Saturday, December 16, 2006

Love Not The Domination System- Repost


from Chapter 5 of Augsburger's "Dissident Discipleship"- "The Practice of Resolute Non-Violence":

sub heading: Love Walks

(There is a)...deeper understanding, a radical wisdom that violence begets violence, which begets violence again.

The common wisdom on the streets of L.A., like the wisdom on the streets of most cities, holds that violence is the ultimate reality. This is the conviction of people in democracies and dictatorships, in "developed' as well as 'undeveloped" countries. Here are its basic assumptions.

1. The world is a dangerous place.

2. Human beings are innately, intrinsically, violent.

3. The enemy is evil, more violent than we are, and beyond change.

4. We have only three alternatives: accomodate violence, avoid violence, or use violence ourselves- go along with it, run from it or do it before they do it.

5. The answer to violence is more violence. Evil is the bottom line, and violence its language, logic and ultimate reality.

6. Violence can solve our problems decisively. Power, domination, and extermination of evildoers will stop the spiral, prevent the violence from feeding on itself, extinguish resentment, intimidate those who would seek revenge, render retaliation against us impossible, allow us to dominate benevolently.

Those are the storm waves of violence , beating on counter-currents of equal violence. each side is willing for the other to die to insure its own safety.

Active non- violence steps out of the pitching boat and onto the pounding waves and does the supra-rational. It walks on the water and finds it firm. It summons its courage and reaches outto the enemy as a person. It thinks of the enemy's needs and fears (motivations); it acts in commitment alloyed with compassion. it chooses the surprising.

sub heading: Love Not The Domination System

The way of the cross is not an inner spiritual surrender as Luther taught, or a profound sentiment of spirituality as pretension holds, or any of the other conceptual, emotional, volitional , spiritual definitions of experience that identify the cross with physical, familial or vocational hardships. The way of the cross is the willingness to die.

The World, in the way Jesus used the word, refers not to geography or place, but to "the domination system" by which human societies control, compute, and conflict. This is biblical scholar Walter Wink's best translation of cosmos The domination system is a set of cultural values, basic survival assumptions, and political structures that actively control, impose upon, and exploit human kind through violence and domination(Wink 1992, 139-55)

Of his disciples Jesus said, "They are strangers in the world, as I am'; in other words "they are strangers to the domination system as I am a stranger to the domination system' (John 17;14,16 NEB)We too live in a domination system of organized fear, institutionalized greed, rationalized violence, and socially accepted hatred, but we are strangers to its creed of greed, fear, coercion, and we-they thinking. There is no true spirituality at the end of the pursuit of greed, none that carries out the practices of hate. These are acts of obedience to the domination system and not the reign of God.

Every violent action is an act of faith in the domination system.

Every commitment that answers violence with violence is an act of obedience to the domination system.

Every allegiance to the values embodied in the domination system is an affirmation that men are superior to women, whites to people of color, and the wealthy to the poor, that the northern hemisphere is better than the southern hemisphere, the West than the Third world, and human beings than nature.

Every surrender to the domination system legitimates the un -questioning validation and justification of the use of force and violence. Then even when violence fails to resolve conflicts, it is merely discredited.

Clarence Jordan, farmer, Bible scholar and translator, and founder of Koinonia farm in Georgia thought deeply about the kinds of retaliation he observed in the tit for tat interactions in Southern society:

Jesus pointed out the stages through which the law of retaliation had passed, and how it finally came to rest in the universal love of the Father's own heart. There were four of these steps, each clearly defined and each progressing towards God's final purpose. First, there was the way of unlimited retaliation; second, that of limited retaliation; third that of limited love; and fourth, that of unlimited love (Jordan 1952)

Obviously, the first is both eyes for an eye, all teeth for a tooth. The second is eye for an eye, a penny for a penny and no more. The third is "love your neighbor and hate your enemy' (matt 5:43 NKJV; see also Lev.19:18). The fourth is to love as God loves, drawing no lines between friend and enemy, between those who reciprocate and those who do not. One loves in this fourth way- not because it works or is guaranteed to change enemies, but so that they will be "children of their heavenly Father" (Matt 5:45)

This is what the modern Church has misunderstood- even among its most prolific "leaders". This is what has been so thouroughly subverted in our culture...this is where it has all gone wrong...where the breakdown of the family and culture began...and how the destruction of our world will commence...unless things change drastically and soon among those who call themselves God's people. This understanding of what the domination system is and refusal to participate in it is true conservatism...the idolatrous faith in the redemptive power of violence is the true secular humanism and liberalism. God gave us freewill- its always been there- from the oldest stories of the Bible. It was when we passed up all of our chances and consistently chose wrongly when we were smitten with collapse and disaster of our own device. A better and more stable and saner world is possible- despite the idea that there will never be peace due to twisted interpretations of the book of Revelation and the end times...eschatology...which we will address next.


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