then… the way of speaking out will probably cost you your own life under Nazi Germany, if we go back in time; The way of calling people to repentance… going on record… would be more likely to cost you your life than joining a covert assassination attempt, which, if it was successful, would hopefully topple the government and leave you still alive and safe, and maybe a hero for having assassinated Hitler; That was one of the weaknesses of the assassination attempts of Hitler… those who were planting the bombs were not willing themselves to die–they were trying to plant the bombs in a way that still allowed their own lives to be preserved, whereas Hans and Sophie Scholl were more ready to die for their cause, and this more closely emulates a Christian response in the middle of Hitler’s Germany

Why I Am An Anabaptist – Part 12

Posted by on Friday, 9 March, 2012

Gary Bryson hosts a program about anabaptism on ABC Radio National called “The Anabaptist Vision“…

[Part 12 of a 12-part series]

Show: ABC Radio National
Full Podcast: The Anabaptist Vision
Date: 6/17/07
Host: Gary Bryson
Guests: Jarrod McKenna, John Hirt, and Thorwald Lorenzen

 

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Transcript:

Jarrod McKenna: What does it mean that we’re living in an age where Christianity is no longer the dominant religion? And while some are lamenting that, saying ‘That’s awful, and don’t you realise that this is a Christian country and that’s why only Christians should be welcome here?’ Some of us are saying, ‘Hang on a sec., maybe we were never supposed to be in control. Maybe that was never our role.’ It’s certainly not what Jesus called us to and maybe instead of responding to refugees by this kind of Christendom lens which says, we’re in control, we’ve got to make sure history turns out right, responding in a way which is faithful to Jesus, where we welcome the stranger, we welcome the outcast, we welcome the refugee, but not just the refugee, that we respond personally to those issues.

Gary Bryson: Jarrod McKenna. Anabaptism it seems, not only resonates with contemporary concerns of peace and justice, but offers Christians of all denominations an opportunity to centre their faith in openness and tolerance towards others. It’s a great testament to the Anabaptist confession of faith, that despite many years of cruel persecution and withdrawal, tolerance remains one of their greatest legacies. Final words on this Encounter from John Hirt and Thorwald Lorenzen.

John Hirt: What can we learn from the Anabaptist tradition as a third way today with regard to the way that the world is run? The Anabaptists were also about reconciliation. They wanted people to be reconciled to each other. Obviously for them in the beginning, this was necessary because they were getting slaughtered all over the place without a chance to express their loyalty to the things that are good and right within any given state, and so they wanted people to talk and to converse and the Swiss even say that much of their great democracy, their confederation of democracy is owed to Anabaptist beginnings. If we’re about reconciliation, then we cannot be about viewing hatred and enmity as the form of social orthodoxy, the way in which much of the world seems to be divided today, it’s us and them. [But] not according to the New Testament, not according to the Anabaptists. We are the people among whom Christ has come to reconcile us all to God. Ephesians Chapter 1, Verse 10. In the fullness of time to bring all things into unity. This is one of the texts that they love. So the way that Anabaptist theology would play out in the world today in its non-violence, it would be, how can we be reconciled to each other and how can we not begin by hating the other, or making the other into someone who is differentiated by me in terms of, they’re the evil empire, they’re the other. No, no, no, this person is my brother, this person is my sister. The Anabaptist line, ‘I would die for the right for a Jew to be a Jew or for a Turk to be a Turk’. You can’t have that kind of notion in your head and go and want to rape and plunder and declare war on someone, it’s just against the whole tradition.

Thorwald Lorenzen: Where do we see the presence of Christ today? And here the Anabaptists would say, we see it first of all in our conscience, in our commitment of faith. Then we see it in the community, and then the community needs to be open in love and compassion and mission. And therefore, our commitment to each other, our commitment to Christ, naturally flows into a commitment for peace and justice in the world. But on the other hand we have to realise we cannot simply copy what they did in the 16th century to our century. We should not use radical in the sense that we need to be different, we need to be faithful to what we have committed our conscience to. And that makes us committed at the centre, but very open and accepting at the margin.

