links: this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceChildren, toy guns & violence: Children Steamroll Weapons in Iraq

“… hundreds of toy weapons collected by children in Iraq.  With the help of some big people, the kids drove a steam roller over the pile weapons smashing them to oblivion.”

Christian martyrdom & persecution: The War on Christians [essential reading]

“The global persecution of churchgoers is the unreported catastrophe of our time.”

Forgiveness & murder: Forgiving (and Loving!) Your Only Son’s Killer

“Mary Johnson’s only son, 20 year old Laramiun Byrd, was murdered during a fight at a party by 16 year old Oshea Israel. Mary visited Oshea in prison and they experienced a miracle of forgiveness and healing that is evidence of divine grace.”

Pacifism & Revelation: * Greg’s Response to Driscoll’s “Is God a Pacifist” (parts 1, 2 & 3) [required reading]; * If Jesus is a Pansy, I Want to Be One, Too – Reflections on Christlikeness

* “I’m sure many of you have read Mark Driscoll’s recent blog titled “Is God a Pacifist?” in which he argues against Christian pacifism. I’ve decided to address this in a series of three posts, not because I think Driscoll’s arguments are particularly noteworthy, but because it provides me with an opportunity to make a case against what I’ve come to see is probably the most common way that Christians try to get around the pacifist implications of Jesus’ (and the rest of the NT’s) teachings on loving enemies. It centers on the allegedly violent Jesus of the book of Revelation.”

* “… when we think of Jesus, we have a choice to make if we are truly committing our lives to follow him. Either he taught nonviolent resistance or he did not.”

links: this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

Capital punishment, death penalty & executions: * The 2% Death Penalty: How a Minority of Counties Produce Most Death Cases at Enormous Costs to All; * APNewsBreak: Texas Reveals Execution Drug’s Origin

* “Contrary to the assumption that the death penalty is widely practiced across the country, it is actually the domain of a small percentage of U.S. counties in a handful of states. The burdens created by this narrow but aggressive use, however, are shifted to the majority of counties that almost never use it.”

* “The nation’s most active death-penalty state has turned to a compounding pharmacy to replace its expired execution drugs, according to documents released Wednesday, weeks after Texas prison officials declined to say how they obtained the drugs amid a nationwide shortage. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, responding to a Freedom of Information request from The Associated Press, released documents showing the purchase of eight vials of the drug pentobarbital last month from a compounding pharmacy in suburban Houston. Such pharmacies custom-make drugs but aren’t subject to federal scrutiny.”

Children, gun control & statistics: Children and Guns: The Hidden Toll

“… accidental shootings occurred roughly twice as often as the records indicate, because of idiosyncrasies in how such deaths are classified by the authorities … scores of accidental killings are not reflected in the official statistics that have framed the debate over how to protect children from guns.”

Christian faith, nonviolence & pacifism: Interview with Preston Sprinkle on His Book “Fight”

“I don’t think the New Testament ever encourages Christian to celebrate the death penalty, nor does it allow Christians to kill in self-defense.”

Forgiveness & murder: Daughter: Pastor Would Tell Killer Come to Church

“The daughter of a southwest Louisiana pastor who was killed at a revival service says that if her father could talk to his killer, he’d say, ‘I forgive you and I love you.’”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

Christian martyrdom & persecution: Counting the Cost (Accurately)

“The number 100,000 is a well-meant but gross exaggeration …”

Duncan, OK & murder [my hometown]: * Police: Australian Baseball Player Killed by Oklahoma Teens — Just Because; * Fund for Slain Australian Player Tops $100,00; * The Fear Upon Us

* “Christopher Lane, who was from Australia, was gunned down in Duncan, Oklahoma, while he was out jogging last week. The motive? Three teens who had nothing better to do, according to police.”

* “… Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, where Lane’s girlfriend is a student.”

* “The real issue is that these young men, just like all of us, are the direct result of a broken world. They are broken just like I am. My brokenness manifests itself in other, less formidable ways, but it’s the same brokenness. And it’s not just here in Duncan, Oklahoma. It’s everywhere. That’s why God sent His Son to die in our place. He loved us to much to leave us broken and hopeless in a world that is decaying before our eyes.”

