Wednesday, February 07, 2007

choosing redemptive resistance

It is difficult to be a pacifist. I used to give talks on non-violent resistance in my friend’s ethics class. It was his particular perspective as well, however, I could be more expressive as the guest speaker than he could be as the professor in a Baptist Seminary. I prefer to call pacifism redemptive resistance which is dubbed passive by the culture of violence. Yet it is everything but passive. One thing I always brought up is that non-violence or redemptive resistance is a lifestyle, not just a stance on war.

It applies to every situation I encounter. For me, choosing redemptive resistance is difficult, because I am a fighter. I do like to assert myself and win. And I can and have “won,” in a worldly sense. There have been a handful of times when I have been "violent". In the worst of those incidents, I aggressively confronted the stranger who stole money from my overly generous and helpful sisters. I got what I demanded from him but only after we bounced off each others’ chests and exchanged some very aggressive verbage. It was likely a stupid thing for a short girl to do. Neither of us got all we wanted and nothing was ever redemptive. I have one enemy in the world because of that incident, which is one too many. I felt the power of this worldly sort of “winning,” as I saw the beads of sweat explode from the dude’s brow. But I didn’t win.

Winning is instead, knowing one has all the power to conquer the other in a situation of conflict of interest yet laying that aside—choosing instead the path of redemptive self-sacrifice and brotherhood. It is a silent power. One takes all the energy of emotion from the sense of wrong and injustice inflicted by the other and turns it inward toward the carnal self that wants to win—crucifying it alongside the image of Christ who had all the power in the world to climb off the cross and bring justice to his persecutors—yet Christ and I wait for ultimate justice and redemption, which will come later, after the body of flesh is sacrificed. Ultimate power resurrects on the third day. Ultimate justice emerges from a source outside of one’s self. Both this justice and this power redeem the perpetrator and its victim in the loving embrace of vibrant life. They again join hands and walk down the road together.

Perhaps I’ll share a story or two later, if anyone is interested.


Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Great blog, Espiritu, and great story. I love your Calvin quote and comment as a byline.

Welcome to the Christian Peace Bloggers blog ring!

graham old said...

'One thing I always brought up is that non-violence or redemptive resistance is a lifestyle, not just a stance on war.'


So true. Thanks.