PACIFIST FIGHT CLUB

We will fight for peace, but we will do no violence.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Posada Sin Fronteras:Communion Across the Border


SAVE THE DATE:
Saturday, Dec. 8th, 2012
2pm to 4pm at Border Field State Park

The 17th Annual Posada Sin Fronteras
Come to the Mexican / US Border with us on Dec 8th
The theme for this year is Compassion: Standing with those who Suffer.

CLUE OC is organizing a luncheon at 12:30pm at nearby Border Field State Park.

For more info contact: Wendy Tarr at wendy.clue@gmail.com.

 If you are coming from LA or OC, then please let us know
RSVP here>

Saturday, October 13, 2012

GUNS AND PRISONS STEALING AMERICA'S FUTURE

The prison and gun industries have raked in billions of dollars this year -- all while our communities continue to be destroyed by their disastrous effects. Young men and women in and out of the prison system without a chance to succeed.
But these two issues continue to be ignored by the two people with the biggest platform to talk about and FIX them -- President Obama and Governor Romney. 

The number of prisoners in America has quadrupled since 1980. And we spend six times more on prisons than on higher education! Is that the kind of message we want to send to our children? That prisons, not children, are worth the investment? That just doesn't make sense!

We must tell America's next president to do something about guns and our mass incarcerations. Steel -- whether in the form of a gun or prison bars -- will never solve our problems. We need to face our problems and find common sense solutions now.

Next week, we'll deliver this petition to the two candidates before the debate in New York. We need your name so they know that Americans care about these issues that affect so many of our families.

If you or someone you know has been affected by gun violence or our mass incarceration system, sign this petition TODAY>

Let's give our children and families a better future, free from crime and free from profit-motivated imprisonment.

Friday, October 12, 2012

THREE STRIKES OF INJUSTICE

On Nov. 6, voters in California will decide whether to adopt Proposition 36, a ballot initiative that would reform the most draconian aspects of the law — and, in our view, restore the original intent of voters, which was to lock away violent career criminals for life, without unjustly throwing away the lives of small-time, nonviolent offenders like Mr. Taylor. Like most Californians, we believe that the punishment should fit the crime. We’re encouraged that polls show broad public support for the measure.

WATCH VIDEO>

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dwight Smith: Homelessness and Christian Responsibility


Video streaming by Ustream

PART 1: DeShonna Collier-Goubil - The Prison System and Equality


Video streaming by Ustream PART 1

PART2: DeShonna Collier-Goubil: The Prison System and Equality


Video streaming by Ustream PART 2

CRISSY BROOKS AND WENDY TARR - THE CHURCH, IMMIGRATION AND POWER

FROM PACIFIST FIGHT CLUB: ROUND 3 - SATURDAY, SEPT.15, 2012
Video streaming by Ustream

Friday, September 14, 2012

HOW TO FIGHT LIKE A CHRISTIAN

Know your Enemy.

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." - (1 Peter 5:8)

 
Understand who is NOT your enemy.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." - (Eph. 6:12)

 
Know your weapons.

"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." - (2 Cor. 10:4)

 
Understand your mission.


“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” – (Matt. 5:44-45)

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.” – (Luke 6:27-29)
 
Wear your armor.

 "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." - (Eph. 6:11)

 
Understand the nature of your struggle

"If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer." - (2 Cor. 1:6)

 
 Be confident.

 "No weapon formed against you shall prosper" - (Isaiah 54:17)

 
Understand your covert strategy.

 "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." - (Matthew 10:16)

 
Claim the victory.

“…I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." - (Matthew 16:18)

 
Summary:

No human being is your enemy.

Your warfare involves prayer, love, and becoming a blessing to those who hate you.

Lives may be lost in this battle, and your own life is most certainly one of them.

If blood must be shed it must be your own.

You must look out for the well-being of your fellow-soldiers, and your enemy.

You are a sheep, not a wolf. Trust in your Shepherd for protection.
 

 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Warships Full of Buckets: Or Ambassadors and Their Enemies

by Chase Andre

On the anniversary of Sept. 11, men — protesters? terrorists? — breached the walls of the US embassy to Libya, tore down the American flag and murdered the US Ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.


To the Libyans, Stevens was functionally President Obama. An ambassador carries the authority of the one he represents. With this authority, Ambassador Stevens managed to transform the civil war-torn country. “It’s especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi, because it is a city that he helped to save,” President Obama declared of the fallen US hero.


President Obama went on to say, "There is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence," and has vowed to seek justice on the perpetrators.


If you mess with an ambassador, you better be prepared for the wrath of his higher up. Wars have started because an ambassador was mistreated. That’s why no one has expressed much surprise at the Pentagon’s decision to deploy two warships to the coast of Libya. While the White House has, rightfully, been careful not to blame Libya or Islam for these actions, it is too early to tell what sort of “wrath” will befall on those who pulled the trigger.


In the meantime, I mourn with the families of the four people who lost their lives today.


This story grabbed my attention because I find myself fascinated with the relationship between ambassadors and their homeland, as well as their relationship with the land they occupy.


In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul instructs us to relate to God and to the city around us like Ambassador Stevens related to President Obama and to Benghazi, Libya. Paul knew a lot about this ambassador relationship to which he called the Corinthians (and us); he lived his life as an ambassador, and often encountered those who disrespected the Authority he carried. Stoning and imprisonment were regular rhythms of his life as Christ’s ambassador.


But he understood this relationship to another degree, too. See, in a past life, Paul — or Saul, as he was known then — sought out and murdered Christ’s ambassadors, protesting the spread of the Gospel. In response, Christ turned his wrath on Saul. He deployed the warships of his gaze onto the enemy of His representatives. As a result, Saul became Paul. The enemy became the friend became the ambassador. The wrath which Christ turned on the terrorist of the Church was the fullness of His love.


This is how the enemies of God are treated. P(ost-S)aul says it plainly in Romans: “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (5:10).


As Ambassadors of Christ, we are called to treat our enemies in the same way. “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). As Christians, the warships sailing toward our enemies’ shores mustn’t hold Tomahawk missiles, but meals, prayers, and buckets to wash the feet of those who intend to dance on our graves.


It’s easy to talk about this when it’s a conversation springboarded off of a tragedy on the other side of the world. When it’s someone else’s enemies. When it’s someone else’s coast.