Why I Am An Anabaptist – Part 10

Posted by on Friday, 9 March, 2012

Gary Bryson hosts a program about anabaptism on ABC Radio National called “The Anabaptist Vision“…

[Part 10 of a 12-part series]

Show: ABC Radio National
Full Podcast: The Anabaptist Vision
Date: 6/17/07
Host: Gary Bryson
Guest: Jarrod McKenna

 

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Transcript:

Gary Bryson: Jarrod McKenna is a young Christian activist involved in peace and social justice issues. He is one of the founders of the Peace Tree Christian Commune in Perth, and also the founder and creative director of ‘Empowering Peacemakers in Your Community’, or EPYC, an organisation which runs non-violence training programs for young people. For his work with EPYC, Jarrod was awarded last year’s Donald Groom Peace Prize.

He’s inspired, he says, by Anabaptist ideals.

Jarrod McKenna: Out of that has come lots of crazy adventures. I’ve been at Pine Gap, the US military base 20 kilometres outside of Alice Springs to being roughed up by police on national TV to my mum’s horror at Baxter Detention Centre, to being part of the catalyst for a Christian community in one of my neighbourhood’s lowest socioeconomic areas, to doing the work I do with young people.

Gary Bryson: It’s fair to say that you’re part of a group of very radicalised young Christians who are taking on issues of peace and non-violence in the much more engaged ways than perhaps we’ve seen in the last few years.

Jarrod McKenna: Yes, I think for us that has come out of not thinking of these things in terms of issues but thinking about it narratively in terms of what is it for us to be submerged, or baptised, as the Anabaptists would talk of in this narrative of this Jesus, this Jesus who turns over tables, this Jesus who preaches love of enemies, not bombing our enemies. And out of that has come this life; we’re daring to imagine a world transformed.

Gary Bryson: How do you understand the notion of discipleship today?

Jarrod McKenna: Discipleship for the early Christians and discipleship I think for this emerging church movement, which is drawing on Anabaptism, is about what it is to follow Jesus in ways that are empowering and life-giving, ways that speak of a world transformed, where we see in our lives as communities, what a world would look like turned upside down, what would a world look like where instead of power being understood as something which we lorded over them, as Jesus put it, but again, I think the Spirit is speaking a word to the church, in the world that this time in history that says, ‘Not so with you”, not so in terms of power being simply about oppressing others in terms of manipulating others, in terms of coercion, but this power that we see revealed in the resurrection of Jesus, this non-violent power that this new world has actually, this new creation has begun.

Gary Bryson: So what does an Anabaptist-inspired community look like to you?

Jarrod McKenna: For us, an Anabaptist-inspired community is a community that is drawing on the Anabaptist tradition, looks like living in communities together where no-one is in need, where we’re able to provide an economic alternative to the economics of greed and scarcity that surround us and the rest of society, and out of that, a generosity that with experience from God can actually provide for others as well in housing the homeless, in providing a place to stay for people who otherwise wouldn’t have a place to stay. In terms of growing our own food, in terms of living on the land in such a way where eco-spirituality no longer becomes an abstract but becomes a daily practice, of no longer simply trusting on the empire to provide our daily bread but what is it to seek our daily bread in ways that don’t participate in the oppression of other people around the world. So linking together, seeking alternatives, just very, very ordinary and yet very rare and special.

Why I Am An Anabaptist – Part 8

Posted by on Tuesday, 6 March, 2012

Gary Bryson hosts a program about anabaptism on ABC Radio National called “The Anabaptist Vision“…

[Part 8 of a 12-part series]

Show: ABC Radio National
Full Podcast: The Anabaptist Vision
Date: 6/17/07
Host: Gary Bryson
Guests: Mark Hurst, Chris Marshall, and John Hirt

 

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Transcript:

Gary Bryson: The over-riding authority then for Anabaptists was and is the New Testament. All scripture is interpreted according to the teachings of Jesus Christ as they understand them. Perhaps the most important consequence of this is a fervent commitment to non-violence.

Peacemaking was and is in many ways one of the more radical expressions of Anabaptism, isn’t it, and it’s also one of the most controversial, and one of the other reasons that people were persecuted?

Mark Hurst: Yes. The Anabaptists in the 16th century and since have refused to join military forces, often refused to join police, and this goes back to an understanding of what the church is. For many Anabaptists, in the 16th century and even today, when they look at church history and they look at Constantine, rather than seeing that as a high moment in church history, they see that as the fall of the church, and they see the introduction of Christendom as something that they were against, that linking of church and state. So from the very beginning, they said no, the church should not be linked to the state, and because of that then, as Christians they didn’t get involved in the political forces, and particularly the police and the army, that they would use lethal force to enforce their ways.

