"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Love's Failures

We Christians are love's failures. The word of nonviolent love has been given to us, has been planted in our hearts, but the tree is barren. We must ask once more for mercy and pray that the sap may bring new buds. We must bear witness against violence in all forms, internal and external and our lives must flow with the waters of peace. Internal violence consists not merely of violent thoughts which are repressed, but primarily of violence against the self, a slave-like resignation to the unjust command, the consent to allow one's own violation, which contains a nugget of self-satisfied matyrdom in it. Our Lord does not will that we should suffer violence - he does not justify violence. To consent to our own violation is to fail to love a creature of God - the one he gave us to be. When we delve more deeply into this consent, we find an unwillingness to suffer for God. We play along with the injustice against ourselves because it would entail too much pain to challenge it. Standing up against this injustice does not mean revenge, retaliation, or returning in kind the demeaning order that we received. It means adjusting the balance, restoring order in the relations between us, a balance maintained by respect. The giver of the unjust command sustains the greatest spiritual damage, but our consent makes us participants in that damage, a critical failure to love our enemy. Reclaiming that love is the foundation for resistance to tyranny - we love the tyrant to repair the damage his soul sustained by his injustice. This is the obligation to fight we have received in receiving the mark of Christian.

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