Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Love, Injustice, & the Christian Way

I really struggle with issues like the ones raised in this post by Tim Challies. Things like this I find heartrending, maddening, and convicting all at the same time.

It's heartrending to read how some Christians are called to suffer for Christ's name. I can't - no, I DON'T - want to imagine what she went through.

It's maddening to see the injustice in the world. I am an American, a victim of bullying, and an ISTJ. I therefore do NOT suffer bullies and evil men gladly. My instinct is not to love enemies, but to call down JDAM strikes on them. I have little compassion for Muslims, criminals, and the "rebels" described in the story linked above. Had I been there, I not only would NOT have submitted, I would have died - while trying to take one of the @Q#$!#s with me when I went. Phrases like "Let's roll!", "Ride to ruin and the world's ending!", and "Let justice be done though the heavens fall" resonate deeply with me.

And it's convicting, because I know that's NOT how we are called to react. God calls us to suffer with Him in Christ. I don't like that. But I don't recall God ever asking me about my likes when He set the universe up (ref. Job 38-41). This truth - the theology of love and suffering under the Cross - is the TRUTH.

My life has been one long exposition on Romans 7. All I can say is, if that passage does NOT describe normal Christians, then I ain't one.


Blogger pgepps said...

As myself someone who mis-learned rage as a reaction to bullying, I get your tension, here. There is a great deal to be learned about our being called to join the world in suffering.

And yet, I don't think that joining in Christ's Incarnate suffering with sinners is the same as having Christ's unique atoning mission--I know you know that theologically, but I think it applies in our sense of the "theology of suffering," too.

Like Christ, whose Transfigured glory was hidden throughout His earthly sufferings (i.e., daily life ingloriously lived), we are beings of the New Creation, not this dying one. Yet we are, at God's command, here to live in a dying world among dying men for their sakes, to join in God's longsuffering will that they be His.

Unlike Christ, though, we are not on a "born to die" mission which necessitates placing ourselves in the hands of His enemies. There is something to be said of the judgment that living to help those we have reason to hope for is more valuable than dying at the hands of God's professed and obvious enemies.

Again, "avenge not yourselves" doesn't prescribe passivity, and in fact it doesn't proscribe retaliation on behalf of others, either (else the "sword" would necessarily be an un-Christian function). The same Christ who advised Peter not to "live by the sword" told His disciples "if you don't have a sword, sell your extra coat to buy one" because of the danger in the world.

I have tried to live in the consciousness that "the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God," never reaching up to grasp the heavens myself and call down fire, whether physical or rhetorical, in order to vindicate myself for being angry and seize God's control of the situation for myself. I think the awareness that we are called to join in Christ's Incarnate suffering-with our own and other's sinfulness helps us to resist the temptation to "immanentize the eschaton," including gettin' apocalyptic on that so-and-so's arse.

I do not think it is helpful to become convinced that we have morally failed when we refuse to undergo or allow mere passive, needless suffering that could be avoided.

BTW, I'm thinking out loud in response to the *tone* of your post, and not really thinking of the particular situation (which I'll look at next, haven't yet) you linked to.

Take care,

7:41 PM  
Blogger burttd said...

Funny how things work out. This post came out on BHT today. A pretty cutting (and convicting) analysis of the motivations behind the rage. I think I'll be printing it off for future reference.

12:46 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home