This is Not Pacifism


JMJ

We heard this AM at Mass the familiar Gospel passage urging us to turn the other cheek and to pray for our enemies. I can’t find full lectionary citations because the page from the USCCB is blank. But it is assuredly not about pacifism. In fact, the whole Christian theory of a “Just War” is predicated on the idea that at times the only way to “bless those who curse you” may be to correct their errors. Rather these verses are about a spiritual war that constantly rages around us; since Eden, in fact.

If the truth of the world is the establishment of the Kingdom of God and the overthrow of the Kingdom of death then certainly those who work against this truth are our enemies. But who is thus working? Most folks don’t even believe this is the truth of the world. They can’t be part of the enemy. Also, humans can’t be the enemy for we are told by Paul that “we wrestle not with flesh and blood.” Furthermore, Christ did not die to save only some: the intent, as Paul says, is to reconcile all things. Who is it that works against this reconciliation? Who is the enemy who accuses and scatters?

Humans, at their core, need this reconciliation. In fact, they sense they need it, they crave it. They object to the methods, they deny the process, but they admit the need. What gets them to reject the truth, to work against even their own desire, to deny the very hope they have rooted in their own breast by virtue of being made in the image of God?

Delusional actions can’t be blamed on the delusional. Those who are most mentally or spiritually ill are exactly the least culpable. For a Christian, as for Jesus Christ, the effort expected to embody and to present love increases to match the depth to which one has been drug away into darkness. Turning the other cheek is not a pacific shoulder shrug of indifference, but rather a long walk past the gates to harrow hell once again. They can never be locked now but humans can be distracted and so kept from walking out. We must show them the way. And even when in delusion they imagine -and name – themselves to be our enemies, it only signifies how much more we must love, pray, and bless to bring them forth.

This is the spiritual warfare of everyday life, the on-going battle to advance the Kingdom. We do not do this in any way by defeating even one human being – for each one is uniquely the image of God. The Kingdom is spread only in liberating each heart – including each his own – from the darkness that has been overthrown yet continues in pockets of colonial oppression.

We bless to drive away the demons, we pray for their defeat. We love to draw men forth, and we do good to show them the love God has for them. This is not pacifism. This is war. This is the only real war there is.

Typology for the Fourth

JMJ

The Readings for Wednesday in the 13th Week of Ordinary Time (B2)

Et vota pinguium vestrorum non respiciam. 
Neither will I regard the vows of your fat beasts. 

Iconoclasm is the breaking of icons. In modern usage it tends to be a good thing: destroying “sacred cows” of the culture in order to progress in a field. But historically, iconoclasm was a retrogressive heresy, an attempt to go back in time to a mythical past for the sake of safety. People destroyed the sacred images in churches. And, since the Church teaches every human is an icon of God, every attack on the image was an attack on the divine archetype. So also today, although we forgot to our peril, attacking the icon of God is attacking God, himself.

Independence day. These are some awesome readings for a random Wednesday in July. I think they are very meaningful. Matthew is unusual in that his version gives us two demoniacs rather than one possessed person. We might see in the parable of the Gadarene Demoniacs a typology for our current situation.

There are two of them, as it were political parties or even candidates. Both parties are terrified of the Son of God and his followers, even though they need our votes. Between the failed social justice motions of one party and the failed moral actions of the other, all the demons have driven all the pigs mad. And the voters all at once charge into the water.

I do not labor under the impression or even the assumption of a “Christian Nation”. We once had a society with a Christian Veneer and that made many of us comfortable, but we have been wearing down that veneer for more than two centuries: and beneath it we were no more Christian than any other nation. We downgraded the Divine Icon of every African Slave in America to get our nation started, we trade off the Divine Icon of children born and unborn now to various political ends and selfish personal empowerment. We daily deny the divine icon of self and others in our consumption of porn, and we celebrate this denial in our horror movies, our news stories, our business choices, and our cheap plastic junk.

We are engaged in wars around the globe, the fruit of 6 presidential administrations. We revere as our honored dead the largest force of colonial oppression the world has ever known, dying for “Our Freedom” to continue in our iconoclasm. We have set up the world to destroy it. We siphon the wealth and resources of entire hemispheres into our yawning maw and crap out identically unique individualities based on the stuff we own instead of the icon within us. What we now call freedom we used to call license. We were once opposed to it. Now we demand it. We pass our political shell games off to others as “liberation” when what we really need is a new factory to produce more sprockets cheaply. The only thing that sets us apart from other powers engaged in the same actions today is July 4th is our holiday, not theirs. Still, Germany, the UK, China, and Russia are all on this train with us.

Calling out the truth from within, I do not put myself above this Leviathan for I help build it, I helped enforce it. My purchases feed it. For a long time I let it emotionally move me. The seeds were planted in 1776. It has taken 240 years to being the fruit to maturity. The pips were gleaned from the fruit our first parents dropped. The tempter was the same.

We get the fat beasts we deserve. We own the demons we curate.

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