Saturday, April 19, 2008


I wanted to link to Sue's blog where she has linked to Mike's blog where he is discussing The Myth Of Redemptive Violence. Maybe it is a personal thing but it just seems to me that being delivered from the use of violence in all it's forms was a part of what God in Christ showed us and made way for us to enter into with him. Whether it is the physically destructive kind on one end or the use of the tongue to verbally beat people up so as to make them feel smaller on the other, violence seems to be one of those things humans are trapped in which is why we are surrounded by it. If we are to embrace, it seems we might need to lay down the weapons of steel and tongue and all in between?
I decided to add these quotes to this post

Here are some excerpts from Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf, a Croatian Theologian that found himself in a tough spot with his country men/women when he began to speak of the need to embrace their enemy.

"Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion - without transposing the enemy from the sphere of monstrous inhumanity into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness. When one knows that the torturer will not eternally triumph over the victim, one is free to rediscover that person's humanity and imitate God's love for him. And when one knows that God's love is greater than all sin, one is free to see onself in the light of God's justice and so rediscover one's own sinfulness." (p.124)

"When God sets out to embrace the enemy, the result is the cross. On the cross the dancing circle of self-giving and mutually indwelling divine persons opens up for the enemy; in the agony of the passion the movement stops for a brief moment and a fissure appears so that sinful humanity can join in (see John 17:21). We, the others - we, the enemies - are embraced by the divine persons who love us with the same love with which they love each other and therefore make space for us within their own eternal embrace." (p.129)

"Without entrusting oneself to the God who judges justly, it will hardly be possible to follow the crucified Messiah and refuse to retaliate when abused. The certainty of God's just judgment at the end of history is the presupposition for the renunciation of violence in the middle of it. The divine system of judgment is not the flip side of the human reign of terror, but a necessary correlate of human nonviolence."(p.302)


Sue said...

Why didn't you just link to Mike's blog and cut out the middle woman?


I was watching my football team this evening record their fifth straight win of the season to sit on the top of the ladder, the best game I have seen for several years. It was fan-bloody-tastic

But organised sport, also, is violent, in a way. Notions of winners and losers are violent notions, do you not think?

But dammit if I'm not gonna dredge every single inch and ounce of enjoyment out of this season, having said all that :)

Kent said...

Sue, I didn't want to cut out the middle woman. But since you brought it up I now have a link directly to Mike for those that want to cut the middle woman out through the exercise of their own choice.

I'll pray for you about the football deal :)

MikeF said...

Kent, this is a wonderful post. "If we are to embrace, it seems we might need to lay down the weapons of steel and tongue and all in between?" That's it, isn't? Exactly!

And thank you for introducing me to Miroslav Volf, whom I confess I hadn't encountered before. I see he's written on Moltmann - I must check this guy out properly!

Sue, I confess to having a serious problem with football, and really with most team games. I just don't get 'em. I sort of enjoyed playing at school, but I was always being told off for not being a team player. Quite right. I wasn't. But swimming on the other hand - I had no problem with being competitive there!

Sue said...

Kent - prayers to intrude upon my love for my football team repelled :)

Don't go there :)

Kent said...

HEHE.....I'll leave it alone :)

Sue said...

Mike - you're such a contemplative :) No team sports for you. Only the competitive sport that involves immersion in water and quietude :)

MikeF said...

Too right, Sue - and I loved long practice swims on my own best of all!

dan dickinson said...

Reading your posts and Mike's on the Myth of Redemptive Violence made me think of these lyrics;

"Weaving down the American highway
Through the litter and the wreckage and the cultural junk
Bloated with entitlement, loaded on propaganda
And now we're driving dazed and drunk

..."it's hard to stop this bingeing, once you get a taste."
"but the road to empire is a bloody stupid waste."

Behold the bitten apple - the power of the tools
But all the knowledge in the world is of no use to fools
And it's a long road out of eden...."

Redemptive violence is a bloody stupid waste.

Don Henley - Long Road out of Eden

Kent said...

pretty tough....but honest lyrics there Dan.

Redemptive violence IS a bloody stupid waste but there has always been enough ugly events in history where violence seems to have stopped someone else that seemed more dangerous and this has a way of keeping people from being able to see that it is sill a dead end road. It's a cycle that will continue to loop around until people see through the fallacy and realize that there is nothing redemptive about violence.

MikeF said...

Terrific song, Dan, and horribly appropriate in the context. Good shout, actually.

"Temptation's page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover
That you'd just be
One more person crying."

(Bob Dylan - It's Alright Ma")

Kent said...

and more often than not it is done in the name of God.

"Sinners and saints, priests and kings
Are we just using God for our own gain
What’s in a name
Open your eyes"

(OTR---Remind Us)