This week I was scheduled to post on violence.  It was a return to a subject that we had a wonderful and passionate conversation around. You can read the initial post here and the follow up conversation here.

I had looked into several schools of thought and several authors in order to pull off what I had hoped to do this week.  Unfortunately, my schedule and juggling part-time jobs and getting ready to help stage a conference in Phoenix next week means that I just don’t have time to do a wholly fictitious experiment like I was going to.

My plan was to attempt to put forward a plausible theory of violence. I was literally going to do this in an effort to provide a way out of this “Just War” vs. “Pacifist” dichotomy that I have come to see as a double red herring – a dualistic distraction to the real conversation about real situations in the real world.

This was going to be a real challenge for me since I myself believe that violence begets more violence and that war makes more terrorists. But I understand that many who read this blog wants to hold out some clause for emancipatory permission for violence under some circumstances. 

The best I can do this week is to simply state in bullet points what I believe after looking into this since our last conversation about it.  Then I will point you toward to some resources that I thought were really helpful. 

I said that I would attempt to articulate a coherent potential/possible permission for justified violence. My circumstances conspired against that happening… so here are just some bulleted thoughts:

  • Jesus tipping over tables is not permission for just war. 
  • While we are on the subject, those who say they believe in “just war” often mean that they just go to war or that they go to war and then justify it. 
  • There are at least 19 types of Pacifism and some integrate Police force or National boarder issues as wholly permissible. (see the 1st book listed below)
  • IF you are going to be violent as a Christian individual… it would be important to use your strength for the weak, your youth for the elderly and your power for those who are marginalized.  If you are only using your strength for you and those who benefit you, then we are talking about a different type of violence. 
  • My concern would be that any violence had better be done for the right purpose, for the right people and in the right direction.

Here are five places you may want to look for different perspectives:

Faith and Force by Clough and Stiltner – tour-de-force of Pacifism and War

Violence by Slavoj Ziziak  – by the Serbian prophet of post-modernity

The Fall to Violence by Marjorie Suchoki – by the legendary process theologian

Unyoung Uncolored Unpoor by Colin Morris – arguing that Christians must fight for what is right

Video Documentary: Why We Fight (you can get this DVD through your library)

May the God grace and the Prince of peace be blessed by our lives lived in love!