Whew

Its been a long 2 weeks. Real Estate class is finally over though, and I’m ready to get back to a more normal schedule. Hopefully, that schedule will include blogging more often. I seem to have lost some of my readership of late, so I’m gonna work to make this a better blog to bring some of you folks back to the fold.

First order of business: What do you want to see from this blog? Would you like to see a certain series? Would you like me to post more about politics or faith or more about what’s happening in my life?

Second order of business:

I can’t watch war movies anymore. I don’t get the enjoyment out of them that I once did. Whereas I used to watch Saving Private Ryan and get all pumped up about how brave they were and how they were killing the bad people, I now watch the movie and think about how this was NOT what God intended for us and for the world. It breaks my heart to think about the horrible things that my Papaw, and many others Grandfathers went through at 17 and 18 years old.

These guys were kids. Many of them skipped high school graduation to go to boot camp and got dropped off on an island in the Pacific to see their friends blow to pieces. No human being should have to endure that. And they shouldn’t have to shoot a Japanese soldier point blank with a high powered rifle. That environment does something to the psyche. It harms people. My Papaw never spoke of it. I imagine out of shame. If you notice, very few veterens of WWII talk/ed about it. There’s probably a reason for that.

So war movies are pretty much off the list of things I watch for entertainment. So are any movies that glorify violence. I just can’t stomach them anymore. They just make me sad.

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29 responses to “Whew

  1. Hi Justin.
    I encourage you to use this space as an opportunity to reflect on what the Lord is showing you. I’m bothered that you would seek your readers for what to write about on your blog. There seems to be a struggle in blogland to “increase readership” and “track hits,” while the intention of a blog should be to share your thoughts on life. Maybe that is my perspective and you have a different goal in mind.
    Blessings!

  2. Well, I figure if I’m not writing to an audience, then I might as well just be writing in a personal journal.

    I guess a better way to phrase what I was asking is do you have any questions for me about what I believe about x or what my opinion is on y. I’m not going to write opinions based on what its going to do to my readership… I just wanna get to know my readers better and know what they want to know about me.

    That sounds kinda egocentric though. Hmmm.

  3. There are a lot of things God does not like that happen. One of those was a thing called the Nazi party. Another was an evil man named Stalin. I don’t think the Lord liked a man getting into a plane and diving it toward the USS San Francisco in WWII but thank God that my Uncle was there to shoot it down and save the men of that ship.

  4. Roland,

    I don’t believe that Jesus ever condones violence, even in the saving of lives. If we as Christians truely believe in the Resurrection, then we have no reason to fear the stalins or the hitlers. We still would try to overcome them, but not through the violent means with which they overcome people. We should be willing to lay down our lives, but should never be willing to take the lives of others.

    Peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication.

  5. Justin, the old “What would Jesus do” schtik is wearing mighty thin these days. It is impossible to use that in every situation. I also never saw Him condone movies, TV, plays, sports…well, you get what I am saying.

    So, Justin, I guess you are also against the Police, correct? Should we be like the Kitty Genovese murder and just look the other way when someone is getting murdered and raped right outside your door? A murder on the street of New York and a killing in the trenches of France still have the same outcome, a death. Are you for one and not the other?

  6. I’m not saying “what would Jesus do” I’m saying “what did Jesus teach?”

    He clearly showed how Kingdom citizens are to live, and its not the ways of the principalities and powers. He made it clear that we must lose our lives to save them, that we are to follow him to the cross. How can you love your enemies when you are killing them Roland? Jesus loved his enemies so much that he gave himself up to be killed, when if anyone could have created the greatest government and waged the most just wars in the world, it would have been Christ. But that wasn’t the plan. It never was the plan. Its why God didn’t want Israel to have a king. Its why Jesus preached that we are to love people radically, people who want to kill us and our families, love them, just as much as you love your son or daughter or wife. When you do that, there is no way you can kill… and because Jesus conquered death, we have no reason to fear it. The principalities and powers don’t win in the end. The Kingdom of God is breaking into the world, and when we continue on in the ways of the principalities and powers, we are doing Christ a disservice.