But what about our enemies at home?


Who do you perceive to be your enemy? Is it someone who shares your blood? Someone in your office? Is it someone who lacks the right “papers”? Police officers? The church on the corner? Politicians or murderers? The monkey suits in Wall St, or the jumpsuits in penitentiaries?


What is your God-ordered role as an Ambassador to those enemies? What about to those in your city? Will they say, as President Obama said of Christopher Stevens, that it’s a city you helped to save?


Remember, the way the world responds to tragedy and persecution isn’t the way heaven does. We are here to represent heaven’s King, and are called to respond to His enemies as He does. May your warships be loaded with love, may grace be its cargo, and may there be reconciliation in its sails.

*
JOIN US AT PACIFIST FIGHT CLUB: ROUND 3 ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 AT BIOLA.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

JOIN US: ROUND 3 - "The Least of These"

Make plans now to join us for Round 3 of Pacifist Fight Club on Saturday, September 15th.

PACIFIST FIGHT CLUB

We will fight for peace, but we will do no violence

Saturday, September 15, 2012, 9:00 am to 2pm, Biola University.

Round 3- "The Least of These"

This is a FREE Event.

NOTE: *BRING YOUR OWN SACK LUNCH *WATER, COFFEE & TEA PROVIDED

Our Fighters will be:
*Crissy Brooks; MIKA CDC (Poverty and Immigration)
*Wendy Tarr; CLUE OC (Poverty and Immigration)
*Leia Smith; ISAIAH HOUSE (Poverty in Orange County)
* Dr. Deshonna Collier-Goubil; Author of "Does Religion Affect Peaceful Behavior?"  (Torture and Prison)

 
LOCATION:
Biola University, Business Building - Room 201.
Address: 13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639

Directions:
Biola is easily accessible off of the 5 freeway (coming from the North take the Rosecrans exit, coming from the South take the Valley View exit).

Details:
The Business building is #50 and is the first building on the right through the main entrance on Biola Avenue.

Parking:
Visitors can park in the visitors parking lot (Lot D) adjacent to the Business Building. Parking permits will be handed out the morning of the event.

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NEW FIGHTER ADDED TO THE CARD


 
 
Dr. Deshonna Collier-Goubil, author of "Does Religion Affect Peaceful Behavior?" will be speaking at Round 3 of Pacifist Fight Club on the subject of Prisoners and Social Justice.
 
Dr. Collier-Goubil is an associate professor of Sociology at Biola University. She is an expert on Criminology, Jails, Prisons and the Corrections System, as well as Women and Criminal Justice and Terrorism in Contemporary Society.
 
Publications

  • Hodge, Daniel White, and Deshonna Collier Goubil. 2012. The Hostile Gospel: Hip Hop's Totemic Post Soul Theology. Editor of series W. Goldstein, Center for Critical Research on Religion and Harvard University. Boston, MA: Brill Academic. (Publication forthcoming early 2013).
  • Block, C., Collier-Goubil, D., Moore, and A., Reed, W. (2011). Collaborating with Practitioners in Lenning, Brightman and Caringella's "A Guide To Surviving A Career in Academia, Navigating the Rites of Passage." New York: Routledge.
  • Collier, Deshonna. (2010). Per Capita Income In Washington, DC: A Time Series Analysis. A Time Series Analysis. Abdul Bangura (Ed.) Greater Washington Metropolitan Social-Economic Trends, 1970-2005. CA: Iuniverse.
  • Collier, Deshonna. (2010) Does Religion Affect Peaceful Behavior?: A Study of the District of Columbia Abdul Bangura (Ed.) Perceptions of Peaceful Behavior in Washington, DC. CA: Iuniverse.
  • Reed, Winnie and Collier-Goubil, Deshonna. (2009). Crime Prevention Partnerships, United States. Bonnie S. Fisher and Steven P. Lab (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Victimization and Crime Prevention. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

IMMIGRATION: U.S.-born kids lose rights in Mexico


[EXCERPTED FROM ORIGINAL STORY BY ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON Associated Press]

*

Because of the byzantine rules of Mexican and U.S. bureaucracies, tens of thousands of children now find themselves without access to basic services in Mexico — unable to officially register in school or sign up for health care at public hospitals and clinics that give free check-ups and medicines.

**
One by one, the parents tell government workers their stories: First, they crossed illegally into the United States for work, found jobs, and had children. Then, they were caught and deported, or left on their own as the work dried up with the U.S. economic slump. Now they are back in Mexico with children who are American citizens by virtue of being born on U.S. soil.

 At issue is a Mexican government requirement that any official document from another country be certified inside that country with a seal known as an "apostille," then be translated by a certified, and often expensive, translator in Mexico.

It's a growing problem in Mexico as hundreds of thousands return home because of the sluggish U.S. job market and a record number of deportations. Illegal migration of Mexicans to the U.S. is at its lowest level in decades, with more Mexicans now leaving the United States than entering it each year.

**
More than 300,000 U.S.-born children have been brought to Mexico since 2005, out of a total of 1.4 million people who moved back from the U.S. during that period, according to the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center.

The number of U.S.-citizen children living in Mexico with at least one Mexican parent reached 500,000 in 2011, according to one demographic study.

 **
Many of the Mexican parents of U.S. children were not aware of Mexico's paperwork requirement before they came back, so now tens of thousands are struggling to get their children's documents to the United States to be certified, and then returned to Mexico to be officially translated.

They get little help from the Mexican government....
 
"The government doesn't care about what happens to the people who are coming back," said Maria del Rosario Leyva, who came back with her two U.S.-born children, a 3-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl, from Santa Ana last year after their father was deported.

 She and other returnees have gone to schools and to education offices seeking to enroll their children. Some were sent to Malinalco's records office, which suggested they hire a lawyer.
**
 
Many parents don't understand what administrators and clerks tell them. Official procedures are often confusing even for college-educated Mexicans. Misconceptions are widespread: Hernandez said he'd heard from other families that if he didn't get the children's documents stamped, U.S. officials could take the youngsters from him, even in Mexico.

 
"The mothers have come to us for help after multiple frustrations," said Ellen Calmus, director of the Corner Project. "I've literally had a series of mothers in tears coming to the office."

