Thou Shalt Not Kill

Thou Shalt Not Kill
by G.K. Chesterton

I had grown weary of him; of his breath
And hands and features I was sick to death.
Each day I heard the same dull voice and tread;
I did not hate him: but I wished him dead.
And he must with his blank face fill my life–
Then my brain blackened; and I snatched a knife.

But ere I struck, my soul’s grey deserts through
A voice cried, ‘Know at least what thing you do.’
‘This is a common man: knowest thou, O soul,
What this thing is? somewhere where seasons roll
There is some living thing for whom this man
Is as seven heavens girt into a span,
For some one soul you take the world away–
Now know you well your deed and purpose. Slay!’

Then I cast down the knife upon the ground
And saw that mean man for one moment crowned.
I turned and laughed: for there was no one by–
The man that I had sought to slay was I.

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sorting things out

A lot of what I’ve been thinking and writing lately has definitely been influenced by the sorts of thinking I try to flesh out here, but it’s been more of a… “pastoral” nature, I suppose, more “meditative” than “theological”, or something like that. I’ve started writing more of those things on the blog at the Ecclesia site. These are questions I’ve been tossing around that might relate more to concrete praxis than to more theoretical concerns, which is probably more what I’ve been doing here.

I still want to blog here about theology and politics and whatnot (though I haven’t so much lately), and it would probably be more appropriate to keep my more “pastoral” sorts of writings to the church blog and the other stuff here since I am, well, kind of a pastor of the church. I think I will add an RSS widget to the site here so that way if people want they can keep up with my other musings.

Eventually more people than just me will be writing on the church blog, at least from time to time, but for now I have run of the place. I can’t wait to get some more voices involved! 🙂

wrong link

So I apparently was tired earlier and posted the wrong link. The right URL for my church’s site is http://ecclesiacc.wordpress.com. I forgot the “cc”. It has been fixed accordingly.

new site for my church

I haven’t talked about this here, but I’ve somehow managed to get myself involved as the worship leader/teaching pastor of a church seed here in Evansville. We call it a church seed because right now it isn’t big enough to call a plant. 😉

Feel free to check it out and let me know what you think. I’d say something about doing all the layout myself, but WordPress themes take care of most of the dirty work. I DID do the header image though.

Ecclesia Christian Church is what we’ve decided to call it, as of yesterday, and that was all I needed to be off and running with the web site. I get excited about these things, you know.

Peace,
Jason

Empire Remixed: To Hell With Romans 13

I’ve added the Empire Remixed site to my blogroll under the “Christarchy” category. Check it out, there is a lot of good stuff there. Empire Remixed is a project that had its birth in the “Wine Before Breakfast” gatherings in Brian Walsh’s office at the University of Toronto. I’ve written a bit about Walsh and posted links to and excerpts from some of his articles, as well as discussed items from some books he has co-written.

This particular article really struck a chord deep with me. All over the place I go, when I speak of Christianity and radical ideas and engaging the empire and so on and so forth, almost always the question comes, something like the refrain to a bad pop song: “What about Romans 13?”

I have been planning for some time to make another stab at answering that question, since my last attempt on the matter was really more of a prolegomenon to answering the question than an answer to the question itself, in response to a discussion I’ve had on and off over the years with a friend out in California. I hope to get that up sometime this week, since I’m currently unemployed and have all kinds of time to write, so we’ll see. In the meantime, I give you To Hell With Romans 13 by Brian Walsh.

An excerpt:

“Well, how can you use language of subverting the empire when Paul says that we are to submit to the governing authorities?”

And for years I have attempted to be patient in my response. My patience has run out. In the light of Guantanamo Bay, the deceit of the administration in leading America into war in Iraq, the refusal of that state to submit to almost any significant international treaty, and the idolatrous protection of the revered “American Way of Life.”

In the face of undeniable evidence of the human impact on global warming, I’ve lost it. I’ve got no more patience for this appeal to Romans 13 to justify idolatry, deceit, violence, repression and imperialism.

To hell with the Romans 13 of the Religious Right! To hell with the Romans 13 of lackeys of imperialism! To hell with the Romans 13 of those who are comfortable in Babylon!

Indeed, to hell with the Romans 13 of those who somehow think that an American Revolution in 1776 was divinely sanctioned but no such revolution should happen in 2007 because we must submit to the governing authorities…

Or to make my point more biblically clear – to hell with Romans 13 read out of context of Romans 12, the rest of Paul’s letter to the Romans, the life of Jesus, and the whole prophetic testimony of the Hebrew prophets.

More quotes

This time from Robert Brimlow’s What About Hitler? Wrestling with Jesus’ Call to Nonviolence in an Evil World.

“The main difficulty in accepting the implications of our call to be peacemakers is our fear of death and dying, born of a weakness of faith.”

and:

“The gospel is clear and simple, and I know what the response to the Hitler question must be. And I desperately want to avoid this conclusion. … We must repay evil with good; and we must be peacemakers. This may also mean as a result that the evildoers will kill us. Then, we shall also die. That’s it. There is nothing else…. We are called to live the kingdom as he proclaimed it and be his disciples, come what may.”

Two quotes from Derek Webb

“There are two great lies that I’ve heard:
‘the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him…
My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it’s to a King & a kingdom.”

and:

” Poverty is so hard to see
when it’s only on your tv and twenty miles across town
where we’re all living so good
that we moved out of Jesus’ neighborhood
where he’s hungry and not feeling so good
from going through our trash
He says, more than just your cash and coin
I want your time, I want your voice
I want the things you just can’t give me.”