Mao and Jesus – Part VI
The Christian, if he or she is to be a follower of the Jesus of the Gospels, is chosen by Jesus to be in time and space an agent of Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstances in the imitation of Him. So again, I ask the question with which I conclude Part V of Mao and Jesus:
“So why have the overwhelming majority of Christians since the days of Constantine been either lusting to get their mitts on the instrument of the state’s violence or lining up like lemmings to work for, to support, to spiritually validate conservative, liberal or radical politicians who are trying to get their mitts on the instruments of the state’s violence?”
The transformation of a Christian into an agent of state violence or a Church into a violent power structure is a perversion of the person who is a Christian and of the Church that is Christian. When the Christian succumbs to the temptation to embrace the violent power of the state, whether he or she be conservative, liberal or radical, it is not because they want to participate in violence just to participate in violence. It is because he or she sees state violence as the most efficient means to some desired end. Perhaps, even as the sole means by which some desired good can be achieved by the Christian. Therein lies the source of the terrible temptation to part company with Jesus and His Way and replace it with something that contradicts Jesus and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies.
It is not always easy to discern that when a Christian puts his or her faith in the power of violence, state violence or otherwise, he or she effectively gives up his or her faith in the Truth of God, in the Love of God and in the Spirit of God made visible in Jesus Christ in the Gospels. If a Christian gives up his or her faith in the Truth, in the Love and in the Spirit of God as revealed by Jesus, doesn’t that mean that for him or her that Jesus is no longer God “made flesh?” That His teachings no longer have the omniscient and omnipotent power and authority of God behind them? That His words are only the unrealistic and utopian bromides of just another merely human guru or philosopher, which can rationally be dropped when a better or easier way is found?
But can a Christian drop the teachings of Jesus regarding Nonviolent Love being the Will and Way of God without simultaneously announcing with a bullhorn that these teachings are not from God, that Jesus is not “the Word made flesh” (Jn 1:14), “the Word who is God from the beginning” (Jn 1:1), “the Word through whom all things came to be” (Jn 1: 3) and has not “risen” (Mk 16:6 ; Mt 28:6; Lk 24:6; Jn11:16)? Parting company with one’s local guru or favorite philosopher is one thing. But parting company with Someone with the above credentials is preposterous—unless, of course, one believes Jesus does not possess these credentials
For the Christian the power of Christlike Nonviolent Love of all under all circumstances is a Divine Force in human existence, not merely an idea. Literally it is the power of God active and operating in the human condition, if Jesus is who the Gospels say He is. But, the power of Christlike Nonviolent Love has its own way of action. It has its own way of creating sequences of causes and effects in time and space, which sequences could never arise from the choice of the power of state violence or any type of violence. The power of Christlike love is seen ever so clearly in Jesus’ enemy loving and forgiving murder by crucifixion, and in the sequences of causes and effects that have emanated from it to this very hour. However, the power of Nonviolent Love of all always is seen more acutely in His resurrection. The Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels, who taught a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, lives!
The life of a Christian is not the imitation of a dead hero—and it is worth noticing how easily it can become just that. Death is the end of a life and the end of a world; the resurrection is the beginning of a new life and of a new world in which Jesus is living.
The Christian lives in the new life of the Resurrected Christ, and the Resurrected Christ lives in the Christian. The Christian can also, if he or she chooses, live from the new life of the Resurrected Christ in him or her. The Christian can live and choose in accordance with Jesus “new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you,” can imitate Christ, because by his or her freely chosen, total immersion into Christ, i.e., Baptism, in which the new life of the Resurrected Jesus Christ is imparted to and is embedded in him or her to the point that he or she becomes by adoption what Jesus is by nature. Therefore, that new life in the Resurrected Jesus, is always present for the Christian to called upon in prayer and to empower him or her to “love as Jesus loves.” Indeed, even to love lethal enemies as Jesus loved His lethal enemies.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy
(To be continued)