Friday, October 22, 2010

Warrior Jesus?

A few weekends ago, when I drove to visit my mom about four hours away, I helped pass the time by listening to a series of sermons downloaded from Woodland Hills, the church where Greg Boyd  is senior pastor.  The series I listened to was about the outrageous love of God as told through the parables of the prodigal son, the lost sheep and the lost coin.
An interesting thing he mentioned about the parable of the lost coin...there was a custom during that time period...brides wore necklaces made of coins....as a symbol of the marriage bond.  The coins were the wedding ring.  Losing one of the coins....definitely not cool.  So she looked and looked until she found it....just like God seeks until he finds us....ALL of us.  And then there is rejoicing.  This view of the parable is not unique to Boyd.  He credited Wiersbe with introducing him to the idea.


While I'm on the subject of Greg Boyd...on his blog he recently posted a writing called,  Revelation and the Violent Prize Fighting Jesus.  It is a response to a comment in Relevant Magazine, by Mark Driscoll (well known pastor of Mars Hill in Seattle)
“In Revelation, Jesus is a prize-fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is the guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”
Wow...think he might have missed the gist of the teachings of Jesus?  Jesus didn’t come the first time to make someone bleed…HE came to bleed and die on the cross.  And even if I believed in a literal, bodily return of Jesus the next time around, I’m thinking he wouldn’t come to kick anyone’s ass. 


Boyd responds:
.....the model of Jesus as a “prize fighter” with a “commitment to make someone bleed” allows us to indulge it. (our tendency to resort to violence) If we can dismiss the peace-loving Jesus as a “hippie, diaper, halo Christ,” then we’re free to wish and even inflict vengeance on our enemies all we like — and feel righteous about it! 
He mentions his upcoming book...
A Questionable Peace: Responding to Alleged Violence in the New Testament). It will serve as a prequel to my book offering a non-violent theological interpretation of the OT (The Crucifixion of the Warrior God).  Because the literalistic, violent misinterpretation of Revelation is so prevalent among evangelicals, I get asked about Revelation frequently. So I thought it might be helpful for me to share with you fine folks a few of the scholarly works I’ve found that support a non-violent interpretation of this book. How I wish Mark Driscoll and others who embrace the “prize fighter” perspective would digest some of this material!
He lists a dozen or so books that address the issue of an apocalyptic Jesus and a violent, literal interpretation of Revelation. I may not purchase the Questionable Peace book...but the other book...the Crucifixion of the Warrior God will be a must read for me.  It addresses something that has always bothered me.  The different face of God in the Old and New Testament.  Almost as if God was “two faced”…. 

5 comments:

Kansas Bob said...

Amazing how people like Driscoll take some of the images from Revelation so literally.

HCJoel said...

My community, The Meeting House (www.themeetinghouse.ca), did a series on non-violence/pacifism and this same issue is taken up. In fact, I think Greg stole it from Bruxy .

Cindi said...

Bob...
And imo, it is equally amazing how some people take the images from the OT so literally....and refuse to read between the lines. The Bible, read literally, can lead to all kinds of violent thoughts and beliefs.

Cindi....

Cindi said...

HC Joel...
I want to check your site out further. My husband is a transplanted Canadian and lived most of his life in the Oakville area. He was born in Hamilton...was living in Burlington across from the Maple Something Mall when he moved here to Pennsylvania to marry me. Perhaps the next time we visit, I can make it to your church.

Cindi....

Kansas Bob said...

I think that many religious folks are simply uncomfortable with gray areas so they make them black and white. It is especially troubling when they see the grays in the bible in those ways. And, IMO, it is not just the fundamentalists that do that.