I really, really like the following excerpt from Brian McLaren's new book, A New Kind of Christianity. I bought two McLaren books at a discount book store in Pigeon Forge when we were there for a day or so during our recent vacation. I haven't gotten a chance to read either one of them. One is "Everything Must Change"....the other....ah....Finding Faith...a Search for What Makes Sense. (I also got both Shane Claiborne books....Jesus For President and Irresistible Revolution...but haven't read them yet either) Anyway...I came upon the following excerpt from A New Kind of Christianity on the Reflections blog...which you really should check out too since he often posts thought provoking writings, both his own and from others. The excerpt below....
To repeat, Revelation is not portraying Jesus returning to earth in the future, having repented of his naive gospel ways and having converted to Caesar’s "realistic" Greco-Roman methods instead. He hasn’t gotten discouraged about Caesar seeming to get the upper hand after his resurrection and on that basis concluded that it’s best to live by the sword after all (Matt. 26:52). Jesus hasn’t abandoned the way of peace (Luke 19:42) and concluded that the way of Pilate is better, mandating that the disciples should fight after all (John 18:36). He hasn’t had second thoughts about all that talk about forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-22) and concluded that on the 78th offense you should pull out your sword and hack off your offender’s head rather than turn the other cheek (Matt. 5:39).
He hasn’t given up on that "love your enemies" stuff (Matthew 5:44) and judged it naive and foolish after all (1 Cor. 1:25), concluding instead that God’s strength is made manifest not in weakness but in crushing domination (2 Cor. 12:9). He hasn’t had a change of heart, concluding that the weapons he needs are physical after all (2 Cor. 10:3-4), which would mean that the way to glory isn’t actually by dying on a cross (Phil. 2:8-9) but rather by nailing others on it.
He hasn’t sold the humble donkey (Luke 19:30-35) on eBay and purchased chariots, warhorses, tanks, land mines, and B-1s instead (Zech. 9:9-10) … He hasn’t decided that the message of the cross is a little too foolish after all (1 Cor. 1:18) or that Christ killing his foes is way more exciting than that lame, absurd, "hippie" gospel of "Christ crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2).
He hasn’t decided that … nobody can be expected to worship a king they can beat up (Matt. 27:27) … Jesus matters precisely because he provides us a living alternative to the confining [violent] narrative in which our world and our religions live, move, and have their being too much of the time.
Revelation celebrates not the love of power, but the power of love. It denies, with all due audacity, that God’s anointed liberator is the Divine Terminator, threatening revenge for all who refuse to honor him, growling, "I’ll be back!" It asserts, instead, that God’s anointed liberator is the one we beat up, who promises mercy to those who strike him, whispering, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).