Chris Marshall: When you come to the issue of violence, I think a huge cleavage opens up. As I understand the teaching of Jesus – and this is open to dispute, not everybody would agree – but as I understand the teaching of Jesus, he did reject coercive violence, he did encourage his followers to turn the other cheek, to go the second mile, not to use the sword. And when you say well, if that’s the case and we look at Christian history, why has the church been so caught up in violence? To this day the dominant Christian position on war is the ‘just war’ theory, which believes that under certain circumstances, war is all but obligatory, and that it is not inconsistent with discipleship for Christians to participate in that. And so how does that square with the teaching of Jesus? Well, we either have some way of limiting the teaching of Jesus to personal conduct or to private areas so that it is no longer an obstacle to fighting a war, or we ignore it. So to take this seriously I think is quite radical.

Thorwald Lorenzen: It is very important that the church – actually all of religion, but in our setting, the church – has a clear peace witness, because we know that all over the world religion is functionalised to validate violence and war, what the state is still using as a political instrument. And here all religions are invited today, to make a clear commitment to non-violence.

Chris Marshall: The commitment to peace, the commitment to non-violence flows from an understanding of the teaching of Jesus. The Anabaptist tradition by and large said, well, this means that followers of Jesus must not be involved in lethal coercion, and I guess a corollary of that is if you’re not going to be involved in war, then it’s not enough just to withdraw into a kind of separate community of pacifism, but you also need to be committed to peace-making.

Thorwald Lorenzen: Today, as you know, for instance in the church’s stance with regard to the war in Iraq, there was basically a unanimous opinion of all the churches, and all the church leaders, to oppose the war. So we have reached the stage today where in light of modern military technology, most or perhaps all churches would agree that war is no longer an institution by which we need to do politics. So in a sense, the Anabaptist vision today has become ecumenical.

The Constantinian Shift – Part 3

Posted by on Monday, 13 February, 2012

Bruxy Cavey, pastor of The Meeting House church in Ontario, Canada, discusses the early church’s views on pacifism, before and after Constantine

[Part 3 of a 3-part series]

Ministry: The Meeting House
Full Podcast: The Emperor’s New Clothes
Date: 4/11/10
Speaker: Bruxy Cavey

 

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Bruxy Cavey


Notes: 
Constantine wanted Christianity to flourish… but it would flourish at the demise of the Roman Empire… he had a problem that needed a solution, and some of the best minds went to work, such as Augustine; Augustine, then, started writing things like this: “War is waged to serve the peace”; Here we have within Christian circles the first time that peace as a means and peace as an ends is separated; Additional quotes from Augustine; In his writing he turns more and more to the Old Testament, and then you see another trend happening that happens within just war theory… and that is a desperate attempt to find some clue in the teaching of Jesus that might tell us He didn’t actually mean what He said and say what He meant in His very clear teaching on the way of peace; And so we see this snippet, or that parable, or this over here, and that starts to come up… that pattern still exists today… comes up often when talking with non-pacifists, and we see it begin in the writing of Augustine; Luke 14:23; It is an exercise in exegetical desperation… but we see it become the norm in Augustinian thinking and rationale

The Constantinian Shift – Part 2

Posted by on Sunday, 12 February, 2012

Bruxy Cavey, pastor of The Meeting House church in Ontario, Canada, discusses the early church’s views on pacifism, before and after Constantine

[Part 2 of a 3-part series]

Ministry: The Meeting House
Full Podcast: The Emperor’s New Clothes
Date: 4/11/10
Speaker: Bruxy Cavey

 

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Bruxy Cavey


Notes: 
One of the last voices before the Constantinian shift that we hear from is Lactantius, who is actually the tutor of Constantine’s son, Crispus; Quote from Lactantius; In this commandment of God, no exceptions at all ought to be made to the rule that it always wrong to kill a man, whom God has wished to be regarded as a sacrosanct creature; From Constantine on, things change, and over the centuries ahead we get a new norm; Examples of what becomes normative after Constantine; Quote from Jacques de Vitry; Now pacifism is seen as demonic; Quote from John of Mantua; What we find in much of their writings is the shift has moved from the example and teaching of Jesus to the example of other Old Testament saints, where violence is used to establish the kingdom of Israel and maintain the kingdom of Israel… and so David, Joshua, and others become the heroes of the faith, and Jesus steps to the sideline in much of their writing; Quote from Pope Innocent IV