 
**
A majority of migrants' American-born children stay in the U.S. with relatives, or are taken into state foster care after their parents are arrested for crimes. Demographers say only about 10 to 15 percent of the U.S.-born youngsters are taken to Mexico.

 

"These are children who are kind of stateless in both countries," said Hirokazu Yoshikawa, academic dean at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of "Immigrants Raising Citizens: Undocumented Parents and Their Young Children."

 
**
"Each generation is undocumented in one country," he said.

 **

In Washington, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said that the U.S. government worries about U.S.-born offspring of migrants. "Where are the children? What's going on with the children?" she said in an interview with The Arizona Republic newspaper.

 

Leyva said her U.S.-citizen children will not stay in Mexico beyond childhood...Her eyes moistened as she told of how they often ask when they will return to the United States.


READ THE FULL STORY HERE >

Thursday, July 26, 2012

UPDATED: New Location for Round 3 of PFC


LOCATION:
Biola University, Business Building - Room 201.

Address: 13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639

Directions:
Biola is easily accessible off of the 5 freeway (coming from the North take the Rosecrans exit, coming from the South take the Valley View exit).

Details:
The Business building is #50 and is the first building on the right through the main entrance on Biola Avenue.

Parking:
Visitors can park in the visitors parking lot (Lot D) adjacent to the Business Building. Parking permits will be handed out the morning of the event.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

PACIFIST FIGHT CLUB: ROUND 3 - "THE LEAST OF THESE"


Make plans now to join us for Round 3 of Pacifist Fight Club on Saturday, September 15th.

Our Fighters will be:

*Crissy Brooks; MIKA CDC (Poverty and Immigration)
*Wendy Tarr; CLUE OC (Poverty and Immigration)
*Leia Smith; ISAIAH HOUSE (Poverty in Orange County)
*Dr. Thomas Crisp; BIOLA, DOROTHY DAY SOCIETY (Torture and Prison)

Location and more details coming soon.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NEW EBOOK: WAR IS NOT CHRISTIAN by Keith Giles




About the book:
Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and if He commanded His followers to love their enemies, turn the other cheek and not to live by the sword, then why do so many Christians today support wars, torture and nationalism?

With an introduction by New Testament scholar Jon Zens, this book is a collection of articles and essays by author, blogger and teacher Keith Giles on the subject of Jesus and Non-Violence.

Giles is also the founder of Pacifist Fight Club, a quarterly gathering of Christians in Orange County, California who meet to discuss issues surrounding Christian non-violence.

This book explores typical arguments regarding the meaning of Jesus' statements against violence, as well as common objections related to the turning over of the tables of the money changers in the Temple, the command to "go and buy a sword", and various appeals to Old Testament scriptures where God leads the nation of Israel into battle.

Whether you agree or disagree with the author on this controversial topic, you will be challenged and inspired to return again to the words of Jesus and to investigate your own heart and motives when it comes to obeying the radical call to love as Jesus loves.


Download here>

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

WAR IS NOT CHRISTIAN: SUBVERSIVE RADIO

Listen to internet radio with Subversive Radio on Blog Talk Radio
What are some of the common objections to Jesus and Non-Violence? Listen as Subversive Radio host and Pacifist Fight Club founder Keith Giles explores this topic and answers the critics.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

JOIN US: Pacifist Fight Club - Round 2


"This Time It's War!"

This is a FREE Event.

*BRING YOUR OWN SACK LUNCH
*WATER, COFFEE & TEA PROVIDED
Saturday, May 5, 2012, 9:00 am to 2pm, Fuller Seminary


UPDATED ADDRESS INFO:
 Fuller Seminary (Irvine) at 2021 Business Center Drive, Suite 115, Irvine, 92612.
 [Look for the Pacifist Fight Club sign on the left]

Topics:
"Christians in the Military" - Thomas Crisp (Biola)
"Just War Theory vs No War Theory" - Shane Crash (Pacifist Army)
"The Dangers of Christian Nationalism" - Chase Andre (Biola)
"Christian Zionism: Israel, Palestine and the Kingdom of God" - Keith Giles (Pacifist Fight Club)
"How Love Overcomes Hate" - Brandt Russo (Can't Ignore The Poor)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Some Thoughts About Non-Violence

By Rachel Hester

I was talking to one of my friends about the burden in my heart about my friend Michael going to the military, and I noticed that one of the other things that came up was how some people genuinely feel like G-d is calling them to go to the military.

My main concern for Michael's not going is his spiritual wellness, and whether if going to the military or not would advance or detract from the Kingdom being furthered. Michael, although he doesn't want to be in combat, feels like the Lord wants Him in combat. My friend Laurel was asking me questions such as, do i believe that Christians who are going to the military and feel like they are called to be there by the Lord, are disobeying the voice of G-d? Is it fair for us to say that refusing to support the military is against G-d, and that a voice that tells us to go to the military is definitely not the Lord's? Or could we consider that maybe the Lord may call us to the military for other purposes?

I think one thing that we can do is to talk to our brothers and sisters about it, and why they feel the way they do, and also pray for them.

I think because of the fact that non-violence is hardly ever talked about in church, we feel like we don't have any options when it comes to opposing violence, and I think that is why non-violence is often seen to be synonymous with passivity. Usually when I mention non-violence, I always receive at least one remark saying that the Lord calls us to brutal, ugly war. But, I have always thought that the war we face was more of a spiritual war, and that non-violence is part of that spiritual battle.

She also asked me, that if we believe in using non-violence in real life situations, what should we do? She believes that violence can be necessary in being able to defend ourselves, and that there is a time for everything. She gave me scenarios, such as if a group were to storm a brothel, and rescue women there, and if there were crazy men who were threatening to kill everyone, should we kill those men to defend the women?

I told her that I really didn't know what to do, but I believed that there must be another way, but perhaps we just haven't figured out another way yet. These are hard questions, and it is hard to think of such a situation where innocent people are being threatened and killed, and whether we can allow someone who may not understand why some of us choose not to be violent to be threatened, because of the fact that we do choose non-violence. It would be wonderful for us to have a way where we do choose not to be violent, but we can also say that we didn't choose to do nothing, because we did do something to defend these innocent people.

