adventures in getting it right: shane claiborne responds to mark driscoll

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Friday, October 25th, 2013

shane claiborne

adventures in getting it right: shane claiborne responds to mark driscoll

these days, i don’t have much interest in blogging about or responding to the various antics of mark driscoll and his ilk. i’ve been there, done that and there’s a ton of other people still doing it with great regularity.

i haven’t felt any differently throughout driscoll’s latest absurb online proclamations. an abundance of people have blogged and tweeted incessantly about it and most—or, most likely, all—of it won’t do anything to sway driscoll or his legion of followers.

if you aren’t aware of what’s been going on, here it is in a nutshell. he wrote a blog post, is god a pacifist?, in which he argues that the life of jesus—contrary to the consensus of biblical scholarship and, you know, a basic reading of scripture—isn’t characterized by the way of nonviolence. one of the more choice cuts is as follows:

Today is a season of patience as Jesus Christ waits for people to come to repentance. Jesus is not a pansy or a pacifist; he’s patient. He has a long wick, but the anger of his wrath is burning.

Once the wick is burned up, he is saddling up on a white horse and coming to slaughter his enemies and usher in his kingdom. Blood will flow.

Then there will be peace forever as the Prince of Peace takes his rightful throne. Some of those whose blood will flow as high as the bit in a horse’s mouth for 184 miles will be those who did not repent of their sin but did wrongly teach that Jesus was a pacifist.

Jesus is no one to mess with.

i’ll just let that simmer with no commentary…

i need not offer commentary because in a post from jonathan merritt, he includes a response from everyone’s favorite christian hippy, shane claiborne. reminiscent of brian mclaren’s gracious and poignant manner of communicating, claiborne gets it so right without trolling anyone or starting a fight. i’ll post his response in full. it’s really great and worth reading through a couple times.

Jesus was not a pansy. Nor was Jesus “a prize fighter with a tattoo down his leg, a sword in his hand, and a commitment to make someone bleed,” as Mark Driscoll has contended. “Fight Club” may have been a good movie, but it makes for really bad theology.

Mark may see things like “kindness, gentleness, love and peace” as feminine, dainty things for pansies, but the Bible calls them the “fruit of the Spirit.” These are the things that God is like.

We need only look at the cross to see what perfect love looks like when it stares evil in the face – love forgives, love dies, love does not kill. Jesus was not violent, and surely not passive. Jesus shows us a “third way” that is neither fight nor flight. He teaches us that evil can be opposed without being mirrored, oppressors resisted without being emulated, and enemies neutralized without being destroyed.

The way of the cross is problematic to fight-club theology and the theology of imperialism, power and might. It was offensive even to Jesus’s own followers who begged him to call down “fire from heaven” on their enemies, and who continually digress to the logic of the sword. Fight-club theology is nothing new, but it is always sad, and it is a betrayal of the cross.

Jesus is Life. He died to conquer death. His blood was shed to stop the shedding of blood. His sacrifice on the cross was the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. It was the final triumph of life over death, of love over hatred. There is no need for more blood. In fact, we can even say that when we shed the blood of another, it is a offense to the cross.

We can call Jesus crazy, but we dare not call him a pansy. The nonviolent love that we see on the cross is not the sentimental love of fairy tales but it is the daredevil love of the martyrs… and it teaches us that there is something worth dying for, but nothing we should kill for.