The Way Of Peace

Elizabeth Drescher laments the lack of preaching from Christian pulpits that instructs congregants in the ways of non-violence – which she puts at the heart of the Gospels:

Atonement theologies that highlight God’s solidarity through Jesus with those who suffer eschew the structures and vocabularies of domination and violence that Jesus encountered in his life and that brought about his death. An enlightened, nonviolent version of classic moral influence theories, theologies of radical Christian solidarity argue that God became human as Jesus to make known, as only a divinity choosing to be present in human form could, the tragic vulgarity of the systematized human impulse to domination, exploitation, and violence.

Against this backdrop, Jesus’s teachings about the “Kingdom of God” available “on earth as it is in heaven” and his resurrection are much more than slick marketing brought home with a jaw-dropping divine parlor trick. They are powerful critiques of the social striving, accumulation of material wealth, religious self-righteousness, and the often violent means used to enforce elite status that corrupt human cultures. The lowly birth, bottom-up ministry, criminal execution, and miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ are, likewise, for Christians proclamations that salvation is not a passive, ringside, spectator sport viewed from a mystical kingdom in the sky. Christians are called by faith in the here and now to be “all in” with regard to justice, compassion, and nonviolence—though the response to this call has been rare enough that those who have attempted to make it a way of life came to be called “saints” in a specialized way that St. Paul surely never intended.

Or, as the British Christian apologist G. K. Chesterton famously put it, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”