the blog

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MLK :: remembering…


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I’ve had a handful of meaningful conversation and interaction surrounds Martin Luther King Jr. that have made a impact on me. I remember talking with a friend of mine about not just his legacy but talking about how he lived as a young man, how focused and driven he was to pursue the things of God. I lived in Montgomery AL where he pastored. I’ve visited his church. I’ve read some of his writings and watched LOTS of video of his speeches / sermons. I’m floored every time i think of his amazing journey of non-violence, the courage and faith he must have had. I pray that i will be able to non-violently and self-sacrifically live in a way that brings the kingdom of God to come as i believe Dr. King did.

Here is a short video, be inspired!

 

 

Here are a couple links that are worth checking out…
http://www.TheKingCenter.org
Martin Luther King Jr. wikipedia page
Nobel Prize bio

and don’t foret to check out youtube, tons of great stuff.

 

 

 

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Pacifism and parenthood…


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I’ve had this blog brewing for a while but just haven’t taken the time to flesh it out. It’s some thoughts from a while back but my first fathers day stirred them up again. So I thought I would finally share.

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I was sitting down with a good friend and another dude (friend / acquaintance), the other dude happened to be a CCM musician guy; trendy, hipster, semi-famous, and of course wise! Somehow we got to talking, I had recently gotten married, he had recently had his second kid. We were talking about family stuff, the joys of being a father and challenges of being a husband, at least a first year husband. At some point the conversation shifted and we began to talk about politics, faith, and then pacifism. And then the trendy Christian rocker stated, quite matter of fact, “Well I used to be a pacifist until I had kids.” Followed by a “you’ll understand someday.”

In case you didn’t know, I’m a pacifist. As I read the scriptures, especially the words of Jesus I think it’s fairly hard not to be. I mean if your going to take the words of Jesus seriously, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” “Don’t resist an evil doer.” The list goes on… just read The Sermon on the Mount. So for me it’s hard not to be a pacifist when i read these words. Now I respect people who have differing opinions than me but for me, I think it’s hard to read these word of Jesus and then pick up a gun and go kill people to protect the things I love; God, country, family, etc. That’s a hard move for me to make.

But like my trendy, wise, Christian rocker friend stated, “You’ll understand when you have kids.”

Well now I have a kid. And to be honest what my friend said has really stuck with me. I understand the difficulty with even the IDEA of being a pacifist, especially in our world. I really do. And when I’m honest and people ask me if i’m a pacifist my response is, “Well, I want to be.” I say that because I know in reality I am bent toward violence and reaction. I understand that about myself. But I also feel like I understand that the most faithful // Faith-Full thing to do is to follow Jesus and that’s isn’t always easy or the way i am naturally bent.

Now I often tell people who roll there eyes at me for even suggesting the idea of pacifism that, “non-violence isn’t necessarily non-action.” I think that is an important caveat to the conversation, but another conversation altogether.

As I reflect on my stance as a pacifist and my now status as a father I’m trying to decide if my wise rocker friend was correct. Does the love I have for my son negate my ideological position as a pacifist?

For the first few months of Jacks existence (Jack is my son) I would take him when he was crying into my office and play a few of his favorite tunes. The 2 songs that seemed to calm him the most were, 1) The Hope That Lies Within 2) Oh How He Loves – both recorded by The Glorious Unseen. (great album, you should get if you don’t have it). But I would blast these songs and sing them into my infant sons ear and he would, miraculously, calm down. And almost every time I would sing these words,

“He is jealous for me (I would sing you)
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy
When all of the sudden I am unaware of these affliction eclipsed my glory
I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affection are for me

O, How He love us so
O how he love us
O, How He love us so”

…almost every time I would sing these words I would think about that comment, “You’ll understand once you have kids.” As I would sing those songs into Jacks little ears, telling him how much God loves him, I would realize how much I love him and how I would do anything for him and to protect him. And I would think, “was he right? Do I now understand?”

But in the midst of those thoughts I would realize that my love for my son can’t be stronger than God’s love for my son OR God’s love for his son. And in the mystery of the Trinity God’s love for God’s self which, more often then we are aware of, is turned in our direction and lavished upon us. This infinite and incomprehensible love that’s exists within God’s self and is poured out on humanity with undeserved regularity. This love that I can’t even fathom is directed from the heart of God to my son Jack every second of every moment and in the same way it was directed toward Jesus in every line we read of scripture, every space we ignore, every pause we skim over, and in every possible way we don’t even think of, God was in constant Love for his son. Even when his Son was hanging on a tree, bleeding and hurting, being killed by the enemy, LOVE WAS THERE. I don’t understand that but I pray God would fill me with the faith to embrace that moment of divine love that we witness in the crucificition of Jesus and I pray even harder as a father that God would gift me with even a small portion of the love I witness in that cosmic even of the cross for my son Jack.

And if I can receive that gift, even in part and as feebly as I am capable of, I believe I can continue to be faith-full to the words of Jesus, living the way of a hopeful, aspiring, would-be pacifist father. Which might be the only way any of us are capable of doing it anyway.

So was my friend right?
I don’t think so. Not if I believe in the power of the resurrection and the hope that lies within! I don’t think he was.

Grace and peace
from a would-be pacifist and an awestruck father!

erik

PS :: if you would like a resource to further this conversation here is a REALLY good one!

What would you do if? This little book entitled :: What Would You DO is a great resource to help you think through the challenges and questions of being a pacifist. It’s a great read from a few voices, put together by John Howard Yoder. Who is a stud and somebody you should read! Without a doubt!
:: Politics of Jesus
:: The Original Revolution
:: Body Politics
// TO NAME A FEW…

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The evil of war & a little propaganda…


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For some of you a video like the one below will probably stir in your hearts feelings of pride and patriotism but for me that is not the feeling. A video like this makes me sad! It stirs deep in my soul the reality of evil and specifically the evil of war. A video like this makes me long for Jesus and the day that we are promised is coming and will come in it’s fullness.

Verses like Isaiah 2:4 begin to rattle around in my brain and my soul begins to recite the prayer Jesus taught us and that we say together every Sunday in church.

When I watch a video like this and hear a story like the one told it just assures me more and more that war is an evil and that followers of Jesus are called to be peacemakers!

[ here’s the video ]

 

A little propaganda…
(I wanted to use the title :: “and the American Propaganda Machine” but I decided that might be a big strong.)

The title given in the video was “the lion of fallujah,” sound familiar?
Jesus is the lion of Judah right? I could go into what that means but the thing that really strikes me is the propaganda like this that is blasted our way everyday. These kinds of phrases seem very intentional and also aimed at a certain segment of the population. It just seems like a little dirty pool to me. But I guess that is the way the machine keeps running.

My encouragement is found in two passages of scripture…

[ Matthew 6 ]
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
// The idea that a better day is coming and will come is the reality we live into. We are the means of it’s coming and we hope for it’s coming in fullness some day soon.

[ Isaiah 2 ]
“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

Maranathan!
[ come Lord Jesus, come! ]

PS :: i am always up for the conversation. I know A LOT of people might disagree with me, a lot of people i love and respect highly will disagree with me (maybe) but i would love to hear your thoughts.

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