    I don’t think it would be outright wrong for a Christian to be a police officer, but I think that it probably creates some conflicts of interest. Romans 13 tells us that the governments will do as they will, and God is over them and uses them for his purposes, but Romans 12 right before it gives us our code of ethics. And there’s nothing in there about serving Governments in their evil.

  7. Justin, my point about the Police was not whether it is wrong or not to be one although you do bring up a good point there. I was pointing out that you must be against the Police then, correct? Why put a stop to rape, murder and mayhem? I mean, if you try to stop it, you might end up killing someone.

    Back to my example of Kitty Genovese…are we then to just turn a blind eye to a woman outside our apartment building who is getting murdered? In order to stop it, you might have to kill the person.

    Jesus never taught that we are to be a doormat and watch family, friends, women and children be beaten, tortured, raped and killed.

  8. Roland,

    First, I’d like to point you to the above commenters blog. He’s done a great series on Christian non violence, answering many of the questions that people have.

    Second, non violence is NOT doing nothing. If I saw someone about to be murdered, as a follower of Christ, I should do something, but violence against the perpetrator is not one of those things. Maybe I simply stand in front of the person he’s trying to kill. Maybe I tell him that I love him and that he doesn’t have to do this. Maybe a combination of things. I think Christ’s example is pretty clear that we should be willing to lay down our lives for people, even if we don’t know them. We are supposed to love all men.

    What if we all followed Jesus’s teaching on violence. What if Christians in Germany had rejected the jingoism that eventually led to the Holocaust? What if, when Jews began to be treated inhumanely, Christians all over the country stood up and offered themselves. What if in massive protest, they refused to do anything work, play, eat, until the Jews were released. Germany was a very “christian” nation at that point in time. THe problem was, their Christianity was inextricably linked to their country. The Nazis army belt buckles said “God with us” on them.

    What if when Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds, Christians the world over traveled to Iraq to stand and die with them? What kind of message would that send about the love of Christ? Probably a good one.

    And to the police, am I against them? No more than I should be considering Romans 13. Would I take a job with the police force, absolutely not. Will I obey the laws of the land? As long as they don’t conflict with my mission in the Kingdom of God. When the government says I can’t give aid to poor illegal immigrants, I will disobey that law. When the government tells me to kill someone, I will disobey that law. Basically, I shouldn’t need the government because I’m following Christ’s law, and in doing so, I should never do anything that harms another person.

  9. Justin, I didn’t see Peter tell Cornelius to stop being a Roman Centurion.

  10. Did Peter tell Cornelius to go to church? To take communion? Etc?

    Does it not matter to you that it is documented by historians that the early church refused service in the Roman Army up until Christianity became the state religion under Constantine?

  11. Jesus taught peace, love, understanding…then went into the temple mad as heck and did some serious shaking up. If we are to use your example of being a doormat when someone is threatening your family by gun point then Jesus never would have did that.

    What you are saying in your above posts is that if a man comes up and tells you he is taking your kids and wife away from you to rape and kill them, because Jesus taught peace and love for our enemies we are just to say “Ok. God loves you. Take them.”.

  12. Roland…

    I don’t think you are reading what I’m saying. I’ve mentioned several times that non violence is not doing nothing. Its just not being violent. There are many availible options besides violence.

    You keep bringing up these ridiculous scenarios that are statisically unlikely to happen to you or me, and ask me what I would do in the certain situation. In truth, I don’t know what I’d do, but I WOULDN’T do nothing. If someone said they wanted to rape my wife and kids, maybe I offer myself for him to rape and kill. Maybe I distract him somehow to give my wife and kids time to run away. Non violence is not the same as pascivism. Pacifism is active non violence. Like what MLK Jr did or what Ghandi did. Pascivism is doing nothing.

    Like I said, you should check out scott freeman’s non violence series. He answers a lot of questions. Basically, though, you’re situation is ridiculous. IF that does happen, violence is not the only way to stop the person. We don’t have an actual situation, so its hard to determine what exactly I might do, but I’ll tell you this; I pray every night that my response to that situation would show Jesus to the attacker. I don’t think there’s any way to show Jesus to someone with violence.