The Constantinian Shift – Part 1

Posted by on Saturday, 11 February, 2012

Bruxy Cavey, pastor of The Meeting House church in Ontario, Canada, discusses the early church’s views on pacifism, before and after Constantine

[Part 1 of a 3-part series]

Ministry: The Meeting House
Full Podcast: The Emperor’s New Clothes
Date: 4/11/10
Speaker: Bruxy Cavey

 

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Bruxy Cavey


Notes: 
Pre-Constantine, the church that was associated with the Roman Empire rallied around a concept called “patientia“… it is Latin for “patience”… it meant “enduring evil so as not to commit it, rather than committing evil so as not to endure it”; They unanimously taught that we should do anything to avoid killing, because that would destroy our witness for Christ; It’s always ok to die for a cause… it’s just never ok to kill for a cause; Suffering well… dying well… loving your enemies as they extinguish your life… could be one of the greatest witnesses for the transformative nature of the kingdom of Christ at work in your heart… so why would we fight back to preserve our life?; The word “martyr”, which has now come to mean someone who dies for their faith, doesn’t actually mean that–it means a “witness”–someone who is a witness is a martyr; The early church said, well, one of the best ways you can be a witness is actually to die for your faith while you love your enemy; So to be one who dies for the faith came to be seen as the ultimate “witness”, and they were called “martyrs”; The unanimous voice of the church pre-Constantine… quotes from Origen, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Arnobius; You can agree or disagree, but this was the unanimous opinion of the church for 300 years

A Demanding Love – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by on Monday, 16 January, 2012

Powerful words spoken by my hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in St. Augustine, Florida in 1964…

Speaker: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Partial transcript: “It’s difficult advice and in some quarters it isn’t too popular to say it…Let us recognize that violence is not the answer. I must say to you tonight that violence is impractical…We have another method that is much more powerful and much more effective than the weapon of violence…Hate isn’t our weapon either…I am not talking now about a weak love. It would be nonsense to urge oppressed people to love their oppressors in an affectionate sense–I’m not talking about that. Too many people confuse the meaning of love when they go to criticizing the love ethic…I am talking about a love that is so strong that it becomes a demanding love. I’m talking about a love that is so strong that it organizes itself into a mass movement and says somehow ‘I am my brother’s keeper, and he is so wrong that I am willing to suffer and die if necessary to get him right and to see that he’s on the wrong road’.”

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Greg Boyd: The Sword And The Cross – Part 18

Posted by on Wednesday, 16 November, 2011

Greg Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, MN compares the kingdom of the world to the kingdom of God

[Part 18 of a 19-Part series. Click here for Part 1.]

Ministry: Woodland Hills Church
Full Podcast: Be Thou My Vision
Date: 5/23/04
Speaker: Greg Boyd
Notes: When you lose your life, you find your life; When you die to self, you find a truer self; There’s a dimension of joy and a dimension of peace that comes from dying to self–letting go of that retaliation game; When you die to striving for your own security, you find the supernatural security that’s found in Jesus Christ; You find something that’s more important than life itself–something that’s more important than your self-preservation; The hope of the world is not found in one nation getting a few more bombs, and a few faster bullets, and a few better strategies… it’s found in the person of Jesus Christ; When the church embodies that perfect, unconditional, unsurpassable love that is God throughout eternity, then the world sees it

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Greg Boyd: The Sword And The Cross – Part 17

Posted by on Wednesday, 16 November, 2011

Greg Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, MN compares the kingdom of the world to the kingdom of God

[Part 17 of a 19-Part series. Click here for Part 1.]

Ministry: Woodland Hills Church
Full Podcast: Be Thou My Vision
Date: 5/23/04
Speaker: Greg Boyd
Notes: This kingdom is gonna be radically different–it’s the kingdom of God; Jesus wasn’t trying to tweak a kingdom of the world… He was planning an entirely different kind of kingdom; To enter into this kingdom you have got to crucify some of the most basic, fallen instincts of the human self–you’ve got to crucify the flesh; As kingdom people we commit to doing one thing, and one thing only, and that’s loving like Jesus loves–imitating Jesus Christ

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Greg Boyd: The Sword And The Cross – Part 14

Posted by on Sunday, 13 November, 2011

Greg Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, MN compares the kingdom of the world to the kingdom of God

[Part 14 of an ongoing series...]