Jesus, Nazareth & war: Nazareth—Jesus’ Hometown with a View to the Past and the Future

“From this one location, many battles have marked the pages of Scripture.”

Loving your enemy & non-violence: Love Your Enemies

“Turn the other cheek. Ok, I’ll try it, but I’m keeping my gun close in case you try anything. … Jesus takes this a step further. He does not want us to respond with violence at all.”

Non-violent response: * Antoinette Tuff Hailed as ‘True Hero’ for Handling Georgia School Gunman [essential reading];* School Clerk In Georgia Persuaded Gunman To Lay Down Weapons [essential reading]; * CNN Exclusive: A Hug, Then ‘We made it!’ as School Bookkeeper, Dispatcher Reunite [essential reading]

* “A man slips behind someone else into a packed elementary school with an AK-47-type weapon. He goes into the office and shoots at the ground, then darts between there and outside to fire at approaching police.

“So what do you do?

“If you’re Antoinette Tuff, who works in the front office at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy just outside Atlanta, you don’t run. You talk. You divulge your personal struggles to the gunman, you tell him you love him, you even proactively offer to walk outside with him to surrender so police won’t shoot.

“And then the nightmare ends with the suspect, later identified as Michael Brandon Hill, taken into custody and no one inside or outside the Decatur school even hurt, despite the gunfire. …

“That day, for everyone at that school, everything did turn out OK. Shots were fired, but no one got hurt. The gunman never made it to the classroom area, deciding instead to give up and lay down.”

* “‘I just started praying for him,’ Antoinette Tuff . ‘I just started talking to him … and let him know what was going on with me and that it would be OK. And then [I] let him know that he could just give himself up. … I told him to put [the guns] on the table, empty his pockets. He had me actually get on the intercom and tell everybody he was sorry, too. But I told them, ‘He was sorry, but do not come out of their rooms.’ … I give it all to God, I’m not the hero. I was terrified.’”

* “God has a way of showing you what’s really in you.”

links: this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceCapital punishment & the death penalty: * The Heresy of Capital Punishment [required reading];  Some Responses to Critics Regarding Capital Punishment

* “”It is my considered opinion that belief that capital punishment, at least as it is known and practiced in the U.S. today, is a heresy when espoused by Christians. It manifests an embrace of the myth of redemptive violence by humans and flies in the face of the ethic of Jesus which forbids violent retribution. It is absolutely, incontrovertibly contrary to love. And it is, as practiced in the U.S. today, manifestly unjust.”

* “… if we’re going to appeal to the authority of the God of the Old Testament to support capital punishment, then … to those of you who use Romans 13 to argue that Christians should support capital punishment: Do you then … And, to those of you who demand proof texts before I oppose capital punishment (or call it a heresy): What do you say about … to those of you who refer to the OT’s commands to execute certain people: Do you then … And, finally, to those who like to think of Jesus as a warrior …”

Gun control: How Could We Blow This One?

“More Americans die of falling televisions and other appliances than from terrorism. Twice as many Americans die of bee or wasp stings annually. And 15 times as many die by falling off ladders.

“Most striking, more than 30,000 people die annually from firearms injuries, including suicides, murders and accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. American children are 13 times as likely to be killed by guns as in other industrialized countries.

“Doesn’t it seem odd that we’re willing to spend trillions of dollars, and intercept metadata from just about every phone call in the country, to deal with a threat that, for now, kills but a few Americans annually — while we’re too paralyzed to introduce a rudimentary step like universal background checks to reduce gun violence that kills tens of thousands?”

Military & special forces: The Future of U.S. Special Operations Forces

“U.S. special operations forces are doing more things in more places than ever before. They are now active in some seventy countries and, since 2001, have seen their combined budget nearly quintuple—a trend that seems likely to continue.”

Non-violence & pacifism: It’s Easy to be Pacifist in Indiana. Try Gaza! [essential reading]

“If the early church was pacifist, or close to it, would that impact your views for today?”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceBackground checks, gun control, & legislation: President Obama: We Have Not Forgotten What Happened in Newtown

“Right now, 90 percent of Americans — 90 percent — support background checks that will keep criminals and people who have been found to be a danger to themselves or others from buying a gun. More than 80 percent of Republicans agree. More than 80 percent of gun owners agree.”

