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Monday, June 1, 2009


Yesterday and today have been for me, days of hatred.  

Hatred for political correctness and people's unwillingness to have serious discussions.  Because of these two things, I, and any one else who values their freedom, are unable to even comment about the events that took place Sunday morning in Wichita. So I am going to link to a typical op ed piece to show the complete lack of thinking that is being employed among those who are still free to speak in this so called "free" country of ours.  Comment at your own risk.

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James Diggs said...


Long time between posts I see. good to see you back in the land of blogs.

I think the worst part about arguments that turn purely political is that in the quest to gain the upper hand we most often compare our best to our opponents worst.

By the way I don't mean "political" just in terms of government, but in anyway we aim to flex social muscle to bring about a particular desired change.

Yes, yes, there will be those that will use this tragic event to write off legitimate concerns about abortion. It is much easier to defeat your opponent when you paint him as a devil; after all you can be as mean and nasty to a devil all you want and still maintain the appearance of the "moral high ground".

What bothers me though is that we Christians, especially those of us on the political right, seem to want to fight fire with fire rather than turn the other cheek. We work just as hard to associate "liberals" with the demonic for the very same reasons "liberals" paint Christians as the devil.

It is wrong on both accounts, but we as followers of Jesus have been called into a different Way. One that finds power from the position of weakness and one that literally are called to go the extra mile when our enemy forces us on a one mile road trip we had no interest in traveling.

How should we respond when people want to take us down the road of calling us monsters unjustly by associating our views that value life with that of a killer's perverted views that didn't value life at all? We should do as Jesus taught and go down that road with them and then go with them a mile more.

Not only should we get in line and find solidarity with those who think this killer was nothing more than an abortion terrorist, but we should go further and speak louder about the Way of life and peace found in Jesus Christ.

Part of our problem on a political front is that way too many Christians believe in the myth of "redemptive violence". We may condemn the actions of this murderer, and most of us do, but there also is a majority that believe at least in theory in the use violence as a way to pursue peace and life.

Nothing could be further from the teaching of Jesus, who insisted, not that we shrink away from our enemies, but that we confront them in ways that attempts to restore their humanity while making sure we don't forfeit our own. After all what good is it to gain the world, or even win an argument, if it means we loose our own soul?

So, if we fight back by saying, see how evil those "liberals" are and how they cast us as monsters, by in turn trying to cast them as monsters than all our humanity is lost to our own self fulfilling prophesy. But, if we treat even those who would treat us as monsters or anything less than human with human dignity and stand up and look them in the eye and go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, or give them our inner clothes even when they take our outer ones, then our nakedness will not be our shame but theirs. The good news is that this kind of shame, that depends on the Power of God rather than the might of man has redemptive potential that has the power to save us both.

Nyk, I understand your frustration, but stand strong in the Way of Christ, love your enemies, and be a vessel of redemption.



Nicholas said...


Besides being extremely loose with "Jesus" and Scripture, you, like most everyone else, just gloss over the real discussion here. There would be much more discussion about it if people weren't afraid to be thrown in jail for "free" speech. Has there ever been a real discussion about use of force?

There are situations where it is not even questioned and others where it is not even discussed as an option. And there is no consistancy between them.

I am tempted to point out all of the "Jesusisms" in your post that really don't jive with Scripture, context or application but then I would have been distracted from the real question.

Did Jesus ever advocate, directly or indirectly, violence? Answer that for starters. Some Scripture references would be nice for a change as well.


James Diggs said...

Nyk, I am not even sure what you are talking about, I am not sure what isn't being questioned or not talked about, or what you are afraid of being thrown in jail for speaking of?

I assumed that you were speaking about talking about standing against abortion, but you are being very vague.

As for scripture verses, I am sorry that you did not see that I was applying Matthew 5:38-47 to handling those who would strike us in the face, force on a path we don't want to walk carrying a burden we don't want to carry, sue us for all we got, or throw us in jail.

Everything I said "jived" with scripture here.

Nicholas said...


Sorry for being vague. I have found when the topic is addressed directly people tend to turn off and nothing gets discussed. I did ask you a direct question which you didn't answer. My reference to "chapter and verse" was in relation to your answer to that question. Not what you had already written.

Yes, I know to what you were referring to in regards to your "jesusisms" and though I am not going to go into detail since it is not what this discussion is about, they do not apply to this conversation at all. At least not in the way you applied them.

By the by, will you be attending General Assembly?

James Diggs said...


I would love to go to General Assembly but I have no plans to do so yet because of some work issues.

