05 October 2005

Drama in the waiting room

PyroManiacOK, here's the deal...

I was planning to post some material today that continued and elaborated on yesterday's theme.

Owing to circumstances beyond my control, however, I didn't get home until nearly 9:00 PM, which was too late to start working on a proper blogpost about a topic as controversial as pacifism. So I'll get back to that issue tomorrow, and today's post will be one of those infamous quick-and-dirty "This Is Where I Am Now" diary-type posts Frank Turk rightly abominates.

This is where I was today...

I had a doctors' appointment scheduled today at 4:00 PM. (Routine annual checkup, but thanks for your concern.) My doctor nearly always runs at least an hour late, and yes, it's frustrating, but I've had the same family physician for 20+ years, so I keep coming back.

This time, it seemed to take forever, and I ended up not leaving the doctor's office till after 7:30. Since I arrived at 3:45, that broke down to an hour and a half in the waiting room proper, an hour and a half waiting in the examination room (during which I read every MAGAZINE AVAILABLE!! TWICE!!), and then a half hour with the doctor probing, scolding, and wondering aloud why my blood pressure was so high. Then it took fifteen minutes more to get all the paperwork done, referrals to the lab for blood work, prescriptions and sample packages of a new blood-pressure medicine, co-payments paid, release forms signed, and all the other annoying things things that make medicine these days so inefficient and costly.

Normally, I would have considered it a totally wasted afternoon, but something exquisitely interesting happened while I was in the waiting room.

The receptionist at my doctor's office is a notoriously brusque man. Let's call him "Duke." That's not really his name, of course. But he looks and acts like it should be his name. Anyway, Duke is a royal pain to deal with. He will always put callers on hold within 4 seconds of answering a call; it's become a reflex action with him. It's the way he routinely answers the phone. ("Doctor's office; please hold." Followed by on-hold music.)

If Duke ever promises to phone in a prescription to the pharmacy for you, you can guarantee he will forget, and you will have to track him down and listen to at least 10 minutes of on-hold music, so you can remind him to do what he said he would not forget. When you do track him down, he'll blame something beyond his control, and try his best to make you feel like you're being unreasonable. It's happened at least fifty times over the past five years.

Plus, he has zero people skills. He's been my doctor's office manager for more than a decade and for the life of me I cannot explain why. If I didn't have such high respect for this doctor's skill and such a long track record with this same family physician, I would switch doctors in a heartbeat.

But I digress. I hate dealing with Duke. I always let Darlene do it. And as sweet and gentle as she is, her dealings with Duke regularly test her sanctification. No way I would ever wish to take this scoundrel's side in a dispute with anyone over his bad manners.

Today, however, I did. Some drug salesperson got angry with him for refusing to let her see the doctor to explain the benefits of a new wonder-drug. This salesperson was a woman who started out real perky, but—without Duke's really doing anything to provoke her—she became angry, started shrieking at him, turned her wrath against everyone in the waiting room, and finally called the police to report that Duke was "harassing" her. All this was just because he declined to let her see the doctor and then held his ground when she threatened to throw a tantrum.

That's what you call high-pressure sales. I've been a critic of Duke's people skills for years, but this time, he was not legitimately to blame.

The amazing thing is that the police actually showed up to investigate. By that time, however, the harridan had fled the premises, so there was no one to make a formal complaint. It would have been really interesting if she had stuck around. I think I would actually have felt sorry for Duke if they had led him off in handcuffs for basically doing his job. But it would have been a sweet thing to see anyway.

Actually, it couldn't have happened. Every person in the waiting room was prepared to give testimony that she was the one doing the harrassment. It was the biggest hissy fit I have ever actually seen in person, close up. She was good at it, too. And really believable. Her mascara was well and truly streaked by the time she finally left.

Anyway, my long and eventful day in the waiting room is the reason I didn't answer many of the comments that were posted yesterday. And that's also why there's no follow-up post yet. Stay tuned.

One clarification on the pacifism issue

I did appreciate all the comments and questions. Someone directed me to a neighboring blog, "Scribbles in the Sand," where Greg Ho raises a point I want to reply to. Greg, by the way, is a grad student at Princeton (so he's really slumming when he reads PyroManiac). He's also a former member of my church, and he reminds me that I met him once. (I do remember the incident, Greg, but just barely. Thank you for your kindness on that occasion.)

Anyway, Greg writes: "I agree with [Phil] on most of the points he makes, except the one about how it would be right to lob a grenade at Osama Bin Laden even if there was going to be known human collateral damage (if that were the case, why not nuke the whole country of Pakistan)."

