Christian Violence? NO!

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“Since the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and forceful people lay hold of it.”

Matthew 11: 12

What Christian people do not seem to understand when they read their bibles is that once Christ Jesus came, representing the exact disposition of God toward creation, we can no longer look back to the Hebrew scriptures and accept without discernment everything we read there. We must now look at everything through the lens of Christ. Christ Jesus gives us the perspective by which we judge what we read. If what you read does not reflect Christ, let it go.

I recommend starting with the Gospel of Mark, reading the writings of Paul, then Luke, Matthew, and finally John. You can also dive into the other epistles. Get a good understanding of who Christ Jesus is, what qualities he reveals to us about God, and what is expected of those who follow him. You will find no violence in him.

Instead of taking advantage of the people’s desire to turn him into a king, Jesus ran away and hid. He understood that people were looking for a warrior king to lead them against their oppressors. He would have nothing to do with the people’s ambition for conquest, for a return to being a great nation like that under King David. He was NOT a nationalist. He came as a light for all nations. There would be no MIGA hats (Make Israel Great Again).

It is a sad bit of Christian history that once upon a time a Roman emperor held up the Christian cross and proclaimed, “In this sign conquer!” This is not the way of Christ and the cross is not an emblem of war. I don’t care if you point at Christian history and tell me to look at all the violence done in the name of Christ down through the ages — this was not of God. It was an aberration that must be repented and never repeated.

It turns out that God is a God of persuasion, not coercion. Whenever people disagreed with the call that Jesus gave them for their life, and they said “no,” he let them walk away. He was saddened, for he loved them, but he let them walk away. There was no forced baptisms, no, “you must be my follower or else.” His call was always an invitation. He would say, “come and see” and “follow me.” He says that to us today.

The violent attack on our Capital was not a Christian act in any way, shape, or form. It was an action we can only describe as anti-Christ. It was the action of white nationalists who believe that the country belongs solely to the white race. They want to take the country back into white hands and white power. That they have attached the name Christian to their vile activities is a perversion of Christianity and must be called out.

Jesus the Christ went to his death rather than use violence. He freely put himself in the hands of those who would kill him, offering his life in the place of his followers, so that his followers could go free. He knew that if he kept speaking the truths of God it would lead to trouble yet he would not stop speaking. He went to the center of political, religious, and cultural life and spoke God’s truth. That is what got him killed. He was not passive or soft, but firm.

We should have expected God’s wrath at this loathsome act by humanity, our killing of God’s Beloved One, but instead, when Christ Jesus came back to us, risen from the dead, he came saying, “Be not afraid.” God came to us without wrath, without punishment, with an offer of peace and reconciliation. There is no greater proof of God’s non-violent stance toward us than the lack of God’s violence toward us after the crucifixion.

However, God will let us reap what we sow. If we sow violence, we will reap violence a hundred fold. We can tear down our country around us, or we can hold those who attacked our country accountable. We can heal and restore relationships, or we can devolve into bitter enemies. God persuades us to choose peace, but we can ignore God and choose terror.

It pains me to see that the preparations for the inauguration on January 20th includes the presence of an overwhelming number of military protectors. I am grieving for what the lies of a white nationalist president have brought upon us. He has led us into hell. May Christ Jesus come and lead us out.

My beloved ones, have courage and hope, and pray for our country as we live through these days of tension.

Bishop Kedda

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