As far as my "jesusisms" applying to the topic at hand, I think they do apply because they could help make space for the conversation in time where fighting fire with fire has not helped.

Again, I am not that sure what question you wanted chapter and verse about beyond giving it about my own comments. I am not trying to avoid answering your question, just not sure what it is.

I could be missing your whole point and I would be glad to hear what it is you are trying to say. I had assumed your frustration was in our cultural environment that has become increasingly intolerant of sharing pro-life views. Yes, I could lament along with you about such injustice, but instead I tried to ask what do we do about it; especially what do we do that is consistent with the way of Jesus.

Again, maybe I am misreading what you are discouraged by and would be glad to hear any clarification.

Nicholas said...

Quote from my earlier comment:

"Did Jesus ever advocate, directly or indirectly, violence? Answer that for starters. Some Scripture references would be nice for a change as well."

That's my question.

Yes, I am frustrated by the lack of true freedom of speech in this country. But that's not the question. The question is as above.


Too bad you are not going to be there as there will be an interesting discussion about reaffirming what our denomination believes about the Bible.

James Diggs said...


you wrote, "Did Jesus ever advocate, directly or indirectly, violence?"

I am sorry this sentence isn't clear, are you asking if Jesus ever advocated directly or indirectly AGAINST violence?

If this is your question, how did I not answer your question and give you scripture for it when I quoted Matthew 5:38-47?

As far as the "reaffirming what our denomination believes about the Bible" at GA, I believe the resolution out of SW Indiana and Indianapolis district is inconsistent with what our denomination believes about scripture. I think our existing statement is accurate as best expressing our Wesleyan heritage. The proposed resolution is not about "reaffirming" our beliefs as Nazarene but rather about introducing fundamentalism into it.

Nicholas said...

wow...just wow. Advocate against violence?

ok, so here is the question again.

Did Jesus ever support violence?

And about the resolution. I have not read the resolution from those districts, only the one from Joplin. Do you have a link to the others?

James Diggs said...

Why do think Jesus supported violence? It seems to me his life, teaching and even death on the cross all embraced nonviolence.

I am not sure what resolution is which or if it is one or two. NazNet has all the resolutions posted on their own dedicated threads if you want to check them out.

Nicholas said...

Why do you answer a simple question with a question? Cuz Jesus did that alot?

I didn't say I thought Jesus supported violence. I asked you if He did and where in Scripture it might be found.

James Diggs said...

I should have put a comma after "why" in my question, I meant to ask you IF you think Jesus supported violence. I did not mean to imply that you thought he did.

I can't find anything in scripture that tells us that Jesus supported or encouraged violence.

Nicholas said...

Then you should read and study your Bible some more.

James Diggs said...

Please Nyk,

Do me my the the same courtesy you demanded of me and provide me the verses that show where Jesus supported or encouraged the use of violence.

Nicholas said...

Firstly, Matthew 5:38-47 doesn't even speak to the issue of violence.

How about:
Mt. 21:12
Lk. 22:36-38

Then of course there are the teachings of Paul but I will not include them.

James Diggs said...

wow- OK- let me hear of some of where you think Paul encourages violence because I am not sure these verses you gave present the strongest case.

I am not sure the story of the money changers is really an act of violence because the record does not tell us that Jesus actually hurt anyone; though I suppose I can concede that the cords could be interpreted as at least the threat of violence. Even so, I think we should look at this act in light of Jesus' own teaching and life (more on that in a second).

As for the swords, I think the imagery he used by telling the disciples to gather swords needs to be interpreted through his rebuke of Peter when Peter actually used it. The gathering of the swords must have been symbolic of a revolution that never intended to actually be the kind that would shed blood, but instead was willing that Christ's blood was shed without resistance for the redemption of even the enemy.

This example of Christ's actually leads us back to Jesus' teaching, and your statement that Matthew 5:38-47 "doesn't even speak to the issue of violence." Say what???

Didn't you read "turn the other cheek?" The entire context is about loving your enemy and about a non violent response to those who hate you, steel from you, persecute you or harm you. It is about not repaying evil with evil, but overcoming evil with good, as Paul described the same idea in Romans 12:14-21.

Nicholas said...

Actually its not, epecially when taken in the context of the Jewish culture in which Jesus was speaking. It has to do with sueing people. That's the context. We can apply the principle to our general attitudes towards people but saying it is advocating some sort of pacifism is simply not correct.