Good point, and it raises an issue I need to clarify. What I said was, "As a Christian, I would have no compunction about pulling the pin and lobbing a grenade at Osama bin Laden, even if I knew it would kill bin Laden and everyone else within a 30-foot radius."

To be clear, my assumption is that Osama is still hiding in a cave somewhere, and everyone within a 30-foot radius of him is a terrorist, sympathizer, or support person.

Actually, if by happenstance I ran into Osama at the local Costco and there were moms and children in that thirty-foot radius, I'd try a different method to kill him. (If I could, I'd crack his skull with a tube of Costco's frozen ground beef.) My remark wasn't meant to indicate approval of all civilian "collateral damage." If there's a reasonable way to avoid it and still accomplish the military objective, I wouldn't condone deliberately killing non-combatants. Especially a tactic like nuking a whole country just to be sure you get one guy.

My point stands, however: I wouldn't accept the argument that "collateral damage" is always unjustified, nor do I think the mere fact of civilian deaths proves ipso facto that a tactic is immoral.

And if there are civilians who can actually get within 30 feet of Osama because they know him and are sympathetic with his terrorist tactics, or otherwise deliberately providing him a safe environment where he could blend in, I wouldn't hesitate to throw a grenade in amongst them in order to end his evil influence. I would be sorry and not glad about the collateral deaths, but I would regard them as justifiable nonetheless.

A few miscellaneous short answers

Here's a scattershot array of short responses to various comments on yesterday's post: Let's stay focused here. I didn't intend the post to be an apologia for "just war" theory, a defense of the current Iraq campaign, or an invitation to discuss what is wrong with our government's bureaucracy. (I don't recall even mentioning any of those subjects, pro or con.)

I did explicitly say it would grieve me deeply if I ever had to kill anyone.

And it ought to have been perfectly clear from the context that my remark about someone's brains getting blown out his left nostril was not a celebratory remark about anyone whose brains I actually witnessed getting blown out of said nostril. It wasn't a reference to any actual event at all, but a purely hypothetical argument. It was an attempt to make a graphic point about the justice of lethal force in the worst criminal cases. I stand by it.

I also want to point out how seriously twisted it is that in certain postmodern religious circles such plain language about justice for evildoers is deemed a greater social gaffe—or at the very least, it is more likely to provoke outrage and draw a scolding—than the actual wicked behavior of the evildoers.

I'll try, as time permits, to expand on some of these issues in subsequent posts. That's the best I can do tonight, though.

Phil's signature

36 comments:

Scott Hill said...

Phil, would that be the ground meat in the tube or a tray of meat you are using to crack open Bin Ladens head? For some reason the visual of that event struck me rather funny so I must not be a pacifist. Not that I ever thought I was.

I was once punched in the back of the head by a drunk guy who mistook me for someone else. I was sure glad the police weren't pacifist when that happened.

Phil Walker said...

Pickung up on the same comment as Scott Hill...

"Actually, if by happenstance I ran into Osama at the local Costco and there were moms and children in that thirty-foot radius, I'd try a different method to kill him. (If I could, I'd crack his skull with a tube of Costco's frozen ground beef.)"

*cough* I'd use pork. *cough*

Josh said...

HOO-AH!!

Paul said...

Phil,
If your doctor couldn't figure out your high blood pressure I think I can. Maybe, just maybe, it was almost 3 hours of waiting.

Don said...

Collateral damage is an unfortunate bi-product of just warfare. Unilateral destruction is the expressed purpose of suicide bombings. I prefer our side in this one.

And on the subject of visiting the doctor's office, I think a new glossary of terms might be due.

Appointment: that device which describes the date of your visit.

Patient History: A long survey which requires you to rehearse information already in the office computer. It is good for occupying a few minutes of your "down time."

Mr. Smith, Your Next: That is the early warning notification that you probably will eventually get to a new waiting area and gain access to additional reading material.

Examination Room: Sometimes you get your vitals taken here. The principle purpose for this stage is to give one the illusion of progress. Some folk die in this arena, but they are at least encouraged by this advanced staging.

Doctor Will See You Now: This describes the event when the nurse, PA, or other medical person leaves you alone in the "examination room". In some more formal setups, you actually move to another room closer to the doctor.

Doctor Examines: This is the briefest portion of the entire operation. Generally the doctor is finished in about 5 minutes.