  13. And btw, Jesus didn’t perpetrate violence on any person in the temple. He turned over tables and he used a whip to drive out the animals, but he sure as hell didn’t hit anyone. If you wanna try and read that into the story, you can go ahead, but its intellectually dishonest.

  14. Like it or not, he still was violent in the temple. True, he did not assault anyone but who is to say that no one got hurt by one of those tables which, by all accounts, were not your ordinary run of the mill church table.

    These examples are not ridiculous. The example of the murder of Kitty Genovese is a real life example where she was murdered right out in the street and people did nothing.

    The easiest way to avoid an example is by saying things such as “Oh, that would never happen!”. I also pray it never happens to any of us but truth be told there are news stories every day where these social dregs do horrible things to people. Many times someone must intervene and someone ends up dead. You hear it every day on the news. Truth is stranger then fiction.

    BTW, if you are going to stop watching war movies because that is not what Jesus taught, you might as well just give your TV away then because there is not much on there that he did teach.

  15. So now you’re saying that Jesus did something that caused someone harm. Hmmm. Maybe its just me, but that would pretty much contradict everything Jesus had been teaching if he went into the temple and hurt people, even unintentionally. Like it or not nothing Roland, Jesus didn’t harm any human being, intentionally or unintentionally, in the temple.

    Let’s look at an example from Jesus’s own life. The adulterous woman. What did Jesus do when the men were about to stone her? Did he run in, guns blazing, to save the woman’s life? Nope. He spoke to the crowds, wrote in the dirt, said something profound, and they dropped their stones and went away.

    And if Jesus is cool with violence protecting people, why didn’t he support a violent overthrow of Rome, why did the early Christians never fight back against atrocious persecution, and why did the church for the first 3-4 centuries refuse service in the Roman army? Could it be because they understood Jesus better than we do.

    Since you don’t seem to want to have a reasonable conversation, but rather, point out situations that you’ve created where you’ve determined there are only two choices, sit there and do nothing, or blow a guys brains out, I can’t debate with you. Life is not like that. There are always more options. And if I have to die to be true to what Jesus taught, then so be it. I believe in the Resurrection, therefore I am not afraid of death. On the contrary, you may say you believe in the resurrection, but if you are willing to kill your enemy, you know, the ones Jesus tells you to love, to save your life, I would question your belief in the resurrection.

  16. Hmmm…I don’t recall ever saying that Jesus was “cool” with violence. Perhaps that was a little over the top with the temple thing. Sorry. Sometimes you think 20 things when blogging from work, you know. 🙂

    All I am saying in all this is that Jesus never taught for Christians to be doormats. He did teach caring for your fellow man. There are and have been circumstances where that caring means protecting and that protecting can mean violence. Does that mean that God is happy with that and approve that. I don’t know but I do know that He is the same God of the OT AND the NT. He didn’t change.

    Oh, and Justin, let’s lay off the judgmental attitude there. I don’t question your faith, please don’t question mine. We are having a simple conversation here.

  17. Wow, I feel like I’ve been here before. The example, teachings and life of Jesus point overwhelmingly to overcoming violence with love. The temple scene was not violent. The Greek word for drove out is exballen and is translated everywhere else as sent out.
    What you have is a man who comes in, sees that God is being slighted in the temple. More importantly he sees the trade going on in the court of the gentiles and His heart for the least of these takes hold. He did not lash out in anger but instead took the time to fashion a whip and drive out the livestock.

    The problem with the scenarios is the belief that violence can be “the greatest good.” I don’t believe that can be the case. Violence is a result of a fallen world and will always be. To propose an extreme example must open itself up to all types of contingencies.

  18. Roland- please pay attention to this next sentence.

    NON VIOLENCE DOES NOT MEAN BEING A DOOR MAT.

    I don’t know why you keep thinking that’s what I’m pushing because its absolutely not. Non violence is active, its just not violent. Violence cannot be the answer because it hasn’t been for centuries and centuries. TRue, it may bring temporary “peace” but the only way true peace can come to the world is through Jesus Christ, and following his example is the only way for us to bring that kind of peace. It may not be the most immediate solution, but it is the righteous one.

