I am not a fan of Brian McLaren. He is one of these “welfare state=sanctified community, if not the Kingdom of God” kind of Christians whose thinking is a statist and nationalist as that of the conservatives he opposes. For him, the nation, and not the church, is the sanctified community, which makes him no different than a flag waving “God-and-country” Christian (who usually end up putting country first). Since the state is violence, to invest one’s-self in the state and the outcomes of its actions is to invest in violence. To endorse it and support it. Something I believe the church has no business doing. Liberal Christians are deeply invested in state violence. Indeed, they cannot be liberals without their faith in the role the state plays either in humanity’s salvation or sanctification.
And the staggering reality is that Jesus didn’t kill anybody — something that can’t be said about Abraham, Moses, David, Paul, or Mohammed (no disrespect intended to any of them). He didn’t hit anybody. He didn’t hate anybody. He practiced as he preached: Reconciliation, not retaliation. Kindness, not cruelty. A willingness to be violated, not violation. Creative conflict transformation through love, not decisive conflict termination through superior weapons. Courageous and compassionate resistance, not violence. Outstretched arms on a cross, not stockpiles of arms, nuclear or otherwise.…
Where do you primarily find God on Good Friday?
If God is primarily identified with the Romans, torturing and killing Jesus, then, yes, the case is closed: God must be seen as violent on Good Friday. The cross is an instrument of God’s violence.
But if God is located first and foremost with the crucified one, identifying with humanity and bearing and forgiving people’s sin, then a very different picture of God and the cross emerges.
- God is violent, and since human beings are made in God’s image, we are commanded to use that violence in some times and places.
- God is violent, but God’s violence is holy and righteous in a way human violence cannot be. And thus, while humans can be violent, it is only under God’s explicit command.
- God is not violent, and is always a regrettable violation of God’s image within human beings.
- God is not violent, and thus human beings are never commanded to use violence.