nonviolently resisting God

I'm writing something for Jesus Radicals; maybe I'll post it here as I write...

Nonviolently Resisting God

If when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God's approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin; no deceit was found on his lips. When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. (1 Pet 2.20-23)

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." (Rom 12.19)

Since the world witnessed the inspiring successes of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., there has been growing support and enthusiasm for the practices of nonviolent resistance. Nonviolent methods such as protests, boycotts, and strikes, as well as appeals to the public and lawmakers through mass media and letter-writing campaigns, have become recognized as effective ways to change our society for the better. They have been shown to be especially valuable methods for oppressed groups, which lack the political or economic power to liberate themselves from their oppressors. Ruthless dictators have been toppled, unjust laws struck down, and crippling public prejudices overcome. And, perhaps most importantly, nonviolent resistance avoids the escalating cycle of violence that is seen when violence is used against violence, whether in personal fights, police intervention and imprisonment, or international warfare.

Nonviolent resistance has also gained support among Christians, especially among Christian pacifists. While there are many reasons for the popularity of nonviolent resistance methods aside from religious beliefs—their proven effectiveness for less powerful groups being reason enough—many Christians see nonviolent resistance as the way of Jesus. Jesus' refusal to lead a violent revolt against Rome, and his warning that “all who take the sword will perish by the sword” seem to demonstrate his nonviolence clearly enough. And his fearless rebukes to those in power demonstrated his resistance against oppression. Jesus' teachings about turning the other cheek and going the extra mile are also presented in a new light. Rather than a meek submission to an unjust oppressor, Jesus' words are understood as a call for creative, active responses that shame the wrongdoer publicly, so that they cease their oppression. Very similar to the nonviolent resistance methods used today.

But with the increasing popularity of nonviolent resistance among Christians, I've noticed that some of the principles of nonviolent resistance have also inspired a growing resistance against God. Ironically, this resistance is to beliefs and practices that are at the center of Jesus' own nonviolence.