I am always impressed at both the hostility of so many pastors and how they seem to prefer "the canon" of scripture over the teachings of Jesus and cannot reconcile his "turn the other cheek" philosophy to "an eye for an eye" - kill the unbelievers; which apparently to them is ok because unbelievers are to them somehow, "antichrist".
These pastors actually think that Jesus' message is just wrong (and say so) - but they claim to be "Jesus Christians" and teachers of Jesus' message!
Obviously that bothers me.
It's just amazing to me how the Old Testament idea of Dominionism is so popular, meaning that Christians (so called) should make all their ideas legally binding on everyone else and kick out (or worse) of the country anyone who won't accept their version of Jesus. (the hater-Jesus, that is)
It turns out (not surprisingly) that all the "carry a sword" talk in the NT did not originate with, nor was spoken by Jesus, but added later by people with a somewhat different agenda.
But I did appreciate a portion of a comment by one pastor that I wanted to pass on.
"This is easy for me to say when foreign troops aren't mounted against me as they are for you and your people.
So the passages I'm passing on to you are from Christians who faced the real threat of violence, beginning with Martin Luther King who in a sermon entitled 'Loving your enemies" said:
'To our most bitter opponents we say: “We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory."
"When Jesus disarmed Peter, he disarmed every Christian." Tertullian
"I've been thinking about A.J. Muste, who during the Vietnam War stood in front of the White House night after night with a candle. One rainy night a reporter asked him, "Mr. Muste, do you really think you are going to change the policies of this country by standing out here alone at night with a candle?"
"Oh," Muste replied, "I don't do it to change the country, I do it so the country won't change me." taken from Anne Lamott's 'Plan B - Further Thoughts on Faith'
"People are unreasonable, illogical, self-centred
... love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives
... do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies
... be successful anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow
... do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable
... be honest and frank anyway.
People love underdogs but follow only top dogs
... follow some underdog anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight
... build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you try to help
... help people anyway.
If you give the world the best you have, you may get kicked in the teeth
... but give the best you have
- A poem Mother Theresa hung in the Calcutta orphanage "
Jesus promoted a pretty radical philosophy that asks people to go against nature - and while it is very hard for people to carry that cross, so to speak (I'm not a cross guy) there have been some good examples of people who appear to have taken that seriously.
Weirdly, they are often so busy serving others most basic needs, that they have no time to preach - and the others, the preachers - have all kinds of time to find all the scriptural ammunition they need to promote hate, fear, greed and murder.
Jesus set a high, perhaps impossibly high bar for us to aspire to and it seems to me that he would be much more comfortable in the company of Buddha, Lao Tsu, etc. than with (practically any) "Christians", who for the most part just want to love their enemies - dead.
I can understand how easy it is to just wish everyone who frustrates you would just get dead (in a hurry) - and that is the natural way; the idea of rising above animal instinct still being purely individual and experimental.
We may aspire to be "good" but should likely never think that we have actually arrived there.
If we are of the people who claim to believe Jesus, we might consider his claim (Mark 10:18), And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
He still encouraged the rest of us (along with him) to try. (If that appeals to us)