Most futuristic readings of the Book of Revelation base their “hope” on the destructive intervention of God in clearly predicted future events of judgment and punishment–events that born-again Christians will be raptured away from before they happen. In the sermon linked below (part of an on-going series), I critique that view and suggest a different basis for Christian hope.
Jesus’ first coming reveals all we need to know about God and God’s involvement with human beings. Our hope is based on the life-fullness of following Jesus’ path of persevering love in all of life, even unto death.
Sermon #3: “Power in Weakness”
It is more than a perverse attraction to warfare that makes pacifism unpopular in our contemporary world. The ways we are socialized to see the world themselves mitigate against pacifism. So we need to consider what aspects of the modern worldview in western culture underwrite violence. This is the focus of my essay, “A Pacifist Critique of the Modern Worldview,” which is part of my book in process, Pacifism with Justice: The Biblical and Theological Case.
Drawing on writers such as James C. Scott, David Abrams, Richard Tarnas, and Albert Borgmann, I critique this “modern worldview” for its seeing the universe as impersonal, its emphasis on dominating nature, and its rationalism–all factors that actually tend to underwrite violence.
Christian theology is both part of the problem and part of the solution with regard to violence against children. My essay, “The Theological Roots of Violence Against Children,” which is part of my book in progress, Pacifism with Justice: The Biblical and Theological Case, addresses this tension.
I suggest that a problematic “logic of retribution” characterizes the theology of evangelical writers such as James Dobson and Millard Erickson. This logic underwrites harsh practices of child discipline that actually teach children to be violent. Drawing on the work of Alice Miller and others, I argue for more peace-oriented approaches to relating to children that are ultimately grounded in biblical theology.
The peace epistemology of John Howard Yoder is the focus of the concluding essay in my book-in-progress, Pacifism With Justice: The Biblical and Theological Case. The essay, “Pacifism and Knowing: John Howard Yoder’s Epistemology,” argues that Yoder serves as a model for an approach to pacifism that understands this core conviction to shape the very way one views the world.
Seeing pacifism as a way of knowing shapes Yoder’s understanding of the gospel of Jesus and the relevance of Jesus’ life and teaching to all of life. Such an approach challenges Christianity to its core, suggesting that its core message is indeed a message of pacifism (which I define as the conviction that no value or commitment takes priority over the values of love, compassion, and caring for each human being).
I produce a radio program that airs every Saturday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm on WEMC, 91.7FM in Harrisonburg, VA. This show features music at the intersection of country, folk, rock and roll, blues, and gospel.
Most Saturdays I follow a general theme; though sometimes I just play random great music. Some of my themes have been sad songs, love songs, songs about California, anti-war songs, songs about vehicles, and songs written by my favorites song-writers such as Tom Waits, Kris Kristofferson, Richard Thompson, and Leonard Cohen.
Each week I plan to write a short blog discussing the show and linking to a view of the featured albums.
The shows streams on-line and may be heard every Saturday at 3pm Eastern time here. Playlists may be viewed here.