Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Peace through justice

I just read a recent interview with New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan, which I found very interesting. However, it is the part that deals with the attaining of peace that mostly caught my attention.

Traditionally, movements, governments, individuals seeking to attain peace in the world have tried to do so through winning. Unfortunately, victory usually means that someone wins and someone loses. As a result, victory consistently fails to establish real, long-lasting peace.

We in the West especially place a high value on winning, whether it has to do with sports contests, political elections, or job promotions. All of these things are ego-based... they are about us.

I think that we followers of Jesus, we humans, we citizens of the world must learn to empty ourselves to others and place less emphasis on winning and more emphasis on sincerely caring for and about others. These are the first steps toward living a life focused on seeking justice. And it is justice that leads to true peace.

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QUESTION: What analogies would you draw between 21st-century America and the Rome of early Christianity?

ANSWER: The Roman imperial program could be summarized in the motto "First victory, then peace." Or, alternatively, "Peace through victory." The program of Jesus, and, following him, of Paul, was establishing peace not through victory but through justice.

The great theological clash in the first century between Caesar as divine or Jesus as divine was a choice between two methods of establishing global peace. After 2000 years, we are still using those same two methods – violent war, or nonviolent justice.

Generally speaking, the option of peace through victory has nevere stablished peace, but little more than a lull. Afterwards, the violence starts up again and always even more violent than before.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I am so glad I ran across this post!! It crystalizes a lot for me.... Thanks