Breaking the Cycle

“The gospel says that the cycle of violence, in which each new act of vengeance elicits a new act of vengeance in return, has been broken in the cross. Jesus absorbed all the violence and hatred the world could hurl at him and bore it without retaliation or bitterness. He died forgiving those who tortured him. To bear witness to Jesus, the church proclaims the end of the cycle of violence through forgiving love and it does so in word and deed. This is why the church must be pacifist. Logically there is no other way for it to fulfill it mission of bearing witness to the cross and resurrection …”

Craig A Carter – The Politics of the Cross

8 thoughts on “Breaking the Cycle”

  1. To be honest, I think there are many reasons to be found in the Scriptures of the Bible to indicate why the Messiah came. “Messiah”(i.e. Liberating King) is one of the titles ascribed to the Jesus to whom we are here referring.
    Violence is one of the sins that he dealt with during his life on earth. One avenue through which the outworking of “non-violence” can be seen to operate, is in the practical lives of his followers. In as far as their praxis violates body, soul and spirit of other human beings (and perhaps even other living things)is the gap that separates them from Jesus, his life and teachings.
    I am saying that not all Jesus’ followers embrace his teaching and example as far as the non-practise of violence is concerned. Sometimes, it’s an indictment that people from other faiths, or people not ascribing to any particular faith, are better examples of peace-makers than those who profess to be disciples of Jesus Christ.

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  2. What a fascinating and thought-provoking passage. Several of my fellow children’s ministers and friends have mentioned enjoying reading ‘The Politics of the Cross’, and after coming across this blog post, I think it’s about time that I go out and buy a copy. Thank you for sharing this passage—it definitely gave me something to think about.

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  3. But meanwhile in the real world as dramatized on to the world stage, Christian-ISM became the world dominant religion through the imperative of Constantine’s Sword.
    Such was inevitably the case the very moment that the early church was co-opted by the Roman State.
    Ever heard of the “holy” Roman empire!
    A “holy” empire is of course the ultimate oxymoron.
    Empires are ALWAYS created and sustained by massive force, and thus mountains of human corpses.
    And thus became an integral (and key) player in the Western drive to gain total power and control over everyone and everything.
    Meanwhile Jesus taught and demonstrated to his direct disciples, how to love God with all of ones strength of being, and thus on that basis to practice self-transcending love in all relations, and under all circumstances.
    After 1700 years of applied brutality and thus mountains of corpses and thus the accumulation of hell-deep karmas, both individually and collectively you dont really propose that everything is going be spontaneously hunky-dory – as if by magic.
    Remembering that the law of karma is essentially immutable. We always reap what we sow.
    Which is to say that both individuals and collectives always get their karmic paybacks of “just deserts”. Sooner or later and in one way or another.
    This is one of the major reasons why our current world-politics is so dreadful, and potentially fatally catastrophic for Earth-kind altogether.
    Various individuals and collectives are now playing out or dramatizing their karmas all over the planet.
    It used to be done with swords. Now it is being done with weapons of enormous destructive power, and quite possibly in the near future with nuclear weapons.

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  4. I agree with some of your comments, John. There has been a lot of brutality in the dark past of the institutionlised “Christian-ISMic” Church. All the more reason for non-Christian-ISMic followers of Jesus to take his life and teachings more seriously and live their lives co-operating with God’s will and ways! We may be able to avoid global holocaust that way because the Scriptures mention the new heavens and new earth that God is making in our midst.
    Where does the power of FORGIVENESS figure in the Karmic payback scheme of things?

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  5. John, you should be aware that “The Politics of the Cross” from which this quote comes, hails from a tradition that is counter-Constantinian and from Christians who have suffered much persecution for their anti-sword stance. This path has been and continues to be lived out in the “real world”. It’s not pie in the sky, it is the lived experience of many disciples in the world. That other Christians live differently, and would even persecute Christians of this type, does not make their commitment, lifstyle or experience any less real.

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