See Receptionist For Followup: Much like "clearing post" in the army. Here you "discuss" the varied responsibilities of patient, doctor, and medical insurance companies. Sometimes you can arrange financing. Almost always there is announced a requirement that you reschedule.

After Action Report: Once you've completed the mission (possibly including visits to pharmacies and/or labs), you get to go home. Now you remember why you were so reluctant to go in the first place. You promise yourself that you'll give it a miss next time.

I've pretty much been giving it a miss for about fifty years.

Scribe said...

May I ask who has given you permission to execute another person as a hypothetical vigilante?

I find it troubling that upon seeing OBL your first instinct is to kill him, rather than apprehend him. Also, from an evangelistic point of view, how would you then witness Jesus Christ to OBL if he is dead? This whole discussion is interwoven with some rather immature "cowboy" fantasizing, which seems out of step with Jesus' teaching and demeanor, but consonant with American tolerance of and interest in violence.

Steve said...

Neopuritan: Are you saying it'd be wrong for someone to kill Osama if the opportunity presented itself? You say such "seems out of step with Jesus' teaching and demeanor."

Yet what did David do when presented with the opportunity to deal with Goliath? Should he have witnessed to the miscreant first? Was David in any way out of step with God when he slung that stone?

And there are more examples we could point to from Scripture in which God didn't condemn execution done in the name of just warfare.

Phil: Next time you go to the doctor's office, take one of John Gill's hefty tomes with you. I admire your patience with those long waits. I would've given up on that doctor a long time ago.

centuri0n said...

I admit it: I found "where you are right now" compelling and I was unable to put it down.

This is proof, btw, that the literary greats can break the rules because they don't really apply to them: they transcend the rules. I would compare this version of "Where I am right now" to Mark Twain or Samuel Johnson, rather than to the common "Where I Am Right Now" posts commonly found in the blogosphere.

rating: * * * * 1/2

Jerry Wragg said...

Neopuritan:
"Cowboy fantasizing" and "American tolerance of and interest in violence"?

Considering your list of favorite movies, are these compliments?

Winston Smith said...

Phil,
Since Duke is enough to rattle you so that you send Darlene to handle him for you, I have no doubt you would send Darlene up against OBL as well. After all, the only real weapon with which you have any proficiency at all is the Delete option.

Quit being such a poser.

Scott Roche said...

I think the temptation in me to kill Osama would hopefully be outweighed by my desire to see him tried and put in prison for his crimes. If I were to see him and happened to be a soldier or police officer I would hope that I would use all power at my command to take him in alive if at all possible. Does this make me a pacifist?

puritanicoal said...

The bottomline is:

1.) We will never see Osama in a cave, at Costco, or in the reception area of our family doctor's office.

2.) Moreover, if we did, we wouldn't have a grenade to lob in his general direction.

3.) If we did have a grenade, we wouldn't throw it far enough, and would end up being a casualty of our own desire to be non-pacifists.

The general discussion that it is appropriate, under certain circumstances, to kill someone, i.e., not be a pacifist, lends itself to such wild fantasy. Yet, in the end, nothing is finally determined, excepting possibly, our idle daydreams that are wrought by Hollywood and our mundane, desk-job, lives where we have never really faced death, excepting by high blood pressure and old age.

LeeC said...

Wow.
I always find it interesting how quickly coments from those complaining that a person istoo sanguine turn vitriolic.
Ad-hominems are typicaly not very passive.

On another note, have you considered buying a PocketPC?
I have the Del Axim X50v and I find it practcaly invaluable for such long visits. Right now I have 10 bibles various commentaries, 12 music albums, and over 100 e-books on mine sitting in my shirt pocket.

Oh, and the wifi is handy too.

Scribe said...

Steve, I am saying it is wrong to kill OBL if the opportunity to apprehend him presents himself. David was acting as a soldier in army in the midst of of an armed conflict. Do you seriously expect that we should base our Christian conduct on what a soldier does in war? Your example is flawed.

God does not condemn execution. He establishes civil governments to preserve the common good through the meticulous administration of justice. A government may execute, but individuals are not permitted to participate in a lynch mob.

Jesus, interestingly, intervenes in an execution...

C.Stephen said...

Dude, get a Pocket PC - you will LOVE waiting at the doctor's office. If you get one with a heavy battery, like Dell's x5 Axim, you could even use it as a weapon.

Libbie said...

Hold on a sec there... if a madman broke into my house and was in the process of attacking me and my children, is Neopuritan suggesting my husband would have to witness to him before knocking him over the head and potentially killing him?
Would a shout of 'prepare to meet your maker!' be sufficient?

