So I sit in the office, the church doors open in hope to provide a safe space for people to rest in the busyness of their day. My lament comes from an encounter with a member of the church from 60 years ago, no longer a member. After the beautiful reminisce of what the church used to be comes the blow – the use of the gospel to justify the use of violence in schools.
John 2:15 “making a whip out of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle.” for this man, this very passage supports his hypothesis that the world is the way it is because we do not cane children. He shared how prefects at a school where he worked took a big lad out and sorted him, it took two of them! When I relayed that I do not agree with violence in any form, his response was I won’t tell you what I used to do! I shared that Jesus never used violence and that was when this one passage was hurled at me followed by “that is why Christianity is dead.” Not sure about anyone else but I have never read this as flog the shit out of people to keep them in line!
I’ve blogged this because I feel so sad, that a message of love has, or hopefully at least was, distorted so much that it justified anger, hate and violence. As a people of Easter faith we need to own this history, and turn from it to begin a new pathway, a new future, which I believe has already begun, yet history so often informs understanding in the present. I begin my Lent with lament, the sorrow for distorted understanding, the past of violent living in the name of God.