All I know is that non-violent love is definitely not a passive love. And I think that when Christians teach Christians about non-violence, that that is definitely something that needs to be mentioned. By no means, if a man is hungry, will we just pray and not do anything about it, but we will feed the man himself. There are times, where we use common sense, and we know that we are the answer to our prayers.

This is so complex. But, now I'm thinking about how we are told, that nothing is impossible for G-d.

My other concern is that Christ's turning the tables (in the Gospels) is often used as a way to defend violence. But, I think Christ's turning the tables and forcing people out of the temple is not to be confused with violence and showing a lack of mercy.

Perhaps it is our definition of what violence is that is unclear. I think violence is whatever causes folks to live apart from mercy and peace and encourages destruction and or self-destruction. How do you define violence? How does PFC define violence?

Laurel also argued that in the New Testament, when Christ returns, that he will be violent.  Since he'll be on horseback and wielding a sword, (she thinks) that he isn't about peace, but rather justice. I always thought that his justice would end in peace, but would require a lot of work. I don't know how I feel about assuming that his coming with a sword on horseback will result in violence and lack of mercy. I honestly don't know how I feel about this type of "coming back with sword on horseback" argument or rebuttal, as:
1. I'm not very educated on the book of Revelations and the way it is written and intended to be read, and
2. i know she's a huge fan of Mark Driscoll, and I typically don't know what to believe about some of the things he says about the character of G-d/Jesus. Furthermore, she said that as long as we live in a broken world, that violence will remain as a means of defense that we will have to resort to.

But I don't believe that we HAVE to resort to it. I do believe we can find another way, if Jesus did tell us to turn the other cheek. I feel like turning the other cheek is best explained by MLK's (statement, that) "We will wear you down with our love".

I told her that even the idea of applying non-violence in our lives as a means to follow Jesus Christ, is something that even I, which despite the fact that I want to believe that Jesus calls Christians to live in self-sacrificial love, cannot even fathom how non-violence makes sense, other than the fact that refusing to continue the pattern of violence may encourage others to put down the sword as well.

I think to follow Christ in a life of non-violence is something that requires a lot of faith and wisdom and lots of love.

I know that in the Old Testament, violent acts where done out of faith until Christ came and fulfilled the law and gave us all these new instructions. Paul even warns us later in the New Testament, that if we even have faith to move mountains, but have no love, that we are doing it in vain, and what we have is nothing.

Shouldn't our faith be motivated by love by power of the Holy Spirit? Because Christ has loved us, and shown his mercy to us, that we extend that to others, by committing to non-violence? Are we not to tell if our actions and decisions are of the Holy Spirit if they produce the fruits of the spirit, such as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – remembering “that against such things there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-25)

I think that if we love our friends and enemies the same, that we will find that the non-violence, if done in love, will lead us to producing the fruits of the Holy Spirit.


I almost though, feel like believing that Christ calls us to non-violence in all situations, and not just certain situations, is seen to be very idealistic and unrealistic to most people. Maybe that is why it is such a hard topic.

I hope that my thoughts that I'm presenting can be productive, though. I really appreciate Laurel presenting to me these thoughts, as they really help me, too, and I hope they help you guys in being able to affirm what we believe, and have the courage to teach these ideas, with the ability to present common concerns and thoughts, and also the courage to live it out.

I was reading an article called "To Teach What Jesus Taught: A Call to Fidelity" by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy. He talks about why teaching non-violence is so difficult, and lots of other things.

Teaching non-violence, according to this article, is something that would result in many of us giving up a lot; a lot of us wouldn't have the income we have, which would trouble a lot of Christians who are not ready to bear such a discipline as voluntary poverty. I think that it is an interesting perspective to read in preparing for Pacifist Fight Club, especially because of the fact that you guys will be talking a lot about war and militarism.

You can read the article online here>

Violence tends to be more intertwined with economic situation and riches (or lack of) more than I thought.

What do you think? Do you think non-violence can be practiced in faith in all situations? Or do you think it should only be practiced in certain situations? And why do you think these things?

I want to believe that even though the non-violent life and committing to non-violent action in violent situations is tricky, scary, "impractical", and threatens our security, that it can do a lot to show the love of G-d; His mercy and patience.

I think that because Christ lived a non-violent life, that that says a lot about how grand his love and patience and mercy and grace for us is like.

I think our views on non-violence pretty much reveal how we see G-d, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

It is really hard. I pray that we can have the faith and wisdom to figure these things out together, not just within Pacifist Fight Club, but in the church as well.

I hope my thoughts aren't too jumbled and unorganized.


Your sister in the faith,
Rachel Hester


P.S. I've grown up not punching my sister when she punches me and beats me up, and i guess i'm still okay. ;)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Our Fighters for Round 2


This time around our "Fighters" will each take turns presenting their thoughts on a specific topic for about 30 minutes, then everyone will have an opportunity to ask questions, respond and engage one another about what we've heard.
Our Fighters will lead us in the following discussions:
*Christians in the Military -Thomas Crisp (Biola)
*Just War Theory vs No War Theory- Shane Crash (Pacifist Army)
*The Dangers of Christian Nationalism - Chase Andre (Biola)
*Christian Zionism: Israel, Palestine and the Kingdom of God  - Keith Giles (Pacifist Fight Club)
*Spiritual Warfare: How We Fight - Crissy Brooks (MIKA)

As before, Pacifist Fight Club will be a free event.
More details to come...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PACIFIST FIGHT CLUB - ROUND 2: OUR SESSIONS

Join us for Round Two of Pacifist Fight Club on Saturday, May 5, 2012. Our topics will include:

*Christians in the Military - Right or Wrong?

*The Dangers of Christian Nationalism

*Just War Theory vs No War Theory

*Christian Zionism: Israel, Palestine and the Kingdom of God

*How We Fight: Spiritual Warfare Today

More details to come.