Phil, Doctors receptionists have that effect on me all the time. I have run out of a surgery crying my eyes out on a number of occasions...

Impacted Wisdom Truth said...

Neopuritan

I thought about quibbling with your remarks, but then I read these things on your blog:

"I am a committed evolutionist, and accept the extraordinary amount of scientific data accumulated over the past 150 years, which points to the fact that life on this planet has been evolving and changing for over 3 billion years. For me, to take any other position would be akin to committing intellectual suicide."

and...

"I look up into the sky and glorify God for a truly awesome universe. I look at the Burgess Shale and wonder what to do with the baby Jesus."

It would not be illuminating to debate you, as it is apparent that I, as a former atheist/evolutionist, am not on the same page with you.

Scribe said...

Tooth: How sad that you only discuss things with people who agree with you.

LeeC said...

Guys, to clarify, a man is making a hyperbolic statement here, do anyof you think he is planning on bludgeoning OBL with a tube of extra lean burger? He is making a point.
Don't use that as ammunition to take shots at him, defend yourself with the Word, or concede. Thats our options.


As for me, if given that situation I would probably go for the more permanent solution myself seeing as he is a known mass murderer and I do not trust my ability to keep him.
He is also intwernationally known and as long as I was beyond a doubt that it was him I would be legally right in using what force neccesarry to bring him down. And furthermore if he was in my power ad I chose to let him get away I would share in his guilt for any further murders he did.

I had a foster aunt tortured to death by a "repeat offender" one Christmas eve. If the authorities had fulfiled thier God given duty in that regard that would not have happened.

Again, please forgive my typos, I am begining to loath the keyboard of this HP laptop....

Steve said...

Neopuritan:

Impacted Wisdom Truth didn't say he's only willing to discuss things with those who agree with him. He made his point pretty clear: Some of us aren't on the same page...or even in the same universe, as is apparent by the fact you're a "committed evolutionist." With such a big disparity in our worldviews, some things just aren't worth arguing about.

Regarding your comment: "Do you seriously expect that we should base our Christian conduct on what a soldier does in war? Your example is flawed."

I guess for clarity's sake, it's necessary for me to qualify my statements more precisely. Let's get real specific: I agree God has placed governments in the role of administering justice. No, I'm not advocating we base our Christian behavior on what soldiers do in warfare. And, in fact, when I wrote my statement, I DID have in mind a soldier killing Osama, which is why I brought up the parallel example of David and Goliath. After all, the chances of a civilian encountering Osama about as remote as the chances of evolution bringing about the magnificent universe we live in.

But for the sake of argument, let's consider a civilian context, which is what you have in mind. Sure, apprehending Osama would be nice. But context is everything. If the situation is such that there's ANY question at all that he poses a threat to those around him, killing him may just very well be necessary. For us to assume a pacifist stance in such a time would most likely result in innocent deaths because we didn't act fast enough to debilitate Osama.

Jeremy Weaver said...

I agree with you Phil. I just don't like your attitude. You need to get your heart right.
:-0,<--Just kidding.

Christopher said...

Phil said:

"As a Christian, I would have no compunction about pulling the pin and lobbing a grenade at Osama bin Laden, even if I knew it would kill bin Laden and everyone else within a 30-foot radius"

AND:

"If I could, I'd crack his skull with a tube of Costco's frozen ground beef."

Phil these comments are very illuminating with regard to all of the gratuitous violence you have been showcasing on your comic book covers as of late!

I'm afraid to say that all this violence just doesn't comport with my humanistically inspired Anabaptist conception of Jesus!

I'll admit that I don't know what to do with the occasions of divine sanction of violence in the OT (cf. esp. Num 31 - this is especially vexing for my belief that violence is innately immoral), and I'll also admit that the Apocalypse (cf. esp. Rev 19:11-16) has caused me to reconsider my pacifist understanding of Jesus and His followers - BUT I think Marcion had something to tell us with regard to the relevance of the OT, and Origen has helped me understand how to deal with troubling details I find in the text of Scripture.

Then again, I could also just admit that my conception of Jesus and the Christian life owes more to a priori humanistic commitments than a desire to be consistently Scriptural.

:-)

Oh, and keep the comic book covers coming man - you are hilarious!

Ryan DeBarr said...

Always take books to the doctor's office.

