Friday, March 14, 2008

Submerging Mercer:Carretto is Troubling; Jesus is violent

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From Jerry Mercer's book (from the Asbury Seminary Spiritual Formation Series) on the beatitudes, "Cry Joy":

At times when I am alone, I wonder how much of a Christian I really am
on this issue of peacemaking. I continually find 'good reasons' for justifying my aggressive behavior rather than following Jesus' teaching at face value. That I am not alone in this gives me no comfort. Why is is that our hearts are drawn to the Gospel but our reason pulls us back? I think it is because we are so desperate to protect the illusion that we can control the world, we believe that power is more dependable than love, and that our enemy is beyond appeals to the heart. I also suspect many of us give in too quickly to the self-serving opinions of national interest.

Carlos Caretto is an unusual man. Highly educated and once holding a prominent salaried position in his church, Carretto heard God's call, left everything,and went to the Sahara Desert to witness for Christ as a member of the Little Brothers Community. Now he is old and writes books, and what he writes troubles me. For example, take the following excerpt from a chapter he wrote dealing with social revolution and the church:

It is true that Christ is a revolutionary;
It is true that He is violent;
but not against others,
only against Himself.

It is too easy to kill others,
it is so difficult to die to oneself.

The violence of Christ is the cross,
it is planted n His heart,
not in the hearts of His adversaries.

The violence of Jesus is deep love.
not the sword or the prison,
which is how we always want to resolve
the problems which seem insoluble to us.
(pp 107-8)

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Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!