This Time It's War

Monday, March 5, 2012

CINCO DE MAYO: Pacifist Fight Club Round 2

Our topic for the day will be War. Our fighters will lead us off with short presentations on related topics, including:

  • Christians in the Military
  • Christian Zionism
  • Christian Nationalism
  • Just War Theory
More details coming soon.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

PACIFIST FIGHT CLUB: ROUND 2

Pacifist Fight Club: Round 2
"This Time It's War"
Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Details to come....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

AMERICA: WE CREATE OUR OWN TERRORISTS

 Michael Hastings, in his hard-hitting new book, "The Operators," discusses "politically correct imperialism," why the military is obsessed with its legacy, and why we're stuck in post-9/11 thinking.
**




[Excerpt]
But one quote that stuck with me summed up the essential flaws in the thinking, the safe haven flaw, if you will: “Marja must be controlled in order to eventually control Kandahar. Kandahar must be controlled to control Afghanistan. Afghanistan must be controlled to control Pakistan. Pakistan must be controlled to prevent Saudi Arabia terrorists from getting on a flight at J.F.K. Airport in Jamaica, Queens.”
Did that revelation all come to you at the same time? Or how were you able to put that together and make it so crystal clear?
 MH: Well, to me this was apparent in Iraq, but it's also apparent in Afghanistan: that nothing that we're doing on a daily basis -- by "we" I mean NATO and U.S. forces -- has anything to do with preventing another September 11. I mean, 99 percent of the people we killed over these past 10 years would never have posed a threat to the United States. I mean, that's a devastating indictment of our endeavors -- it's devastating.
 MH: In 2008, after my first trip to Afghanistan, I came back and did a story for GQ, and my editor said something -- and it's a line I've stolen from him – he said we're stuck in post-9/11 thinking. There was this whole period of time where you could be accused of pre-9/11 thinking, but what's happened is we're stuck in post-9/11 thinking. And these misconceptions that I think took hold quite early have become institutionalized. And institutionalized in a way that is meant to shut down debate.
 Because you may say, well, we should get out of Afghanistan, and then the answer is, well, what about the terrorist safe havens? Grover Norquist actually made the argument that there's a reason why there's not a robust debate from the other side about Afghanistan – it's because they know how flimsy their argument is.
And we haven't even gotten to the fact that by being in these places – and with the trauma that we're inflicting on these societies while we're there – that's the way you create terrorists, it's not the way you defeat terrorists.

READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE>

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

WOULD YOU GIVE UP BEING AN AMERICAN FOR JESUS?


by Herb Montgomery

There is a growing desire among American Christians, especially during political races, to reach out and influence others through gaining political power. Now, I want to be clear from the beginning: I do not believe we should sit back and do nothing. My fear, though, is that many of us have been duped into thinking that by voicing our opinions (i.e. voting) we have somehow advanced the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom Jesus came to establish is very different from any and all kingdoms of this world, even America. The Kingdom of God is also advanced in a very different way than the kingdoms of this world.

This weekend, I made some statements regarding this subject in my final presentation. A fellow minister that was visiting from another affiliation questioned me afterward. The statement in our conversation that sticks with me most was, “I’m just afraid we are telling our people not to vote.” I understand my new friend’s concern. I am not saying we should not seek to influence the society around us. What I am saying is that as a follower of Jesus, following His example, we understand that as members of Jesus’s Kingdom, the weapons of our warfare are not the same as those used by kingdoms of this world. In all honestly, it’s a lot easier to just vote. It’s much more challenging to live lives that manifest radical, self-sacrificial love to others in our society, even those we are different from. God’s Kingdom cannot be advanced through the legislation of a kingdom of this world using its power over its citizens, even if it is America. God’s Kingdom is advanced by coming under our society, by humbly and lovingly serving others in our society, whether they are like us or not. God’s Kingdom is advanced through means that affect our society, not from the outside in, legislating behaviors, but from the inside out in a much more profoundly transformative way.

Let’s be clear: The United States is not the kingdom of God. Our country is, in my opinion, the best kingdom that this world has to offer at present, but even at its best, the United States is not the kingdom Jesus came to establish. It’s still merely a kingdom of this world.

Right now within American Christianity, there are those who are using the above passage this week to try and say that as Christians we have duel citizenship, that we as Christians have a duty to America as well as to God. This kind of rhetoric deeply concerns many, including me.

Notice the mindset and words of first-century Christianity. Followers of Jesus were not “dual citizens.” They saw themselves as aliens living under an earthly kingdom they viewed as foreign rule.

“Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers . . .” —1Peter 2.11 (emphasis supplied)

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” —Philippians 3.20 (emphasis supplied)

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen.” —1 Peter 1.1 (emphasis supplied)

This does not mean that they didn’t have a right to claim citizenship in these areas in which they lived (Acts 21.39; Acts 22.28). What it means is that they had taken Jesus’s words seriously. “No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13). They had renounced their citizenship in their respective earthly kingdoms and chose to dwell under the rule of those kingdoms as aliens. They had embraced their new identity as citizens of a very different Kingdom, for which they were now “Ambassadors” living under a foreign rule (Ephesians 6:20; 2 Corinthians 5:20).

Let me quickly share what this doesn’t mean: It doesn’t mean that we are to live rebelliously, irrespective of the laws of this country, indifferent to this world’s leaders, or that we should not pay our taxes. As followers of Jesus and members of His Kingdom, He commands us to submit to the authorities we find ourselves under, to live peaceful lives, and to pray for this world’s leaders, and pay our taxes. Yet notice the reason we pay our taxes, live peaceful lives, and respect law and order is not because we are citizens of the United States. It’s because we are citizens of Christ’s Kingdom and these are the things Jesus commanded us to do (Romans 13:1-10). I pay my taxes not because I’m an American, but because I am a follower of Jesus in America. Jesus told me to pay taxes to whatever kingdom of this world I live in. I pray not only for our leaders, but also for leaders everywhere. Jesus died for Obama, Mitt, and Newt just as much as He did for Bin Laden. In our prayers for America’s troops we, as followers of Jesus, should be praying for Al Qaeda’s troops as well. What we should be praying for is peace and the salvation of everyone, regardless of whether they are America’s enemies or not. As a follower of Jesus, I am to love my enemies, realizing that my enemy isn’t the flesh and blood before me. They have been influenced by the real enemy and I should endeavor to counter influence them through the revelation of nonviolent love and forgiveness (Luke 23:34). This is the whole story of the Cross. This is what it means to take up the Cross, not simply as our message, but as our way of life.