Churches of Christ, military service, pacifism, Restoration Movement & war: Alexander Campbell, Tolbert Fanning, David Lipscomb: A Nineteenth-Century Anti-War Triumvirate [required reading]

“Alexander Campbell, Tolbert Fanning, and David Lipscomb had three things in common. They all lived during the nineteenth century. They were all ministers in the Church of Christ … And they were all vehemently anti-war. … All wrote well before the horrors of World War I, with Campbell and Fanning writing their anti-war works even before the carnage of the so-called Civil War. … I shall present Campbell’s anti-war views from his famous ‘Address on War’ that was originally delivered in May, 1848, in Wheeling, Virginia, published in the Millennial Harbinger in July the same year … I shall present Fanning’s anti-war views from his March 1847 article in the Christian Review titled simply ‘War.’ … I shall present Lipscomb’s anti-war views from his 1889 book, Civil Government: Its Origin, Mission, and Destiny, and the Christian’s Relation to It, which was originally published as a series of articles in the Gospel Advocate from 1866 to 1867.”

Fear & war: Threats of Annihilation Normal for South Koreans

“Nowhere is there the slightest inkling that anyone in this second largest metropolitan area in the world — is fearful or even anxious about the stream of threats emanating from North Korea.”

Guns & statistics: Children’s Defense Fund: Protect Children, Not Guns The Truth About Guns [essential reading]

“A gun in the home makes the likelihood of homicide three times higher, suicide three to five times higher, and accidental death four times higher. For every time a gun in the home injures or kills in self-defense, there are 11 completed and attempted gun suicides, seven criminal assaults and homicides with a gun, and four unintentional shooting deaths or injuries.”

Holocaust: Explaining the Holocaust to Our Nine Year-Old Daughter

“This is part of the beauty and the tension we experience as an interfaith family. We have two beautiful traditions, with rich spiritual practices, that do much good in the world. At the same time, we share a tragic history, in which the Lutheran theology to which I’ve dedicated my life in ministry was twisted in order to justify killing my wife’s ancestors. I am constantly aware of it, especially when I preach and teach, and at times find it difficult to reconcile.”

Shootings: One Nation Under The Gun: Thousands Of Gun Deaths Since Newtown

“The Huffington Post has tracked gun-related deaths in the United States since Newtown. Click here for an interactive map of those who have died.”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceDrones: White House Defends Drone-War Killing of Americans by Olivier Knox

“These strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise.”

Ex-military experience: * ‘Nightmare’ at Home for SEAL Who Shot Osama bin Laden by Jamie Gumbrecht; * The Shooter by Phil Bronstein

“‘They spent, in the case of the shooter, 16 years doing exactly what they’re trained to do, which is going out on these missions, deployment after deployment, killing people on a regular basis,’ said Bronstein, executive chairman of the Center for Investigative Reporting. ‘They finally get to the point where they don’t want to do that anymore.’”

“‘I remember as I watched him breathe out the last part of air, I thought: Is this the best thing I’ve ever done, or the worst thing I’ve ever done?’”

Faith, gun control, logic & theology: * Toward a Theology of Guns: A Christian’s Perspective by T. Michael Halcomb [eight-part series; required reading]; * Guns and Jesus in America by Rich Little

Links to parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven & eight of Halcomb’s posts.

* “… is living in this type of fear good, healthy, or even responsible? The Christian’s answer to this should, echoing Jesus’ views, be a resounding ‘No!’” (T. Michael Halcomb)

* “It’s difficult to vigorously defend rights to own semi-automatic weapons while simultaneously sending a message of love, hope and peace to the world and expect the world to not see a conflict in this message. … One isn’t considered liberal because they support sensible restrictions on the first amendment, in fact great support for these restrictions has come from the Christian community, so it seems perhaps somewhat dishonest to hear Christians arguing that any restrictions to the second amendment is an ‘attack’ on the second amendment when they have never considered reasonable restrictions to the first amendment an ‘attack.’ However, when we come to the second amendment a different logic and argument is employed by many.” (Rich Little)

Desensitization, entertainment, media & murder: Murder Shows and the Lamp of the Body by Dan Bouchelle

“‘Are you going to watch another one of your murder shows?’ asked my 5th grade daughter as she was trying to decide whether to watch TV with us or go upstairs and read. … hearing my baby describe one of our principle TV genres as ‘murder shows’ hit me between the eyes like a sledgehammer. Do we really feast our eyes on human slaughter for entertainment? Has our family living room turned into the Roman coliseum?”

