Monthly Archives: April 2015

‘For the Love of Violence’

Our Love of Violence

 

Violence is fuelled by a plethora of causes.

Oppression, borne long enough, will eventually erupt into violence. Notable exceptions do exist, but often the voices of change are themselves done away with – Gandhi is an excellent example, Jesus the best. Their calls for peaceful protest on one hand, and a different kind of love on the other, were met with a bullet and a cross. Nice.

Circumstances brutalize some people, making them violent. Jails may rid society of a temporary problem, equally they can return people to the streets well versed in more efficient means of deceit and violence.

Human nature is often expressed in violence. This may not be a popular view, but it is a true one. The appeal to kindness is laudable, but an appeal to the essential goodness of mankind surely should have died with Rousseau.

Being fed a diet of violence must affect us. It is not possible to fill our minds with violence, and continue to insist it has no material effect. Beauty begets beauty and ugliness, ugliness. The seed determines the crop; wheat grows wheat, and weeds spawn weeds. A farmer knows this, or he/she is not going to be farmer for long.

The media fuels violence.

I began watching some movies that quickly were so explicitly vicious I stopped watching them. And that is what I should have done the makers of the movie would insist. If I am offended, press stop. They have a right to make the movie – I have a right to not watch.

Fair enough?

Not really!

Nobody who actually perpetrates violence walks away from a blood bath, smiles at his family, and has a nice cup of tea and a sandwich, quite like a movie star does. And if they do they are monsters, and have become immune to suffering. Avoid them.

Men who return from war are never the same, and they did what they did in defense of the realm, or to rid another country/region of tyrannical leadership or ethnic cleansing. They are told what they do is justified and necessary. It makes little difference to their nightmares, their inability to return normal life.

But a movie is not real. It is make believe.” Granted it doesn’t actually kill anyone, but it can only be naïve to say it doesn’t influence people, and make the rest of us just that little bit more callous. And that is all that is required to further and gradually desensitize us.

Maybe this is discernable in the alarming blood baying from men and woman alike in that most awful of sports -UFC. Men and women pulverize each other, until one submits, or is insensible. Their brains are rattled around in their skulls, like jelly in a centrifuge. It is their choice, they argue, but since when does my choice not affect others. (The idea of the good of all has been swamped in the choice of the one, and woe-betide anyone that questions the holy mantra of individual rights. Twitter is the new guillotine).

 

We aren’t far from the Colosseum.

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Disrupt: When Heaven Meets Earth

By Valerie McIntyre

Disruptive’ is a word that is bandied about in a variety of settings today to mean something is rocking the status quo. The negative connotations are gone – disruptive is good.

In my business I’ve worked with a fair amount of disruptive groups in the past few years. For instance, we’ve represented a renewable energy company that is bringing safe, affordable energy to families living off the grid at the bottom of the pyramid. I’m on the board of a charity that provides people all over the world with clean, safe water. And I’m supporting a new network that is geared toward giving women a place to have a ‘frank discussion’ about things that really matter.

All of these groups are disruptive in their categories and in their own way. And they are all doing something good to shake up the status quo and change their areas of passion: safe energy, clean water, free speech. But please take a look at the following scripture:

Matthew 10:37-38 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

How important do you believe family was back in the days when Jesus walked the earth? Family was everything. Family was your own personal tribe. It was your seat of power; it was your retirement plan. Family literally stood between you and destitution and death. Family was everything.

Jesus came to disrupt the human race. He brought Heaven to Earth and nothing has been the same since then. He asked those that followed him – from the disciples to the crowds that gathered – to disrupt, to do things that may have literally sounded insane.

Jesus disrupted LOVE: Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22)

Jesus disrupted MONEY: Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” (Mark 12: 41-44 NLT)

Jesus disrupted REVENGE: If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. (Luke 6:29 NLT)

Jesus disrupted AMBITION: Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21 NLT)

Jesus disrupted POWER: Instead, he gave up his divine privileges he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names (Philippians 2: 7-9 NLT).

People will say that other religions are disruptive. There are those that say Buddhism and Christianity, for instance, have much in common. I believe there is a major difference: motive.

A central theme in Buddhism is Karma: Good or bad luck, viewed as resulting from one’s action. The central theme in Christianity is Love: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The Golden Rule is an empathetic exchange. I’ll do something good for another without the promise that it will be done for me.

Here’s the thing, Buddhist scholars see the centrality of the crucifixion in Christianity as an irreconcilable gap between the two belief systems.

Jesus disrupted DEATH: Instead, he gave up his divine privileges He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names: JESUS.

This Sunday we celebrate His death and resurrection. Easter is the crossroads of heaven and humanity. Heaven came down to the earth and shook it. And those things that could not be shaken are holding strong and firm.

Hebrews 12:26-28 says, When God spoke from Mount Sinai His voice shook the earth, but now He makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.

This is what Jesus did. He disrupted the course of human history. He gave us LIFE where there was only DEATH. He grabbed us off the edge of the abyss, for we were surely starring into it. Jesus set us free and now those whom the Son sets free are free indeed. There is not enough currency in the universe to get the thing that is life giving and FREELY given. Jesus is the ultimate disruption. He turns everything upside down.

And Jesus is disrupting today. He’s asking us as a culture to do things differently. To turn the other cheek in our workplace, to treat our bodies with love and care, to not give up coming together even when it’s more fun to head to the movies. He paid the price for us. He called us to a place of Holiness. I hope this Easter we remember His sacrifice and in our own lives carry on His legacy of disruption – for Him.

 


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