And, as someone who's worked as a system administrator for five years, I'm used to high-pressure sales. Salesmen call IT departments all the time, demanding half an hour or so of your time to market a product. I am very short with them. Some of them go psycho on you and call back 30 or 40 times. A girl I know who used to do HR work for a marketing firm says they intentionally hire people who are a bit on the edge and prone to hysterics. I get brutal with them, saying things like "For the fourteenth time, I am ordering you to cease and desist. However, if you do not, there is still a silver lining for me- you get fined yet another $11,000, bringing the grand total up to $156,000. And yes, I do have the phone records and I am turning you in."

But anyway, if she hadn't fled the scene, she'd be the one getting hauled away in cuffs. You can't claim harassment when you're on THEIR property!

TheBlueRaja said...

I think the fundamental issue that isn't being addressed is the ecclesiological one, since the issue has to do with the various spheres of authority requisite to our identity as Christians. What often gets confused here is what "we" mean by "we and us". What community do "we" speak for? Pagan communities in the kingdom of America or the Church and the Kingdom of God? "We should punish criminals" and "we should bomb Iraq" conflate the Church and governmental authorities with the former being a constituent and sub-group of the latter. What authority does the Church have to punish crime and execute penalties of justice? If it has no authority to do these things, then is it appropriate to speak of members and representatives of that body to engage in this kind of just retribution? The hyper individualism and maverick spirit underwriting American Christianity in general (particularly Protestantism) tends to address moral questions like these as if the community orientation of the individual (being members of one another in the body of Christ) were irrelevant, or just a pretty word picture instead of a spiritual reality. But individual moral choices speak for the ethic and identity of the entire commmunity -- if you say it's wrong for "the church" to pursue a particular agenda (like retributive justice), but it's permissable for every individual in the church to pursue it, you've got a living contradiction at best, and institutionalized hypocrisy at worst. What's more, the invividualistic mindset defaults the individual Christian's primary community identification to the state instead of to the Church, which is only a dutiful servant of the state and not a prophetic voice against its worldliness (except, of course, those issues raised by conservative pagan politics such as abortion and homosexuality).

Another way this insight helps to expose the crucial issues involved is the way in which some people seem to think there are times when we have to take off our Christian hat and put on our "American citizen" hat. Our mission to unbelievers is to preach the Gospel, so if we're on a mission trip or evangelizing, we shouldn't return evil for evil. But when we're done doing these things, and we take our "christian" hat off, then we (who's this 'we' again? the Church? American citizens?) should lock and load. If the Church is to embody the Gospel by its very existence, this artificial distinction between "enduring persecution" and "being assaulted by an attacker" is dissolved. All acts of violence against God's "new creation created in Christ" perpetrated by "those dead in Adam" can be considered persecution from which we shouldn't retaliate.

That's offered gingerly, without commending pacifism. Just some important issues to think through in discussing the issues.

farmboy said...

North of being born again and south of Christ's second coming, regardless of fashion implications, aren't we, as Christians in the United States of America, called to wear two hats at the same time? Yes, we are Christians, citizens of the Church, and there are (Scripture defined) responsibilities that go with that citizenship. However, we are also citizens of the United States of America, and there are (Scripture defined) responsibilities that go with that citizenship. Regardless of which hat we wear over the other, we wear both hats at once. Isn't wearing both hats well a way in which we can be salt and light? In a democratic republic (or other representative form of government), the Scripture defined responsiblilities of the state are also the Scripture defined responsibilities of the citizens that comprise the state. (When the state carries out an execution, for example, it does so in the name of we, the people.) Given this, does Scripture offer us the option of leaving all responsibilities of citizenship in the USA to pagans?

LeeC said...

"Gospel by its very existence, this artificial distinction between "enduring persecution" and "being assaulted by an attacker" is dissolved. All acts of violence against God's "new creation created in Christ" perpetrated by "those dead in Adam" can be considered persecution from which we shouldn't retaliate."

I would disagree with this. If I am in a cafe that is being robbed, and I and another customer are beaten by the robbers. If the other customer is a unbeliever are you saying that I was perscuted and the other person was not?

Being locked up in a Chinese prison for having a house church is persecution for the Lord, but I cannot see the everyday effects of a sin cursed world in the same vein.

TheBlueRaja said...

I see your point, leec. But your interpretation of the violence would be different because you are a Christian. You would see it as an effect of the curse. You would see the perpetrator as both an effect and a direct cause of the continuing curse, and also as a subject of the kingdom of darkness who is being decieved by the evil one and his own fallen mind. The violence toward other people is really an assault on God, whose image men bear. In order to categorize what happened Christianly you inevitably must characterize what happened into a conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness because of your view of sin. The unbeliever who lays battered next to you may not understand any of that, but that doesn't make it true. What took place was an assault on God, God's kingdom, the image of God stamped upon man, and even upon one of God's people.