Pacifism & pacifist: When “Top Gun” Becomes a Pacifist by Kurt Willems [required reading]

“Not only in time of war or combat, but in any other type of aggressive conflict our first and natural reaction to any offender who seeks to harm is to retaliate.  How can I reconcile this with the words of Jesus who tells us to actually turn and offer our other cheek to them? As a soldier I could not do this since I was commanded to retaliate against any kind of aggression. … My weapon is not an M16 or .38. My weapon is not an AR-15 or 9mm. In fact, God tells me that none of my weapons are of this world. So, what am I doing practicing my shooting skills aiming to hit the silhouette of a human target at the gun range? No, as disciples of Christ our weapons are of divine origin, incapacitating our enemies not with bullets, but with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, the Word of God, and prayer.”

The conquest of Canaan, genocide & God: How Could God Command Genocide in the Old Testament? by Justin Taylor

“In the book of Joshua God commands Israel to slaughter the Canaanites in order to occupy the Promised Land. It was a bloody war of total destruction where God used his people to execute his moral judgment against his wicked enemies. In moving toward an answer it will be helpful to think carefully about the building blocks of a Christian worldview related to God’s justice and mercy.”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceAbortion: What if Roe vs. Wade Went Away? by Timothy Archer

“… as society has decided that these lives aren’t worth saving, we need to back up and begin speaking for all lives. If we try to pick and choose, society can ignore us easily. We speak up for the unborn. We speak up for foreigners. We speak up for those who die around the world from hunger, thirst and disease. We speak up for life. We become truly pro-life and not just pro-life on one topic.”

Football: Are NFL Football Hits Getting Harder And More Dangerous?

“One thing is for certain — football players have gotten much bigger and faster. And the laws of physics tell us that the force of a hit depends on three factors: body weight, speed and how quickly the players stop moving.”

Funerals, grief, ministry & murder: Preaching After the Unthinkable by Stuart Briscoe

“… in the aftermath of traumatic violence, what can a preacher say?”

Genocide & Holocaust: International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2013: Victims Mourned At Auschwitz and Beyond

“The United Nations in 2005 designated Jan. 27 as a yearly memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust – 6 million Jews and millions of other victims of Nazi Germany during World War II. The day was chosen because it falls on the anniversary of the liberation in 1945 of Auschwitz, the Nazis’ most notorious death camp and a symbol of the evil inflicted across the continent.”

Gun control: * Gun Control: A Biblical and Theological Case by Matthew L. Kelley; * Of God and Guns by Dan Bouchelle

* “… I believe that the biblical witness and our theological heritage give us reason to support restrictions on firearms such as those currently being debated by the President and Congress. … here is what I believe to be a biblical and theological case for gun control: I have the freedom to do anything, but not everything is helpful.”

* “I wonder why we hear so little reflection on the ubiquitous emphasis throughout the Old Testament regarding not trusting weapons to protect us.”

Human trafficking: Human Trafficking Information by Darrel Bock

“This is not a pleasant subject but the opportunities exist to do something that truly delivers people out of personal hell. There are three types of trafficking: sexual trafficking, labor trafficking (which is often harder to trace), and forced soldering (something very common in Africa).”

Military service & pacifism: From Soldier to Pacifist by Matt Young

“A key Bible verse for me when I enlisted was, John 15:13 . I felt that by laying down my life for my fellow soldiers, or if need be other innocent people around the world, that I would be showing the most possible love for them. …

“The key reason I have become a pacifist, or believer in non-violence… whatever technical term we want to call it, is this. I was confronted with the words of Jesus.”