August 28, 2007

The Bigger Picture (Part IV)

Have you ever had to think through a particular subject and discovered that you're equally attracted to two points of view? Honestly, it's the most frustrating thing! I've been reading on the subject of violence and pacifism lately, and two works of writing have stuck out of the rest: Shane Claiborne's "Irresistable Revolution" and Patrick Meade's series at Tentpegs.

I honestly am not sure if the two of them are diametrically opposed or not (translation: are they really opposite in thinking?), but, whatever the case, each time I read Shane, I find myself thinking "yeah, that's it!" But then I read Patrick, and I think "yeah, that's it too!" I think I'm proving my own point: the truth is never simple. Ever.

Like with violence; Shane talks about what he calls the "myth of redemptive violence," but Patrick thinks that there are times when we are called by Jesus to forcibly defend others. So which is it? Shane talks about military guys working to get out of the military because the military does things against their beliefs, and Patrick has a son in the military of whom he is very proud. Shane says that pacifism means finding a third way around violence that still stands up for others, and Patrick notes that when the UK and Australia banned private citizens from owning weapons, the rate of violent crime quadroupled (and continues to escalate). They're both right, so what do you do with that?

I want to know if Christians should be allowed to play violent sports like hockey or footy. That's a valid question, right?

Or take Jesus. You can point to scripture and say stuff like "see, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! It's so simple!" and yet I look back at it and wonder, is it really? I mean, what do those even mean? What is the way? What does it mean that Jesus IS the truth? Whose life?

So many questions. Only ninety years (or less) to figure it out. *sigh*

Care to be confused?

(to be continued)


Welcome to Our World said...

I am glad that someone has found a way to express this frustration of being torn between two equally intelegent, well crafted points. I'll be honest. I go back and forth on the violence/nonviolence thing. Both camps have such great, biblical points that it is hard to choose. Maybe God shows up in a third way that completely makes sense but no one ever imagined? Hay thats the way Jesus came...

I guess with hockey and "footy" (not sure if you mean soccer or football) the violence is assumed ahead of time as a risk of the sport. Many will cite that sports foster team skills, dedication, and physical fitness in ways that not much else can. But then some become overly aggestive to the point of fighting with a fellow player...Your right, this is tough!

a. annie said...

This makes me think of all the talk about the new book about Mother Theresa and her doubts. Many have commented already. I think Scott Simon's commentary is one of the best (you have to listen; there is no written transcript at this link):

Nicholas Kiger said...

Questions like these is what keeps people like us in business! These questions bring joy not frustration!

By the way, I stumbled across your blog while searching for people near Ohio who enjoyed SCUBA. I found that you liked religion as well. Nice to meet you.


Chris said...

It interests me that I get the most comments on posts where I talk about having more questions about stuff. I wonder if this shows a tendency of our generation to want to know that others find life just as hard as they do.

Welcome to the discussion, Nick!

Nick Kiger said...

Knowing that I'm going into a field that depends on questions continuing to be raised....I welcome such questions with open arms and an open mind. I mean if all the questions were answered, what would I write my dissertation on?

Chris said...

Update: M over at Kobayashi Maru has some interesting things to say on guns in America.

Dan said...

I think your comments at the end about Jesus=way/truth/life might summarize my thinking lately. It doesn't read: "Jesus is the simple answer," it reads "I am the way, the truth, and the life." In his own words, Jesus says that following Him/believing in Him is a journey (way) and process (life), not a one-time answer. I like the fact that the early Christians called themselves followers of The Way.

Nick Kiger said...


I enjoy your perspective on this verse. It is a refreshing way of looking at it.