    I do not see how if I’m supposed to love my enemies, how killing or harming them can be love. That is not how Christ showed his love. He showed his love by humbling himself to death, even death on a cross, when he knew that it wasn’t going to fix things immediately. He could have raised up an army and defeated Rome no problem, and he could have put in place the most perfect government ever, that only waged just wars, but apparently that wasn’t good enough. Apparently, he knew that violence doesn’t change hearts. Love does. Selfless love changes hearts. Sacrificial love changes hearts. So he let himself be crucified and he told us that we must also lay down our lives to find them. I don’t think it was entirely metaphorical.

  19. If you would be willing to step aside and open the door to people who would march in and slaughter millions of people as Hitler and Stalin did and not step in to stop it but only say “Please don’t.”…THAT is being a doormat. End of story.

    What did John the Baptist tell the soldiers when they asked “What about us?”? Funny but I don’t recall him telling them to lay down their swords.

  20. so, I guess Jesus was being a doormat when he told peter that those who live by the sword will die by the sword, or you know, when Jesus didn’t do anything to stop the slaughter that he prophecied would happen to Israel. I mean, if anyone could have done anything about it, it was Jesus. But he just was a doormat and let it happen.

    There are worse things than dying Roland, unless you don’t believe in the Resurrection of the dead.

    And if I were in a situation with Hitler or Stalin, I wouldn’t be a door mat. I would stand up and yell to anyone who would listen that this is wrong and that we should rather give lives than to obey the government that is doing this.

    What if all the Christians in Germany, instead of following the orders of the government, had stood with the Jews and forced Hitler to kill everyone who bore the name of Christ. Would he have done it still? Maybe. But even if he did, those people would be proclaiming Christ in their death, and proclaiming that they love all humanity, not just the kind that look like they do.

    Roland, you obviously don’t want your mind to be changed, so I don’t know if you’re trying to trap me. You aren’t going to trap me, however, because my argument is that of Christ and the early church for 300 years until Constantine corrupted the motivation of Christians.

    Why don’t you pick up a copy of Mere Discipleship, or Myth of A Christian Nation, or maybe The Politics of Jesus, grab a bible, and read about my position, rather than trying to use flawed logic to make me change my mind. I will not change my mind on this. It is crystal clear in the bible what God wanted for us. If you refuse to acknowledge it, I’ll come see you when the Kingdom of Heaven is made complete here on earth and the dead are raised to life.

  21. Thanks for the judgment there Justin. Call me when you turn your TV in and never go see another movie either that is not rated G.

    Spare me your holier than thou attitude as well as I am only trying to engage you in conversation but obviously you would rather just judge and condemn then actually use some critical thinking.

  22. Roland, It hasn’t been a discussion. I’ve asked you several questions that you refuse to answer, which is what really gets me perturbed. If you really want to discuss, please answer these questions.

    How can you love your enemies when you are killing them?

    Why do you think that the first 300 years of christianity, people refused service in the Roman army, as well as let their families be devoured by lions rather than fight for them or denounce the Lordship of Christ?

    What do you think the end of Romans 12 means for Christians, especially in the context of Romans 13 immediately afterword?

    Look, its Christmas, and I would rather not be in a heated debate with someone who won’t answer my questions, but expects me to address every possible evil situation that could come along. That’s not very fair.

    If you would like to answer those questions, I would love to continue to dialogue with you. But until you do, we should just leave it be because my mind isn’t going to be changed, and I’m not quite sure you even want your mind to be changed (because of your refusal to answer my questions) so we’ll just leave it at that.

    Merry Christmas!

  23. BTW, just for the record, I didn’t say that no one should watch war movies anymore. I said I can’t watch them anymore because they make me sad. I’m not judging anyone that does. That is their prerogative. And I don’t have a problem watching movies with morals that conflict with mine, especially if the point is to be realistic. But movies that glorify anything that I view as wrong such as materialism, violence, sex, etc rather than pointing out the bad sides, I don’t want to watch. That doesn’t entertain me.

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