The Security System

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[Well, we are home from the hospital after a luxurious nine-day, eight-night stay. We are SO glad to be home. Thank you for your prayers and well-wishes for my little girl – they were much appreciated. The surgeon made a judgment call in sending her home. There are still a couple of concerns, but in his judgment, she is getting better. There is still a chance for further complications, but we should know about that in a couple of weeks. So… more waiting, but at least we’re waiting from home.]

Well, I didn’t finish reading McLaren in the hospital, but I did finish the next section, “The Security System” (chapters 19-22). To be frank, we’ve had the gist of this discussion many times before on the Houseflies/Hippos blog – the “redemptive violence” vs. “creative nonviolent resistance” argument. Every time Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came up in conversation, we’ve had this discussion.

McLaren, however, spends a little more time developing one aspect of the argument that is worth noting. I don’t know how to express it with a nice turn of a phrase, but I can tell you about watching “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” this past Sunday night by my daughter’s hospital bed. The team built a house for a Marine who lost his leg in Iraq. After his miraculous survival, he recovered and returned home to his four children, but after a year, his wife left him with a broken-down house and their four kids. What moved me nearly to tears had to do with the military experience – the band of brothers, the sense of honor and dignity, the willingness to sacrifice self for a cause.

Pacifism seems wimpy and peace is boring, but fighting for something worthwhile requires courage. This is what McLaren discusses that is worthy of attention, this admirable craving satisfied by war. He argues that Jesus must offer an alternative – an outlet, if you will – for this craving.

Today, let me simply share an excerpt from chapter twenty-two, a section where McLaren imagines what Jesus would have to say if he entered the old Housefly/Hippo discussion in regard to violence. And I’d love to hear the reactions from the Hippo readers:

You are right to acknowledge the violent streak in human society. The fact is, human beings have evolved as fighters. But if you do not redirect this primal drive, you will destroy yourselves and your world. So, acknowledging that you are natural fighters, it is time to rethink what kind of fighting you must do. This is why I came; this is what my life and message were about. My message of the kingdom of God is intended to replace the drugs of nationalism, tribalism, partisanship, ethnocentrism, and religious elitism – and the war addiction they support. Instead of resorting to violence for national or other lesser interests, my kingdom invites you to defect from all war making and invest yourselves in peacemaking for God’s global interests and the common good of all God’s creations on the planet.

You need to choose another type of fighting: instead of fighting against each other, you must fight with each other against injustice, for the good of each other. Instead of fighting for dominance or revenge, you must fight for peace and reconciliation. And make no mistake: this form of struggle requires no less courage than war. It requires the willingness, if need be, to stand up to the most powerful forces in the world, vulnerable and without weapons, and tell the truth, to be willing to drink the cup of suffering in the cause of justice. So replace your craving for security with a passionate hunger and thirst for justice, and you will be immune to the temptation to snort the tempting white powder of war, or shoot the mysterious yellow syringe of war, or swallow the sparkling, bubbling, golden champagne of war.

NEXT WEEK: The Prosperity System

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One Response to “The Security System”

  1. urbino Says:

    Honestly? My immediate reaction was, “People get stuff like that published?”

    There are so many things wrong with it, the whole thing just sort of collapses into purple-prose mush. There’s no There there. It takes seriously exactly none of the concepts it deals with.

    Blech.

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