New People of Faith (part 2 of 2)

 Praise God that He can use me/us even when we miss the mark
(as unfortunately Bonhoeffer did at the end of his life)
and God can use us for His purposes, in spite of ourselves!
Therefore, I would like to continue quoting from Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
When God/Christ calls you –
He calls you to come and die –
and you will find yourself sweating blood
in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Re:  Loving our enemies
Refers to caring about those who
oppress us, as human beings.
Remembering their humanity.
(and recognizing their divinity as part of the family of God)
We do for our enemies that which they cannot do for themselves.
Who could stand in greater need of love
than those who hate?
When you reject your enemy,
you turn the poorest of the poor, from your door.
We treat them the way that Christ treated us
with un-deserved and un-conditional love
(Hate the actions, but love the person)
To ALLOW yourself to suffer at the hands of your enemy
is freedom from the tyranny of your ego,
made possible only by God/Christ/Holy Spirit.
(If you care about justice, you will struggle with this
because of the unfairness and injustice
of suffering undeservedly and unjustly. Its just not right,
in addition to our natural instincts for survival and to strike back).
But Christ said it is better to suffer for something you are innocent of,
(as He did) than for something you are guilty of) 
You need have no concern for your rights –
They are in safe-keeping with God.
Bonhoeffer said:
Evil has but one goal –
that you also become evil.
Do not let evil overcome you
or confuse you.
(Keep your eye on the prize: WWJD)
(Christ said:
Do not overcome evil with evil
but overcome evil with good).
Do not fret –
Leave evil to God
He will deal with it!
Bonhoeffer said this both taxes great faith
and gives great freedom.
Fear only one thing – God
We are called to simple, unflinching obedience
to the stark, unbending commands of Christ.
(We do not belong to ourselves
and All we have is a gift from God
None of it belongs to us
All are merely a temporary loan to us.
We are simply servants of the Master
and as servants, we wait to hear and do
the bidding of the Master
to carry out His will).
Suffering is to be cut off from God.
Therefore, those who live in communion with God
cannot “really” suffer.
I find it interesting that Hitler mandated that his “elite” troops
the SS (Storm Troopers) could not profess faith of any kind.
They had to swear to be atheists, and deny God.
Perhaps Hitler himself understood that faith would make soldiers question
what he was doing, the agenda he was carrying out –
ethnic cleansing, mass  murder, genocide.
 Semantics – words are very important.
Words can and are being used to sanitize the worst horrors –
(including shielding us from the pain and suffering endured
by the animals we eat) 
Example:
The word:  War
does not describe all of the terrible destruction, violence and death that takes place.
The German word for what we call “Destroyer” ships
is:   “Schlachtenshiff”
which literally means “Slaughter Ships”
Does this not shock us into understanding the real
purpose and role of their use? 
In this generation, we are dropping 10,000 pound bombs
made of radioactive, so-called “depleted” uranium,
and using white phosphorous – which burns like acid thru skin to the bones
with no antidote against it, it can’t be washed off –
But we see no pictures/film showing the casualities and the suffering we are causing.
It is a monumental mis-understanding and mis-application of our faith
to think it is ok to inflict pain, suffering, death on anyone, for any reason.
Or to think that we, as people of faith,
can partake in UN-holy actions
to achieve any goal.
It is not ok for Christians to kill –
Love your enemies
These are not my words, but the words of Christ
If we can’t abide by the Hard requests for our Christ
Perhaps we should confess that we just don’t believe this –
we just can’t do this, its too hard, and nobody takes
these things seriously anyway.
(Rather than professing Christ, calling ourselves Christians, believers, the faithful.
and commiting the crime of polluting His reputation and name).
The Great Dilema –
You are again asked continually, daily, for your allegiance –
Will you choose God or Caesar?
When things get difficult, will we reject Christ as Peter did?
Our biggest obstacles:
conformity, fear of ostracism and fear of death.
It has been and is time for the church to start teaching us
how to overcome these things, and once again, begin
leading the world
and not following the world/Caesar.
 How do people of faith respond to and
What is our role as people of faith when atrocities take place?
for ex:
WW II and the holocaust
Slavery and the Civil War
Slaughter of Native American etc., etc., etc.
Do we commit atrocities in return?
We do not kill our enemies
because Christ did not –
We employ active non-violence in defense of victims
(political, social, legal, moral, economic, media and even
use our bodies as physical barriers)
but if these fail…
Here is faith’s response –
We walk with the victims –
We face evil and possible death
the way that the early Christians faced the lions
with only absolute and resolute faith in God.
(not faith in our own strength, or in our guns, bombs, weapons)
We walk with the victims in sacrificial love
Like lambs to the slaughter –
like Christ did
like Ghandi
like Martin Luther King and their followers did
like Bishop Romero of San Salvador,
like the Anabaptist churches did, when they refused to pick up arms for
the nations they lived in, and refused to fight in any wars, including the Civil war,
world war I and II and were imprisoned, exiled or killed as traitors)
like the astonishing Amish witness of love a few years ago, toward man
who took prisoner, raped, crippled and/or killed 2 dozen young Amish girls.
Consequences:
The nation(s) will see our acts of non-violence, non-particpation,
non-cooperation in the killing of others, as acts of treason.
God/Christ will see them as acts of faithfulness.
And it may be that
True enemies of the nation, will wrongly assume
our actions as a victory for themselves.
But our allegiance is to God first –
(God created All the nations/kingdoms of this world.
We ALL came from God
and will return to God.
In fact, borders are a human invention –
when our astronauts viewed the earth from above
they saw that forests, mountains, oceans, clouds, sun, sky
cover the whole earth – they saw no borders.
(I daresay, that some day, I predict
we will all be calling ourselves, citizens of the world, Earthlings))
Bonhoeffer said:
We are told not to let evil overcome you (so that you also do evil acts)
or confuse you.
Scary place to be –
Ultimate test of our faith
James Baldwin, famous African American writer in the 60’s
who exposed our virulent racism
said it this way:
“the man (person) who is not afraid to die
cannot be coerced”
  
