As I’ve written about before, living with an openness to new ideas is a bit unsettling. Especially for someone who preaches, writes, and produces content for a living. It means that sometimes I have to challenge things I’ve taught before but now see differently than I did at one time. While this process can be very uncomfortable, it is the only way to grow and is far too rare in Christian culture today. In order to lead by example, here’s an insight into an area of my own theology that I’m challenging and working through right now.
As a conservative kid from Arizona, I grew up around a gun culture (after all Tombstone is an afternoon drive away). While I certainly have never encouraged violence toward a person for any type of selfish gain, I hadn’t given a second thought to whether I’d use violence to protect others. This conversation usually starts with someone imagining how they’d respond to a home intruder set to harm one’s family, but it cannot rest there. Eventually you have to consider how we should respond when people anywhere want to harm other people, and then you get into issues such as a just war.
Here’s my problem. The more I dwell on the radical, history altering, expectation shattering image of Jesus on the cross, the more difficult it is for me to support violence in any of it’s different manifestations. I can feel your eyes rolling even as I write that. Wait, is Jeremy becoming a tree-hugging pacifist? Calm down, I’ve never hugged a tree before. But I have no idea where I’ll ultimately land on all of this. At this point, I’m committed to challenging my presuppositions, reading lots of arguments, discussing this in depth, and praying for God to lead me to a deeper truth, no matter how unsettling it makes me feel.