In addition to this, as a side note that is different but related, let me add, that my allegiance to God’s Kingdom also doesn’t mean that I can just trash the earth while I am here. As followers of Jesus, we are called to return to our original stewardship of this earth. Some embrace this truth and feel, “this world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through.” Yes, Jesus’s Kingdom is not of this world, but this world is the territory Christ came to establish His Reign in through the revelation of radical, other-centered, self-sacrificial love. This is the territory that the “meek” will inherit (Matthew 5:5).

Jesus called us, as His followers, to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, to give God the things that are God’s, and to always keep those two separate from each other, the former always held as subservient to the latter.

When I began to see this, I was faced with some deeply profound questions. You see, on one level, I love American history. I love Democracy. I love the Declaration of Independence and what it stands for. I resonate with the philosophies of American forefathers like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. But none of this belongs to the Kingdom of Jesus.

Which do I see myself as first and foremost: an American or a follower of Jesus? How does a holiday (July 4th) that celebrates American followers of Jesus killing British followers of Jesus qualify as a great Christian holiday (as claimed by the recent The American Patriot’s Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishers) rather than a holiday that followers of Jesus should mourn? What if I can’t be both an American and a follower of Jesus? Would I be willing to be an “alien” here in my beloved country? Am I more invested in my identity as an American than as a follower of Jesus? And finally, would I give up being an American for Jesus?

When did Jesus ever concern Himself with how Caesar ran Rome? America at its best is not the Kingdom of God. There is no such thing as a nation that wields the power of sword that looks like Jesus. As a follower of Jesus, I have to look at all of this with eyes wide open. “Christian” means “one who looks like Jesus.” Some good may have been done throughout history by the America. Some of our laws may have been originally based on a Judeo-Christian influence. But in our treatment of others, from Native Americans, through African American slaves, all the way down to our foreign policies of today, we have never been a nation that looked like Jesus. We have never been a very “Christian” nation. Manifest destiny more closely resembles a pagan paradigm than the person and teachings of Jesus Christ. I’m thankful for a country that asks my opinion. I have to realize at the same time that I may improve, in my opinion, how this earthly kingdom operates when I vote, but I can only participate in advancing the Kingdom of God as I seek to humbly, self sacrificially SERVE the world around me. Caesar and God are not the same.

Whether you see eye to eye with me on any of this or not at all, at the very least it’s something to think about.

Keep loving like the sun shines and like the rain falls. Keep building the Kingdom.

*THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED


Saturday, January 21, 2012

PRAYING FOR WAR IN THE NAME OF JESUS?

What's wrong with this picture? How can we call ourselves the follower of the Prince of Peace and pray in His Name for War?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Anatomy of Your Enemy


Ten easy steps to create an enemy and start a war:
Listen closely because we will all see this weapon used in our lives.
It can be used on a society of the most ignorant to the most highly educated.
We need to see their tactics as a weapon against humanity and not as truth.

First step: Create the enemy. Sometimes this will be done for you.

Second step: Be sure the enemy you have chosen is nothing like you. Find obvious differences like race, language, religion, dietary habits and fashion. Emphasize that their soldiers are not doing a job, they are heartless murderers who enjoy killing!

Third step: Once these differences are established continue to reinforce them with all disseminated information.

Fourth step: Have the media broadcast only the ruling party's information this can be done through state run media. Remember: in times of conflict all for-profit media repeats the ruling party's information. Therefore all for-profit media becomes state-run.

Fifth step: Show this enemy in actions that seem strange, militant, or different. Always portray the enemy as non-human, evil, a killing machine.

Chorus:
THIS IS HOW TO CREATE AN ENEMY.
THIS IS HOW TO START A WAR.
THIS IS HOW TO CREATE AN ENEMY.

Sixth step: Eliminate opposition to the ruling party.
Create an "Us versus Them" mentality. Leave no room for opinions in between. One that does not support all actions of the ruling party should be considered a traitor.

Seventh step: Use nationalistic and/or religious symbols and rhetoric to define all actions. This can be achieved by slogans such as "freedom loving people versus those who hate freedom." This can also be achieved by the use of flags.

Eighth step: Align all actions with the dominant deity.
It is very effective to use terms like, "It is god's will" or "god bless our nation."

Ninth step: Design propaganda to show that your soldiers
have feelings, hopes, families, and loved ones. Make it clear that your soldiers are doing a duty; they do not want or like to kill.

Tenth step: Create and atmosphere of fear, and instability
and then offer the ruling party as the only solutions to comfort the public's fears. Remembering the fear of the unknown is always the strongest fear.

We are not countries. We are not nations. We are not religions. We are not gods. We are not weapons. We are not ammunition. We are not killers.
We will NOT be tools.

I will not die.
I will not kill.
I will not be your slave.
I will not fight your battle.
I will not die on your battlefield.
I will not fight for your wealth.
I am not a fighter.
I am a human being.

lyrics by Anti-Flag, from the song "Anatomy of Your Enemy".

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Meet Our Newest Fighter: Travis G. Blankenship


T.G. Blankenship has spent the last 2+ years working as a Resident Assistant for a nonprofit called Transitional Youth in the Pacific Northwest. Transitional Youth helps homeless and at-risk youth get back on their feet through communal living, counseling, education on communication and conflict resolution.

As a Resident Assistant he lives alongside the youth who come into the house and functions as relational support and as an accountability and lay counselor. He has also spent the last few years working with various youth groups and guest speaking and teaching at churches across the nation.

Travis is currently working with his congregation to move siblings of faith from seats to streets by creating awareness of the various ministries already present in the city and helping to make the connections people need in order to begin participating in the ministries that fit their gifts and break their hearts.

He graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Pastoral Ministries in 2007 from Mid-America Christian University in Oklahoma City, OK. During his senior year of studies he became convinced of the call of non-violence within the Gospel and has been studying and writing on the lifestyle ever since.
After graduation he moved to Atlanta, GA to live and work on the streets with the homeless men and women there. He discovered his passion for loving the poor and finding solidarity with those in suffering.

Since then he has worked in various ministries that help those in poverty, prison, drug culture, and rehab.

He recently moved back to Vancouver, WA and he is currently in his final semester for acquiring his Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies at Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, OR.

Travis was raised in his faith in the Church of God movement out of Anderson, IN and he desires to work in congregations to help people understand their identity in Christ as individuals as well as members of the Body of Christ. He would also like to help move people into active and consistent ministries of reconciliation while teaching the ethics and lifestyle of Jesus Christ.

