Good lord. I will NEVER get tired of this song live. Ever. Ever.
man, stumbled across these guys, but this album is FAN.TAS.TIC. Go buy it.
such a fun hook. love this song.
Yep. This song…
So, if you’re aware of much of the conversation that happened in the last week or two in evangelical Church land, there has been a lot going on.
If you’re reading this, first things first. I’m sorry. I’m sorry that Christians invite people to Church to join the Kingdom, which is supposed to be a beautiful & life changing thing, and then drag you into the mud to debate which among us is the most right. And I’m sorry if you’ve ever been “less right,” and been ostracized or kicked out of places for it. Frankly, us Christians can be idiots.
This whole debate has become polarized it seems. It seems like my twitter feed got very liberal in the last 2 weeks, as people railed against Mark Driscoll and his claim that Jesus isn’t a pacifist. Few are in a middle, most are picking sides. Sadly, the Church will be the only loser in the debate. Marching our way in to obscurity continues to become our best skill.
And I find myself wondering, if I’m pressed, where I fall on the whole thing. Like many things I consider, I feel a tension in this. It isn’t just an either/or, cut & dry issue. Here’s why:
God is (in the Christian tradition) the perfect mix of love & justice. His unconditional love & grace trump my failures. And His justice trumps even the most powerful court. Sometimes, I think justice & love look like tough love. Sometimes, we burn our hands and learn that Dad was right when he said not to touch the stove.
That said, justice requires action. Love requires action. Sometimes, both of those things require bold action.
The old/new covenant:
Reading the old testament, it is a bloody mess (and I don’t say that in the british sense, it’s actually bloody). Wars, killing, repeat. Even penance requires blood. And then the new covenant comes along, and Jesus takes all the weight of violence and justice on Himself, and suddenly, we don’t have to be violent. We’re free to not shed blood, and still be forgiven, because blood has been shed on our behalf. The war to end all wars, one could say.
And so you have this pull of tough love & freedom, and my natural tendency is to pull to the new covenant and say we don’t have to fight. Our fight is done. I can be invested in peace exclusively.
But then I think about moments that would call me to act. What if my wife was being attacked by a rapist? What if my kids were assaulted by a predator? Do I say “the battle is the Lord’s” and wait for God to execute justice? Not at all. One of my friends made this statement, and good or bad I agree with it: People who prey on kids remind me that I’m capable of murder. And I am. If someone attacked my wife or kids, I would do my best to kick that person’s ass. Sufficiently. And if it came to me or him, you’d better believe I’d choose him.
I think about my kids, and the world they are growing up in with regard to this. I heard a story of a kid who’s being bullied by their peers, and had hand sanitizer put in their water bottle. If that was my kid, what do I do in the situation? If my kid gets in a fight, do I say don’t defend yourself, just ball up and wait for someone else to break up the fight? I want my kid to defend themselves. Or to defend someone else being picked on in the same case.
Of course, the pull is that defending yourself doesn’t mean violence exclusively. Justice doesn’t equal violence by any means. When I’m honest with myself & my theology, I think it looks like this: scripture teaches to strive for unity, in the Spirit through the bond of peace. That means that my goal is to live in peace. If the new covenant is true, and what Jesus said is true, my goal is to live in peace. To take care of the orphan and the widow. To tend to the marginalized. That is a peaceful endeavor. Not something that requires violence. It means I beat my weapons into tools that build life for people in need.
But I think it also means that in some cases, a punch is necessary. Tending to a person in need or at risk may involve more than words at times. Or it may require a tool to be used in an unconventional manner.
And I think those things are okay things. My heart to defend my wife & kids is (I think) a reflection of God’s heart to His bride, and his sons & daughters. He is clearly capable of massive displays of power (Old Testament), yet He chooses to fight for grace and love (New Testament). That is our fight. We are capable of many things, and ultimately it’s an issue of where our trust and hope lie. Mine ultimately is peace, but not at the expense of all things.
Where do you fall on this one?
phenmenal song. LOVE this album.
love these guys. glad pete yorn is still out making some great tunes too.