Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Un-Status Your Quo

I'm reading a book at the moment that pointed out something profound. 

How Soldiers Are Conditioned To Kill:
  1. Frame killing as protecting or saving lives - The only way to save lives of those you love is to kill others.
  2. Portray the enemy as sub-human - It’s easier to kill people if you don’t identify with them or if you think of them as “evil” or as animals.
  3.  Demand obedience to leaders - Men will do almost anything if they are under strong social pressure to comply.
  4.  Develop the capacity for collective violence - Accentuate their fear of letting their squad down. Diffuse responsibility across the group.
  5.  Increase the distance between the trigger and the target - It’s easier to kill from a distance with drones, missiles, bombs, etc. Talk about firing at targets, not people. Speak of sinking ships, not of drowning sailors. Frame the violence so it is an object being destroyed, not another human being.*

The book goes on to point out how these same methods are being employed by our media to socialize us towards the redemptive qualities of violence.

Try to find a summer blockbuster where the hero doesn’t use a gun. Try to watch a TV show where violence isn’t the solution to the problem. All of our heroes carry weapons. 

Revenge is second nature. Retribution is justice. Death is the penalty for those who dare to threaten us. Love is only for those who are like us. 

We can forgive a team-mate, but never an enemy. Even sympathetic villains are doomed to die. 
A fair trial isn’t satisfying. Rehabilitation is a myth. Reconciliation is a joke. We want blood, and we get it. Lots of it.

This is our status quo. 

How far apart are we from the Coliseum’s of Rome?

We are so far removed from the reality of our own blood-thirst that we are oblivious to the symbolism reflecting back at us. In “The Hunger Games," for example, we recoil at seeing a society where the poor are forced to fight to preserve a corrupt system, but we fail to see how our own poor make up the majority of our armed forces – because they cannot find employment elsewhere and a college education isn’t within their grasp otherwise. We cheer for Katniss as she defies her oppressive Government but we would never tolerate anyone who refused to place their hand over their heart and pledge allegiance to our flag.

We are immune to the irony. We are immune to the culture of violence we are immersed in. Even those who claim to follow the great “Prince of Peace” will threaten to beat you if you dare suggest that violence isn’t something that Jesus would allow them as an essential right of expression or self-defense. [Yes, I have experienced this personally].

Can we escape our culture of violence? Can we break free of the allure that entangles us?

Can we tune out the voices of fear and outrage that drone endlessly out of our televisions? Can we awaken from our slumber and open our eyes to the blanket of death that enshrouds us? 

Can we walk in love? Can we follow Jesus into the Way, and the Truth? Can we embrace life? 

The Truth is that God loves us. He loves everyone. Even our enemies. When we love them we proclaim this truth. “God loves you!” And because God loves you, so do I!

The Way is to renew our minds and become transformed in the process. Then we will be able to know the will of God and to walk in it.

The Life involves releasing our grip on Death, [and her sister's Violence and Retribution], to embrace the One who told us that we should love God, and love one another.

The same One who compels us to “come out of her, my people!” and points us to the things that make for peace. [Luke 19:42]

We don't need to accept the status quo. There is a better way. Jesus invites us to walk in it.

“And now I will show you the most excellent way.”



*List summarized from the book, "The Jihad of Jesus" by Dave Andrews. 

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