He desires for people to live into the victory and reign of Christ as kingdom of heaven citizens. He wants to see inner-cities transformed through the Church by means of generous hospitality, non-violence, truth speaking, justice seeking, artistic expression, and more.

He would also like to spend some time in Palestine/Israel, if possible, to work for peace.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reality vs. The Nonviolent Dream

by Travis Glenn Blankenship

As a boisterous nonviolent advocate I often receive criticisms from people who disagree with my ideas. Whether I am discussing how I would treat a home intruder, a mugger assaulting an innocent person, a wicked and murderous dictator, or nuclear disarmament I am often told that my head is in the clouds and I am not cognitive of the real world. “That’s just not the way it works” people tell me.

Relevant Magazine writer Tyler Wigg-Stevenson wrote an article concerning the recent activity at the United Nations concerning nuclear disarmament and brought it to a personal level with the Church. In his article he wrote “I’ve gotten used to the predictable attacks: “utopian,” “idealistic,” unrealistic” and worse. Some say that I need to live in the “real world.” But there is a simple response to this: Does God rule over the “real world” that you live in?”

This is a fantastic response to the nay-sayers who say living a peaceful or nonviolent life is impossible or that loving enemies and not bringing harm to the wicked will be of no profit. Well, this response works if the nay-sayers are Christian anyways.

Here’s the deal my Jesus loving friends, all things are possible with G-D. Sure the verse that tells us this is in reference to salvation for the rich but it remains true in this context. There can be salvation/deliverance/redemption for anyone with G-D. And if you won’t buy that one then let me say that G-D “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

If we seek to love enemies and see this violent world transformed into a peaceful one then our greatest resource is prayer. James 5:17 tells us that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” This portion of scripture goes on to tell about Elijah and how his prayers came to pass and he was a man just like us. Our Messiah even told us that if we tell mountains to be thrown into the sea (Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:23) it will happen because whatever we ask for will be given to us (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9, John 15:7, 16:23-24).

But why all this prayer? Why is it effective? Certainly it is not because of whom we are or our achievements but because the one we pray to and who intercedes for us has defeated both sin and death (1Corinthians 15:55-57) and he has also made a spectacle of all powers and authorities (Colossians 2:15).

Because the earth and its elements obey our G-D (Luke 8:25), and because both good and evil men may be used for his purposes (Judges 2:16, 1Kings 11:14) our prayers may come to pass (otherwise why say “amen”). Because there are promises for protection (Psalm 12:5, 37:28, 41:2, 91:14, Jeremiah 49:11, 2Thesselonians 3:3) and accounts of our L-RD protecting and delivering those who are faithful (1Samuel20:23, Joshua 24:17, Ezra 8:31, Psalm 116:6, John 17:12) we can believe in living faithful lives that embrace enemy-loving nonviolence.

If G-D can create a universe with his voice alone (Genesis 1:3), heal the sick (Matthew 4:23), stop time (Joshua 10:12-13), cleanse the sinful (Ezekiel 37:23), blind men (2Kings 6:18), speak through animals (Numbers 22:28), drive out demons (Mark 16:9), harden hearts (Exodus 9:12), divide mankind through creating new languages (Genesis 11:1-9), bring water out of rocks (Numbers 20:1-11), provide bread and quail from heaven (Exodus 16:1-35), raise the dead (John 11:43-44), protect and deliver his people through the trials of fiery furnaces (Daniel 3), wars (Joshua 24:11-12), storms (Matthew 8:23-26), pits of lions (Daniel 6) slavery (Exodus 20:2, Joshua 24:6-7), a world-wide flood (Genesis 8:1), stonings (John 8:3-11), and genocide (Esther) then why would he not also be capable of such medial tasks as jamming an enemies gun or something similar?

If his power is in the Church (Matthew 28:20b) then why do we see peaceful living and loving enemies as unrealistic?

Often people say it is not because of a lack of faith in G-D but in humanity. It is not because G-d is incapable of empowering and protected his faithful few (Proverbs 2:7) but because humanity is fallen, and often unwilling to submit to righteous living. After all, Satan has dominion in this world (Matthew 4:8). This is a valid point. The only flaw in this argument is that we all know G-D is more than able to overcome evil for us (Psalm 44:7, 60:12, 108:13) and that he stands over and drives out Satan (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11). If this were not true he would not command us to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). We know there is victory in our G-D because it has been shown in Christ Jesus all ready (Romans 16:20). The minions of evil shudder before the L-RD (James 2:9) and plead with him for mercy (Matthew 8:31) because He is greater than the one who is in the world (1John 4:4). This is why we do not fear what others fear (1Peter 3:14); we have a hope in a victory that is all ready present (Luke 10:18-19, Colossians 2:15). We are fearless while faithful.

If there is a righteous and biblical reason for one following Jesus not to embrace a nonviolent lifestyle I would like to know it. I’ve yet to find one but have found every possible reason to believe faith is enough if it is faith in the one true G-D.

Does this mean we will pray “L-RD, may there be world peace tomorrow. May all war end and all people come to love one another” and it will happen? Not necessarily. After all, one has to consider free will and the factors of temptation and sin. Not all submit to G-D and there is no reason for me to think G-D plans on hitting an “It’s all good” button. That button is more likely going to look like the second coming of Christ Jesus.

Until then, the Church is to live in the reality of the kingdom of G-D and the reality of the kingdom of G-D is that G-D reigns supreme and his love abounds. The reality is that the kingdom came to earth in Christ and is continued in the Church and will be fulfilled someday and all mourning will cease (Revelation 21:4). The reality is that G-D can do more than we imagine and if we pray “your kingdom come, your will be done” and are obedient to him then it will come to pass right where we are at. It may end in our death but history has shown that the Church thrives under such conditions (people being killed for following the Way of Jesus) and scripture tells us this is not worth fearing (1Peter 3:16-18).

The reality is that the L-RD our G-D is with us and able to save. The reality is Jesus Christ reigns.

**
This article originally appeared here:
http://thegreatbout.xanga.com/713004505/reality-vs-the-nonviolent-dream/

Monday, January 16, 2012

What Now?


