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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Boss, Violence, and why Jesus matters

The Boss turns 65 today. That's pretty funny when you think about it.  Happy Birthday Mr. Springsteen. Here's my favorite song of his.

But in more important news, our country has pretty much abandoned any coherent discussion about violence. We rightly get disturbed if women or children have violence inflicted upon them by professional football players, but we are more than willing to accept violence inflicted upon "terrorists" by the United Nations. Clearly we accept violence as a solution to problems. We just pick and choose which problems we can solve by violence. Unruly children? No. Unruly terror cells? Yes. Wives and husbands who cannot communicate? No. Countries that cannot communicate? Yes. Corporately we are way more willing to accept violence as a solution than in our personal, individual lives.

This is what makes Jesus of Nazareth so important when it comes to the issue of violence. He knew it existed, and he also seems to have guessed that he was going to meet a violent end. But he did not respond to violence with violence. He responded with love. And this "love" is different than just mere acceptance of victimhood...he actually tried to make the violent accusers better, maybe so they wouldn't have to use violence? Instead of bombing "terrorists" who do violent things (like beheading journalists), what have we done to help them stop being violent? What if it takes 20 years to curb someone from resorting to violence? Could we last 20 years in order to help them?

I am a violent person. I like football because it doesn't shy away violence. I like Game of Thrones because it understands violence. I like Bruce Springsteen's music for the violent way in which he and his band drive a song. (Alternatively, there is a beauty to a pro football sideline catch; or a joke by Tyrion Lannister, or a ballad by Springsteen. There is way more complexity to sport and art than just winning or losing or liking or disliking something.) But violence is always a symptom, never a solution. That's why Jesus often eschewed violence, he was looking for solutions...

What he found, ironically amidst the most violent of deaths, was love. A love for his fellow criminals, his mom, his friends (at least the few still lingering nearby), a love even for this accusers. He was hoping that by showing love he could stop the cycle of violence that was his demise. Apparently, 2000 years later, he still hopes...and so do I.

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

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