I am not trying to make a strong case, I am simply presenting an idea. Violence is violence in relation to what Jesus did with the money-changers. It does not say that He hit anyone and we can't assume He did but we can assume, I think, that He conducted Himself in a violent manner for He single-handedly kicked a bunch of people out of the Temple and it even says that He refused to let people even carry anything through the Temple. There had to have been some significant threat posed by Him to have been able to pull that off. And this was to people minding their own business.

Your explaination of the swords makes no sense. All of His instructions in this passage were in reference to their new life to come, traveling through dangerous places without Him with them. There is only one reason to have a sword. It wasn't for hunting or to cut your fish at dinner time. It was for defense.

When Jesus tells them to put their swords away, it is really nothing more than what He is telling them to do right then, as He was supposed to be arrested. They were confused no doubt. But there is no reason for us to be.

To me, there is just no way you can say that Jesus NEVER advocated the use of violence. It ignores who He was here on Earth as well as who He is as God.

James Diggs said...

Nyk, I already conceded making room for interpreting the money changer event as a kind of violence, but I find your interpretation of Matthew 5 one that marginalizes its meaning.

What kind of scholarship are you using that reduces everything Jesus taught here to being applied to Jewish culture of being sued?

Yes there is one reference to being taken to court for your outer garment, but there is also reference about going an extra mile with the soldier that forces you and threatens to end your life if you don't to carry his bags for him for a one mile. Not to mention that Jesus talks about getting physically struck in the face and responding by offering the other side of our face as another target.

As for your reasoning about the swords saying that the ONLY reason they were not to be used was because Jesus knew he had to be arrested to fulfill a specific requirement in redemptive history actually marginalizes the cross as the way. I get the sense that you only see the cross as a form of payment rather than also as a way of life that Jesus modeled and calls us into sharing such a yoke with him.

Nicholas said...

I think you should search deeper into studies about Matthew five. Turn the other cheek, an eye for an eye, the cloaks are all about litigation. Going the extra mile additionally deals with a legal issue of the day not some personal threat. Its all the same context. I did say we can take the principle and apply it to how we live our lives generally and what our attitudes towards people should be and I in fact live my life that way, but to extend this to a prohibition against violence in all situations, especially in light of Jesus' own violent acts while on earth as well as throughout history, is an error. This passage does not address violence specifically though one of the acts spoken of is violent in nature, albiet fairly minor in the scheme of things.

There is no way I am going down the road of the Cross with you. We already know there is no common ground between us when it comes to the Gospel. (I say this in reference to other conversations we have had on other blogs) In fact, I am still waiting on your Scriptural evidence supporting your definition of the Gospel from one of our other conversations.

This post was not about that. It is about trying to come to a proper conclusion about a Biblical perspective on the use of violence.

By the way, have you seen Valkyrie, the movie? I just saw it this week.

James Diggs said...


My original intention was meant as encouragement in finding ways to love our enemies and do good to those who miss treat us, try and oppress us, or try to take away our free speech or rights.

We may disagree about the extent of the theological implications to love our enemies, but I was hoping to encourage you by helping us find solidarity with Jesus Christ as he lived out this teaching in regards to his enemies- which according to Paul includes all of us.

I hope that despite some of our disagreement that you will be able to take away from our conversation my sincere desire to encourage you when you see "hatred everywhere".

As for the movie Valkyrie, I haven't seen it yet. If you recommend it I will have to put in my netflix que and check it out.



Nicholas said...

I do appreciate that. I just find your solution of compomising with them at every step to keep the peace not really what Jesus was talking about. Also, our culture is so different from Jesus' culture. They did not have freedom of speech. They did not have representation or a say in Government. What is our responsibility to our Government and to the people of this country? It is not and cannot be to simply give in to every whim of people who are not concerned with living in a Godly fashion. But where is the balance? That is what I don't think is able to be discussed because if all the options, whether right or wrong are not on the table then we cannot have a fair discussion. And that is what is happening now in this country. The powers that be have made Christians so afraid of speaking that the discussion is really muted.

I don't want to conclude that the killing of Tiller was wrong simply because it is unsavory. That's not a good mode of judgement. I want to be able to lay everything out and find out from Scripture, who was right, who was wrong and why.

It seems we either have a few ultra right wing Christians who say it was justified or those who say murder is never right (without any discussion at all whether this act can even be termed murder) or those who condemn it and wish the killer dead and all who agree with him. Yet, there is no actual discussion going on. Only assertions and accusations with nothing to support either argument, not logical or Scriptural.

Now off do you like netflix? I have been debating whether to subscribe.


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