EMC: the security system

Brian McLaren tackles three areas [systems, he calls them] in which it is evident that humankind is walking a path towards societal suicide, the first of which is the security system [war, national defense, international relations etc]. Writing from an American perspective, he delves into issues of empire and preemptive war while suggesting that we need to replace violent societal tendencies with a craving for justice, peacemaking and reconciliation.

Rather than an aggressive and and offensive empire, or a submissive or passive nation, or a fragmented and isolated subculture, Jesus envisioned a people actively dedicated to peacemaking – walking the second mile, turning the other cheek, giving freely to the enemy as well as the friend. This peacemaking work was not an expression of defeat or weakness at all, but rather , it required a courageous and confident commitment to transcend violence. Still today, Jesus’ teaching challenges us to reject the deceptive, addictive emotions that forcefully drive us to war, and calls us to find new meaning in love, neighborliness, reconciliation, and the work of building vibrant, reconciled communities.

Everything Must Change, Brian McLaren

I wrote a few posts on the topic of war and peace about a year ago [check that out here, here and here], and a lot of what McLaren writes on this topic are things that I have been thinking about and discussing with others over the past months and years. I was indeed hoping for more in this section. To be fair, the book asks the questions ‘how do the life and teachings of Jesus address the most critical global problems in our world today?’, and McLaren does indeed answer that effectively. I guess what I really want answered is how do we, today address the most critical global problems in our world today [not to mention critical problems within our own communities]?

[There is a great chapter in this section where McLaren talks about Matthew’s use of Canaanite language in his gospel as a way of demonstrating that Jesus has come to reconcile the nations, to bring a message of peace that, seen in light of the O.T., is very fresh and hope inducing.]

One thing that McLaren mentions is that “Jesus’ disciples must work to dehabitualize and deligitimize even small expressions of aggression like name-calling … Care on the level of dehumanizing language helps preempt escalations that kead to violence, murder and war“. Yes! That’s what I am talking about. Fresh perspective on a minute and practical yet extremely important aspect of peacemaking. The way in which we talk to and about each other can either escalate animosity or help us to see that we are all the same, humans created in the image of God, neighbors, loved.

I am on to reading the section on the prosperity system, which, so far, is a pretty good summary of this movie, which is a good one.

Happy Monday, friends.

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