A Very Angry Pacifist, Indeed

by caitlin

So, this might be a rambler. A says that I preface conversations way to much.

Last time we had a little pillow talk I mentioned that I feel like an alien much of the time. This extends into my inner self (where much too much contemplation takes place, in the words of my frand JJ, “Over analysis.”). I can relate to the Apostle Paul when he says in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

Hello?! It’s like having split personalities–wanting to do one thing and then doing the opposite. In my case it has to do with being inconsistent.

For the most part I am a very “moderate” person. I think it has to do with not having the confidence to have a strong opinion about something and be able to defend it (I blame that on slow brain to mouth processing).

I do feel quite strongly about the issue of violence as a means to the end of peace. I.think.it’s.ridiculous. In one of my all-time favorite quotes Derek Webb says, “Peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication.” For those of us who grew up in the True Love Waits culture (or maybe just me), this rings especially true.

I saw that violent efforts were futile as a means of reconciliation when I worked in the hood. Gang members got revenge on opposing gang members in a vicious cycle that ended with (although indefinitely) one of my 8 year old students finding his mother murdered on their kitchen floor. There were threats made by students (and their OLDER family members) to jump other students as a way to “right” the “wrong” of having been jumped themselves.

This is not just a ghetto mentality though. Most American Christians, or Americans in general, probably claim to be Just War Theorists (A included, although he probably would not lump himself in with the “American Christian” label–it’s one of the issues we disagree on, and we’re okay with that). Personally I don’t believe that is the example that Jesus gave when he DISARMED Peter in the garden and healed a Roman guard’s (read, the enemy) ear after Peter sliced it off. Oh yeah, and that was when Peter was DEFENDING Jesus. I believe that when Jesus disarmed Peter he disarmed all believers, whether we have a JUST reason (like, oh, preventing the crucifixion of an innocent friend) or not.

A and I often talk about what would happen if an intruder entered our home in the middle of the night. A has, in his possession, a baseball bat that he would use to “impair” the intruder. This idea is a little frightening to me. He knows this. I cannot imagine seeing my husband destroy a human life in front of me and then return to loving him for the gentle, kind man that he is (thus we pray, knowing full well that God does not promise physical safety for his people, that this situation never arises).

After reading that previous paragraph you might be thinking, “Wow, A & C need to go to marriage counseling to work out their differences.” We’re good, people. I aired my perspective and our resulting disagreement to point out my internal alienness and need for Jesus.

True confessions time: I am an angry person. Really, I get angry a lot and most of the time I try to reconcile in my mind that my reasons are JUST. Important things like when a child is hurting or someone is being oppressed or, you know, when someone doesn’t yield to let the PREGNANT lady cross at the cross walk in a parking lot. My blood pressure is literally elevating just thinking about it. Don’t worry, I know that there is no way to rationalize that last one.

The fact is that the Bible says in 1 John 3:15, “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer.” I have a lot of hate in my heart. That verse doesn’t give any disclaimer, “unless the brotha deserves it.” There is no disclaimer because all of us have sinned and none of us is worthy to deem what is deserving of hatred or murder. So, I might as well be a murderer.

Crap.

I just need Jesus. He will reconcile all of creation back to himself. I have to trust that will be the case, or else Jesus’ death on the cross was incompetent. In the end it will all be made right. It’s not my job to make sure that happens.