Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 redux

"You have head that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, 'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your father in heaven." Matthew 5:43-44 (NIV)

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"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." Luke 6:27-28 (NIV)

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"This suffering is all part of what God has called you to. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps. He never sinned, and he never deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly." 1 Peter 2:21-23 (NLT)

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"The present administration has adopted a sort of official Christianity, and it obviously wishes to be regarded as Christian. But 'Christian' war has always been a problem, best solved by avoiding any attempt to reconcile policies of national or imperial militarism with anything Christ said or did. The Christian gospel is a summons to peace, calling for justice beyond anger, mercy beyond justice, forgiveness beyond mercy, love beyond forgiveness. It would require a most agile interpreter to justify hatred and war by means of the Gospels, in which we are bidden to love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who despise and persecute us.

. . .It is useless to try to adjudicate a long-standing animosity by asking who started it or who is the most wrong. The only sufficient answer is to give up the animosity and try forgiveness, to try to love our enemies and to talk to them and (if we pray) to pray for them. If we can't do any of that, then we must begin by trying to imagine our enemies' children, who, like our children, are in mortal danger because of enmity that they did not cause."

- Wendell Berry, Citizenship Papers

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. . ."This is why one cannot practically believe in the second coming and also take up arms. When we take up arms, we not only disobey Jesus' teachings, but we foolishly think that we can effectively change the course of history through force. We falsely think that violence will soon end with this act of violence, just as it was thought that World War I would be 'the war to end all wars.' We think, 'The perfect world is just around the corner. We just got a pious man in office, have killed a good share of the essential evildoers, and have set up a few good governmental systems.' This is like praying 'Give us more time.' And whether it's pursued by 'the establishment' or by zealous liberationists, the desire to be 'authors of history' ultimately ends in hubris, unending conflict, and the victimization of others. Instead of trusting in the command to love our enemies, we insist that having the right people take office to direct the right bombs to fall on the right places is a more effective way to deal with evil. We can't be peaceful now, we say. So give us time to rid the world of evil; eventually it will work. After thousands of years, we haven't learned that violence begets only violence.

As much as we balk at its mysticism, the central political prayer and hope of Christians is, 'Lord, come quickly; may your kingdom come.'"

-Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw, Jesus for President

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"Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. . .Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written, 'It is mine to avenge, I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary, 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Romans 12:12-21

1 comment:

Mike N. said...

Thanks, Dan. A perfect collection of words to read for 9/11.

-Mike Nyman