Monday, April 24, 2006

Reflections on Ethics and Violence

So, now I'm almost done with my journey through my study of violence through the lens of ethics, and I must say that I have learned a lot about the complexities that surround the use of violence and non-violence, especially in the light of my (our) faith in Jesus Christ. The weirdest thing about my study into this issue is that it's not my faith that has been challenged - it's my use (for lack of a better term) of that faith to take action in my life. I ahve come face to face with the reality that the cross of Christ was a very violent event, and, because of that fact, it is very hard to think of it as victorius triumph. I guess, in some ways, I'm still stuck in that Good Friday service that I attended almost two weeks ago. I'm still awestruck by how Good Friday exposes exactly how sinful a creature I am, and I will die, in part, because of that inate sinfulness. I know exactly why Jesus had to what he did, and it doesn't make me feel all that good. In fact, I'm so sorry that it had to come to that. But could there have been another way? I don't know. I only know that that is the way it happened. Dear Jesus, why did you have to let it come to this? I know that you are risen, but I cannot get out of my mind that our sin killed you on that day. The tomb is empty, but I don't know how worthy I am to carry out the proclamation of Jesus' love for the whole world. Come Holy Spirit and give me the strength to see that it doesn't matter how worthy I am to proclaim the Word made flesh - It only matters that I proclaim.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Violence in Music

Lately, I've been thinking about the use of violent images in music. For example, Ice T's "Cop Killer" is a song about frustration with police corruption in dealing with people (mainly Blacks and Hispanics)in the ghettos of America. On one level, the level that put everyone into such a flurry of protest in the mid-90's, it seems to be a mere indiscriminate advocation of violence brought against a whole group of people. On another level, though, it speaks to the raw emotional response to the opression and discrimination brought upon minorities by the very people who swear to "protect and serve."

In thinking about the tension that the two viewpoints espouse, it makes me wonder if there is space in our lives as Christians to express that very real emotion of anger that we all feel at one point or another in our lives. As people called to christain service in response to our justification, can we have time to express our anger in truth before we start to turn to our called christian response of love and care for neighbor? Is there any place for the emotion of anger in our response to "love your neighbor as yourself?" I think that if we are to enter into true recociliation after repentance and forgiveness, then we need express and think about all those emotions that might come up in those difficult situations in our life.

If that is the case, then I truly think that those expressions of violence in music need to be present within the music scene, because they are artistic expression of emotion just as much as any love song is an artistic expression of emotion. One has to be careful, though, to discern what is artistic expression and an outright call to violence and hatred of a person or people.