Monday, July 23, 2012

Violence to Solve Violence?

Is violence really the solution to violence? Does arming American citizens to defend themselves in movie theaters to protect themselves really sound like an answer? Or does it simply provide the formula for an OK Corral shootout surrounded by innocent lives? How can we, as believers in a God of Love, respond to this call for violence to solve violence? The model Christ left us as a victim of violence might be one helpful solution to consider. Rather than respond to violence with more violence Jesus chose a different path. He told Peter to put away the sword, submitted to the soldiers who arrested him and to the political powers that ordered his crucifixion. In that sacrifice he transformed creations relationship with the Divine. And now today, in this "Christian" nation there are calls for vengeance and escalation of violence. Give this Colorado shooter the death penalty, arm more American citizens with handguns to protect and defend themselves (Do unarmed citizens get a chance to refuse such protection from these gun carrying people?), increase security in places where people naturally congregate such as movie theaters, athletic events, etc... Christ did not solve the answer with, "Go ahead, punk... make my day." What is our duty, our call from Christ in the face of such violence? How can/should we respond?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sowing liberally

In preparation for a message this Sunday I was struck over and over by the liberal sowing of the Word that Jesus mentions in the parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-20. If you recall the story, the farmer sows seed on the path where birds eat it, rocky ground, among thorns, and on good soil. The story has many implications that relate to God as the Sower and the teachings Jesus is sharing with the disciples (and the readers of Mark) but what I found myself drawn to was the willingness of the sower to liberally and without concern spread the seed in places where little return would be expected. When one considers the human element of this story, does it not strike as more amazing. Do we spend enough time considering the abundance of God's Word? It is so great that God would foolishly spread it over different kinds of soil when only one type could be expected to yield a return. What does this story tell us about the sharing of God's love to the world? What does it reveal about the abundance and power of God's love that seems to only grow in that sharing? In a world concerned with a shrinking economy, limitations among our natural resources, the quest for sustainable energy, and localized drought (where I currently live), how amazing is it to hear about the abundant bounty of God's grace and love liberally shared with everyone regardless of what kind of "soil" we consider them? It might be time for us to invest more in the richness of God's love and the resources this love makes possible..