Martin Luther was apparently aware of our tendency to think dualistically, because he said, “We are like a drunk who climbs up on one side of a horse and then falls of on the other.”
As long as we are still thinking and perceiving on a binary, dualistic, either/or, two-dimensional level, we can spend our life camping out in our favorite ditch, and if somehow we manage to escape one ditch, we will probably scurry across the road and dive into the other.
Hopefully our life will be more like a pendulum that swings back and forth until it finally settles in the middle, but if we haven’t grown during the process, we will only find ourselves standing in the middle of the road dodging bullets from both sides, while trying to negotiate a compromise.
However, if you have grown, and managed to grasp, and hold on to the high balance, – – – you better look good on wood; because this can get you crucified.
Several of the pastors I listen to on line have been focusing their attention on the ‘Red Letters,’ the teachings of Jesus, specifically the ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ because they have recently switched from Hawks to Doves, from ‘Kill them all, and let God sort them out,’ to ‘Unconditional, Other Centered, Enemy Love.’
“Well what can possibly be wrong with that?” you may ask.
I must admit, it sure sounds like a huge step in the right direction, but from the top of the pyramid it’s easy to see they’ve only switched ditches; the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme.
Scripture never says, “Blessed are the Hawks,” or “Blessed are the Doves,” it says, “Be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (can you see the paradoxical high balance?)
And the Bible never says, “Blessed are the Pacifists,” it says, “Blessed are the Peace Makers.”
“What’s the difference?” Actually I believe there’s a big difference, but first I feel the need to stop a moment and talk about ‘Labels.’
Specifically self labels; any label you place on yourself comes with its own set of rules, the warrior’s rule may be, “If it shoots at you, shoot back,” the pacifists rule will probably be, “Be willing to die for a cause, but never kill for any reason, no, not even a fly.”
Other labels like Republican, or Democrat, Catholic or Protestant, and even Religious or Christian; – – – all come with their own set of rules, especially more extreme labels like: Nazi, Black Panther, or Hell’s Angel.
So I believe avoiding self labeling, as much as possible, is a good idea.
On the on the other hand a label God places on you can be freeing rather than restrictive. He seems to prefer, ‘Disciple,’ or ‘Child of God,’ and/or ‘Peace Maker.’
Jesus uses ‘peacemakers,’ as a synonym for ‘child of God’.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew 10:16)
The closest thing to a rule for the disciples/children of God/peacemakers, is “Follow Jesus and do whatever He says,” and if in doubt, always remember, “Love trumps all of the rules,” so, “Do the most loving thing for everyone concerned, not excluding yourself.
However, I feel I must warn you; if you happened to find a coin with Peacemaker stamped on heads, when you flip it over it would say, Troublemaker.
A peacemaker can often be found right in the middle of a controversy, taking a stand, and refusing to take sides. He may even begin by agitating the situation to focus attention on the problem, like Jesus in the temple, or Gandhi with his salt march, or MLK Junior’s sit in.
In other words, don’t expect to find a true peacemaker hiding out in a church in the suburbs, waiting for Jesus to come back and fix everything.
Next; “The Lion of Judah vs. The Lamb of God”