It is not reasonable to be a Christian or a Jew and expect “Peace”. While the relationship between “Peace”, “Love”, and “Salvation” on the one hand and “Duty to Suffer, Sacrifice, Suffer Alienation from Others, and Bear Your Own Cross” is perhaps the critical dichotomy or pair of contrasting opposites in the recorded teachings of Jesus, nobody has ever satisfactorily proposed a moral resolution or reconciliation between these passages with the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes. How can it possibly be that Christ says, “Blessed are the Peacemakers” on the one hand and “Think not that I came to bring peace but a sword” on the other? (The Reverend Barry Taylor’s sermon on this day at All Saints BH did not resolve this question, but it is excellent and well-worth listening to: http://www.allsaintsbh.org/services/sermons/BT1039.mp3
I, for my part, believe that fear of war, and desire for peace, are for the most part psychological swindles designed to make people into slaves. There is no more attractive nor pernicious dream than the dream of peace that lulls us into accepting chains on our arms and manacles on our legs. There is, quite simply, no peace in Slavery, only repressed hatred and animosity and a most indisputably unChristian desire for retaliation.
Father John Dominick Crossan has done more than any modern theologian in his attempts at an accurate “historical sociology” of the Early Church to reconcile the master-servant relationship with what he calls the “commensalism” inherent in Christian feasting (i.e.: “everyone is equal at Christ’s table, and must be respected as such, regardless of origin or prior condition of servitude.”
In the modern world, we are practically faced with the choice of fighting as Christ told us to fight or accepting the blessings of peace he promised us if we didn’t: which is it? Should we accept the “peace” of homelessness and foreclosure offered us by the international banking system? Or should we respectfully decline to turn the other cheek and fight back like the post-Christian Zealots and “Sicarii” who died at Masada?
And yes, in the land of the free, millions are now facing the choice whether to FIGHT FOR THEIR HOMES and property, or walk away in obedient peace, allowing the Banks and their agents to foreclose on the American Dream. Good Christians will and should fight for their homes and their families’ stability as if their own personal salvation depended on this fight—and not without reason: Jesus Christ recognized that without hearth and home, without bread and wine, there is no genuine peace, no genuine salvation.
LUKE 14: 25
The Cost of Being a Disciple
25Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him,30saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
31“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
Matthew 10:34 (KJV):
32Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
34Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
40He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
41He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
(or, in the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION):
32“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
” ‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law –
36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[e]
37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
40“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”