Ministry: Woodland Hills Church
Full Podcast: The Difference Between the Two Kingdoms
Date: 4/25/04
Speaker: Greg Boyd
Notes: The main thing that God leverages the advancement of His kingdom on is when His children obey Him and repeat Calvary to others–we imitate Jesus, not Caesar… that’s how the kingdom goes forward; If we identify this as a “Christian” nation, then Caesar gets wrapped up with the word “Christian”, and now everything America does gets tagged as “what Christians do”; The best America–or any other kingdom of the world–can be is a decent power-over regime… that’s the best a nation can do; A nation can’t replicate Calvary love towards others, and when we identify a nation as “Christian”, it pollutes our distinct, unique witness to the world, upon which God leverages everything; Romans 13; 2 Peter 2; We need to keep the two kingdoms distinct; Satan uses this confusion to pollute/dilute/ruin/undermine the witness of kingdom people to the world; It is to our advantage–it’s to the advantage of the kingdom of God–to say as loudly and clearly as we can, “His kingdom is not of this world“; There is no national kingdom of God–the kingdom of God by definition occurs wherever there are people who are willing to come under others, and lay down their lives for others, and serve others, and turn the other cheek, and do that radical, foolish thing that characterizes the kingdom of God; The kingdom of God happens when people imitate Jesus, not Caesar… we’ve got to keep those two things distinct, and the idea of this as a Christian nation–or an almost Christian nation–undermines that

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Greg Boyd: The Sword And The Cross – Part 12

Posted by on Thursday, 10 November, 2011

Greg Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, MN compares the kingdom of the world to the kingdom of God

[Part 12 of an ongoing series...]

Ministry: Woodland Hills Church
Full Podcast: The Difference Between the Two Kingdoms
Date: 4/25/04
Speaker: Greg Boyd
Notes: The kingdom of the world is always tribal–it’s always national, it’s us against them; There’s something intrinsic in the flesh that always wants to say that “my way is the best way“; In the kingdom of God, the perspective is universal; Jesus Christ died for every human being, so every human being has absolute worth–infinite worth–and our main job in life is to express that to them in word and in deed; From a kingdom of God perspective we would consider all body bags to be equally tragic; In the kingdom of God, we are not allowed to have any enemies–we’re forbidden to have enemies of flesh and blood; The ones who think that they are our enemies, we are commanded to love them, to serve them, to lay down our life for them; Two distinct categories–crime and sin; Some things can be a crime but not sin, and some things can be sin but not a crime

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Greg Boyd: The Sword And The Cross – Part 10

Posted by on Wednesday, 2 November, 2011

Greg Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, MN compares the kingdom of the world to the kingdom of God

[Part 10 of an ongoing series...]

Ministry: Woodland Hills Church
Full Podcast: Taking America Back for God?
Date: 4/18/04
Speaker: Greg Boyd
Notes: The slogan “Take America Back to God“; When was the “golden age” of America when we really were a “nation under God”?; The myth that this is a Christian nation, that it ever has been a Christian nation, and that if we just tweak the laws a little bit more it will become a Christian nation, is one of the most pernicious, diabolical lies that the church has bought into, cause it completely diffuses the unique authority of the church; We are to win America for Jesus Christ, and we’re to win Iraq for Jesus Christ… and Cambodia, and Haiti, and the world for Jesus Christ; The church is to be triumphant, but the church is never to be militant; How we do it and what we trust in the process is everything; The distinctive mark of the kingdom of God is that we trust in the cross and the power of self-sacrificial love; The hope of the world does not lie in the Christian church conquering… the hope of the world lies in the Christian church imitating its Lord and Savior

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Greg Boyd: The Sword And The Cross – Part 8

Posted by on Friday, 28 October, 2011

Greg Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, MN compares the kingdom of the world to the kingdom of God

[Part 8 of an ongoing series...]

Ministry: Woodland Hills Church
Full Podcast: Taking America Back for God?
Date: 4/18/04
Speaker: Greg Boyd
Notes: How could the cross and the sword become so fused together?; Just war theory is a kingdom of the world thing; As a kingdom of God person, we have to at least have enough healthy distance to ask questions that maybe others who are more sold out to the kingdom of the world would never think of asking; As a kingdom of God person, your central defining mission in life is to demonstrate Calvary-like love to the Iraqi people [and to all people]… to be willing to die for them even if they are your political enemies–to be willing to serve them, that’s our distinctive call; It should grieve us cause those souls are as precious as our souls–that’s the unique angle of the kingdom of God

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