Jesus for President

8 May

Jesus for President-Shane Claiborne
Section III: When the Empire Got Baptized Part VI

I have found this to be a hard book to write about. Many books that I read have an interesting thought or two in every chapter that are worthy of quoting and then talking about. But with this book I find myself underlining several things per page and instead of inserting my thoughts I feel that it is just best to sit back and learn from what Shane has to say.

Another reason it is hard is because I feel like relatively few people are in on this conversation. His vision for living out the kingdom and choosing Jesus over nation is rarely done or practiced. The things that he touches on are often the things that are closest to our hearts which can stir up anger in others when they are challenged over deep seated convictions (patriotism) and matters of the heart (money).

What I have found is that it is changing my vocabulary. I have found that the only thing I have ever been commanded to bless in the scriptures are God and my enemies (our blessing of food is a cultural misunderstanding and translation issue. The blessing was to be directed towards God not the food). It makes it hard to pray that God would bless America (unless I view it as my enemy I suppose).

It has made me look for new hero’s (and shero’s as Shane Claiborne would say). The Amish who have always appeared foolish in the midst of a shooting showed the forgiveness of Christ. Going to the murderers funeral as a sign of forgiveness and setting up a trust fund in his name for his family because they were now missing a husband and father. What if in the “War on Terror” we responded as the Amish did? What if we spent $517,561,395,000 to bless those we viewed as our enemies rather than fight them? What if Christians showed up in Jesus name and loved their enemies rather than carrying weapons and fighting while asking their congregation to pray for their safety in this war?

It has taught me that we need people who have what Walter Brueggeman calls a “prophetic imagination”. People who have the ability to see the third way in every situation. They don’t simply respond with “fight” or “flight”. They don’t run from evil or abuse but neither do they reflect it in how they respond. It was Carl Jung who said that we always become what we fight. The third way often focuses on how we can love our enemy, respecting their humanity, and revealing the humanity of others to them. We see this in MLK and Gandi’s non-violent resistance and probably don’t see it in the hundreds of others who have made this their way of life but we do not see it in people dropping bombs or taking up the sword.

After dropping the atomic bomb on Nagasaki on January 9, 1945 Harry Truman said:

“Having found the atomic bomb, we have used it. We shall continue to use it. …It is an awful responsibility which has come to us. We thank God that it [the atomic bomb] has come to us instead of to our enemies and we pray that he may guide us to use it in his ways and for his purposes.”p200

I would suggest that the Galilean Jew named Jesus who was crucified by his enemies who he called us to bless would say that the atomic bomb was not given to us nor would it be valid to ask for wisdom in how to use it.

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