Rigoberta Menchu, the Peru nobel prize winner
and victim of many imprisonments and torture, said
“Death threatens us with Resurrection”.
Can the church teach us how to die?
(to ourselves, our ego, our fear, to lay down our bodies
and face our physical annihilation)
Can the church teach us to grow our faith so much
that we can reach the thin places and not be afraid of
or held hostage to what is on the other side?
The kind of faith that Horatio Spafford, the author of the song “All is well with my soul”
who wrote this song after his 4 daughters died in an oceanliner that sank.
The kind of faith that Job had
(though you slay me, yet will I serve thee)
The love, faith and beneficent actions of Nelson Mandela and Arch Bishop Tutu
in South Africa, toward their virulent enemies
 Re: the state of the Church
Due to their capitulation to the horrific agenda of the nation
Bonhoeffer came to the conclusion that the mainline churches in Germany
were dead, totally compromised, spiritually polluted, decayed,
with the values of the world, totally antithetical to the call of the New Testament
Christ/God.
It was true then, and is true now
that if church-attending people
can participate in work that creates machines that maximize the number of dead,
can torture/maim/kill with impunity,
ceate widows, orphans, widowers, refugees
without pangs of conscience, regret and remorse
when they enter the God’s house,
Then the church has failed in its mission
to make us more Christ-like, and our own churches may be dead or dying.
We are told to come to church as we are,
but not to stay as we are.
The church’s mission is to call us to account,
make us more faithful,
grow us in sanctification and righteousness
in every area of life.
Specifically,
to love God with all our heart, soul and mind
Loving ourselves, and then others
And even loving our enemies.
To do onto others what we would want others
to do onto us.
To realize that whatsoever we do onto the least person
We do onto Christ/God.
And finally, to forgive, so we can be forgiven.
(most are acts of reciprocity)
Anything else is
demonic perversion of the gospels, manipulation, deadly compromise
spiritual pollution, decay and corruption.
The church’s role is to awaken our conscience
and call us to account for behaviours contrary to Christ-like actions.
most especially in the areas of life and death.
Call us to continual and  authentic confession, repentance, forgiveness, healing. 
(Costly grace)
To expose and dismantle works of spirtual darkness
and to non-participation in the works of death.
To call us to Holy works of life and healing.
Sadly Bonhoeffer was forced to come to the conclusion that
the mainline churches in Germany were dead.
I have not come fully to the same conclusion yet –
I still believe that the church (universal)
is able to be restored to right, loving action/practice.
But it may take a small “confessing” church
to show the way.
 as John Lennon said:  Imagine the possibilities
What if confession involved the promise not to shed blood?
What if soldiers were used to feed people and build houses
and rescue people in natural disasters?
Airplanes were used to drop food, water, medicines?
What if peace building, and all its tools
were taught in churches, grade schools, high schools and universities?
New movie re: bullying in schools
addressed not only those doing the bullying
but those standing around doing nothing to intervene?
Why is that?
Have we adults taught them too well, that violence is an acceptable
way of life?
Ponder this statement made back in the 60’s by a military man:
“There is something profoundly wrong with a society
that rewards me for killing a man,
and rejects me for loving one”
In the news:
 Arizona representative wants women to have to witness an abortion before it can be an option
Wow!  what if we used that strategy for war?
Blessings,
Anita Wucinic-Turner

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