LeeC said...

But the same could be said of disease, poverty etc. all are effects of the fall, but they are not persecution to us.

Our purpose is to give glory to God. We can do so in the situation I have posed, but I would say that the Glory God gets from this scenario would be from our adherance to Phil 4:6-9, rather than under say Mat 5:11

Mat 5:11 "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. "

TheBlueRaja said...

"But the same could be said of disease. . ."

Exactly. See the relationship between healing and the kingdom of God in the Gospels. One of the ways that Jesus proved that He was the Messianic king that was bringing the kingdom promised in the prophets was by demonstrating his power over disease. These weren't magic tricks Jesus did to prove he had superhuman powers and was therefore worthy of worship -- it was in direct fulfillment of Isaianic visions of kingdom life. They prove that Jesus was the King (see Is. 33:17-24 -- see also contrast with false prophets in Ezk. 34:4), and that he has the power to remove the curse of sin (see Deuteronomic curses of Deut. ch. 28).

As for the idea that we should respond with Phil 4:6-9 instead of Mat 5:11, maybe these aren't mutually exclusive.

I'm not saying there's no differnce between the Neronian persecution and getting randomly beat up - but in terms of "spiritual warfare" the primary categories that Christians must employ to understand these evils are "kingdom of darkness" and "kingdom of His beloved Son". Jesus is Lord over sin, death and Satan, but these conquered foes still assault members of the coming kingdom of God who still live on thier turf.

LeeC said...

I don't think I agree Rajah.
Certainly Matt 5:11 and Phil 4:6 are not mutually exclsive. You can always apply Phil 4 to Matt 5, but not always the other way around.

I would say that things such as disease and natural disasters are caused by the fall and affects everyone, whereas real persecution is caused by an antipathy for righteousness, and is actively due to the will ofthe persecutor.

TheBlueRaja said...

Leec, don't you see the coming kingdom as a reversal of the fall and the final realization of Christ's defeat of Satan, sin and death? Do you see Jesus as the King of God's coming regime, and the people of God as citizens of this kingdom who have even now felt the effects of Jesus' Kingship through the forgiveness of sins, the pouring out of the Spirit and incorporation into the Church? Would you consider the humanity of the spiritually dead in Adam (Ro. 5) the members of the kingdom of darkness from which we've been rescued (Col. 1:13-14), and even now wage war (Eph. 6:12)? Aren't the coefficients of sin, like death and disease, said to be alien to God's creation and the enemy of God's righteous rulership, all of which are defeated and done away with in the God's coming rule? While I agree that there's a difference between willful persecution and the conflict between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of His beloved Son, and I don't think they're coterminous, I can't see how anyone wouldn't regard the former as a subset of the latter.

I'm cool if you disagree with that, of course - I just can't see why you would want to! God is defeating evil in the Gospel - natural evils, intentional evils, and any other evil that may result from these. He's inaugurated this victory in the forgiveness of sins, and the new creation he's wrought in your life and the life of the Church, who He's renewed through the Spirit, and one day He'll cause the same Spirit-filled new creation to break forth over all the earth in His kingdom. What He's began in the Church He'll extend to the world. The Gospel is THE answer to the problem of evil (natural, human and otherwise), and the community the Gospel creates is exhibit A that God is victorious over it.

TheBlueRaja said...

Just to clarify, I know you do believe those things, leec. By those questions I just meant to highlight the fact that the Church stands in conflict with the powers of darkness, and persecution is one evidence of that (thought you're right, this seems something directed specifically toward unbelievers, not everyone in general), but not the only one. To say that the church should not retaliate for "persecution" but we can retaliatae for any other sort of evil misses the point of what the church is: a prefiguration of the kingdom of God and an embodiment of Christ in a rebellious world.

LeeC said...

I'm still not seeing it.
A mugger is not bludgeoning me because I acted righteously, I may as wel be Anton LeVay as far as he is concerned.

But then again, I am more than a bit obtuse at times.

TheBlueRaja said...

Leec,

Naw - it's probably my long winded explanations. Unfortunately they're the only kind I know how to give. Have mercy on me, and pity my wife!

mrclm said...

If you are going to crack OBL in the head with frozen meat tubes, use pork.

Big Chris
Because I said so blog

ajlin said...

theblueraja:
Could you please respond to farmboy's last comments above?