Our first Pacifist Fight Club is complete. Many of those I spoke to on Saturday told me that they were in the minority in their family, or their church when it came to following Jesus into non-violence, or compassion for the poor, or embracing the immigrant. This alone made our time together valuable.

The very act of coming together as followers of Christ to affirm the words of Jesus and His impact on our lives was a statement in itself.

It wasn't a book, or a political idea that brought us together - it was Jesus. He is the One who compels us to follow Him into this path of radical compassion and love for enemies. Jesus is the reason we endure the ridicule of our own brothers and sisters in Christ for standing our ground on issues of peace. Jesus is the One who calls out to us to keep our feet on this path of non-violence no matter who opposes us, or what the cost.

Make no mistake, this is not an easy path to walk. We struggle not only against those who mock us from the outside, but from our own internal voice of reason. It would be so much easier to stop and rest. It would be much more comfortable for us if we were to give up on these ideas of peace and mercy and justice. But we also know that to do so - to let go of these ideals - is also to release our grip on Jesus, and none of us is willing to pay that kind of price for comfort.

By the grace of God, we will continue to fight for justice without resorting to violence. We will continue to wrestle with these difficult notions of radical love and Kingdom values like mercy, forgiveness, turning the other cheek, and loving our enemies - both personal and political.

Our struggle is not only against the popular culture, or even the current Christian subculture, but against our own apathy and indifference. Only Jesus can rescue us from ourselves. So, we cling tighter to Him and we pray that He would mold us into His image. We ask that Jesus would give us a heart like His own. We pray that Jesus would work the miracle in us that would transform us into His image, so that we can be His ambassadors of the Kingdom and proclaim His message of peace, hope, love, mercy, and redemption.

What happens now? We keep fighting. We keep praying. We keep following.

Pacifist Fight Club never stops. It just changes locations.

Peace,
Keith

Saturday, January 14, 2012

IT'S ON!

If you're reading this the first Pacifist Fight Club is underway.

Follow live Tweets of the event using the hashtag #PacifistFightClub and we'll post follow-up info and details soon.

Peace,
Keith


Friday, January 13, 2012

COMING CLEAN

From the outside looking in, you might assume that I have no trouble embracing non-violence as an ideal. Especially since I’m the one who’s throwing together this day long conversation about pacifism, poverty and immigration called the Pacifist Fight Club. But the truth is there’s nothing ‘easy’ about following Jesus in these areas. Or any area for that matter.

Jesus warned us that we should count the cost before putting our hands to the plow – or before taking up our cross daily to follow Him. Why? Because he knew it was going to be anything but ‘easy’ for us.

Can I be perfectly honest with you? I struggle personally with several aspects of the non-violence argument. Not that I disagree with it, but that I wrestle with the full implications of the idea on myself and the world around me.

For example, I’m not sure I believe that a non-violent response to the Holocaust of the Jews would have ended the reign of Hitler. Perhaps it would have, perhaps not. In some ways we’ll never know because it wasn’t attempted. History reveals another solution to the problem that runs counter to the idea of non-violence, so we can only speculate. But, honestly I’m not sure how, or if, a non-violent approach may have worked.

I follow Jesus. This is why I embrace the ideas of loving my enemies and turning the other cheek. Without Jesus I would not hold such convictions, but because I love Jesus and I have made a conscious decision to make Him my Lord, I must obey Him in this area and contend for peace whenever possible.

But, if I’m honest, I’m a very violent person. By that I mean that I was raised on television and movies that glorified violence. I read books – and even wrote my own stories – that used the idea of violence as an effective tool to defeat evil. It’s in my blood in ways I cannot even communicate, or fathom completely.

So, I have an internal struggle within myself as someone who believes in the ideals that Jesus communicated, and is trying to live out that Kingdom principle, but is also aware of inconsistencies in his own heart and life.

For example, I recently read a collection of selected writings from Gandhi on the topic of non-violence. Granted, Gandhi is not a Christian, per se, but he was greatly influenced by the Sermon on the Mount (and read it every day). In one chapter, Gandhi made a bold claim that anyone who desired to follow the path of non-violence must become non-violent in every part of his life. In other words, it is hypocrisy to contend for non-violence as an ideal and still practice violence – or take pleasure from violence – in one’s personal life. Or, to put it another way, the condition of our heart must align with our rhetoric before we can honestly speak about non-violence with any sort of integrity.

This idea cut me to the heart. Because I know that I still find violence entertaining. Whether in a film, or a book, or a video game, violence is still tolerated – even celebrated – in my private life.

Then I ran across this quote from an early Christian writer who said, “But we, deeming that to see a man put to death is much the same as killing him, have abjured such spectacles. How, then, when we do not even watch, lest we should contract guilt and pollution, can we put people to death?” - Athenagoras, A.D. 177

Granted, this brother is speaking of watching the actual death of another person, not a dramatic or simulated death. But notice that he says, “…to see a man put to death is much the same as killing him” and “we do not even watch lest we contract guilt and pollution”.

This idea of our imaginations corrupting our hearts is similar to what Jesus says about lust being equal to adultery, or anger being equal to murder. These desires of our heart are revealed as we imagine the sin, and to regard the sin in our heart is the same as committing the sin itself.

So, even though I firmly stand on the side of non-violence for the sake of following Christ, I must confess to everyone that I have not yet arrived at the place where my entire being is fully surrendered to Christ in the way it should be. I am still praying for Him to wash me clean and to turn my whole heart into one that – like His heart – is free from a desire to do harm, or to see others come to harm.

This isn’t the only area where I struggle. I also don’t know how I feel about allowing others to come to harm in the name of non-violence. I don’t know where to draw the line between helping the poor and enabling their sin. I don’t know how to love homosexuals as Jesus does without seeming to approve of their lifestyle. I don’t know how we can help people who are living here illegally without breaking the laws of the land.

Frankly, there are a lot of things I do not know. That’s a given. But these questions are part of why we’re coming together this Saturday (tomorrow) for Pacifist Fight Club. To ask these questions, and to engage in meaningful dialog, and to challenge our assumptions, and hopefully to draw closer to the heart of Jesus so that He might soften us and change us and reveal to us more about who He has called us to be as disciples.

I hope you’ll join us and please bring your own questions with you. I have learned that sometimes well-formed questions are more useful to us than well-formed answers.

Peace,
Keith Giles