Discussing
Beowulf and heroic heritage

Vic Sizemore

Remorse2
November 17, 2011

OH my I must disagree.  Christ gave us clear direction to be gentel as doves and as wise as serpants.  What we must look at is Justice.  The soldier goes to battle for the cause of the defenseless.  The government has been given the sword for a purpose.  We (Christians) are allowed to be in the service of the government for the cause of Justice.  Micah 6:8 is the key.  Seek justice.  Beauwolf was holding a town hostage and needed to be freed.<br>When it comes to declaring the hope that is in you do not bring the sword and make them believe.  Turn the other cheek.

Adrienne
November 17, 2011

A lesser prophet in the Old Testament is the key to all Christian theology regarding conflict? Even when Christ clearly states, "I have come to abolish the law and the prophets"?<br><br>The only justice I see Christ mandating is social justice- feeding of the hungry, caring for the sick, loving your neighbors.<br><br>Cherry picking the Old Testament for sound bites to justify modern motives diminishes us.<br><br>Who was Christ? Did He take up arms or fight? Only once, against usury in the temple- against capitalism in the name of His Father- against corruption where faith is debased by greed and laziness.<br><br>The Man allowed Himself to be led to His own unjust execution.<br><br>And we say that "The government has been given the sword for a purpose"? As if the government is a Christian entity endowed by God.<br><br>Justice/vengeance are not ours. Instead, we need to be looking out for our neighbors as Christ did command.

Laura's Last Ditch
November 17, 2011

We need to discern when fighting is for the right reasons. There is a time and place to seek justice, with the sword if necessary. But we do need to allow ourselves to be wronged, without growing bitter.

Gary
November 17, 2011

The late Francis Schaeffer put it this way:<br>“The Bible is clear here: I am to love my neighbor as myself, in the manner needed, in a practical way, in the midst of the fallen world, at my particular point of history. This is why I am not a pacifist. Pacifism in this poor world in which we live – this lost world – means that we desert the people who need our greatest help. What if you come upon a big, burly man beating a tiny tot to death and plead with him to stop? Suppose he refuses? What does love mean now? Love means that I stop him in any way I can, including hitting him. To me this is not only necessary for humanitarian reasons: it is loyalty to Christ’s commands concerning Christian love in a fallen world. What about the little girl? If I desert her to the bully, I have deserted the true meaning of Christian love – responsibility to my neighbor.”

JCarpenter
November 17, 2011

Good point.  But I take issue with the p.o.v. that our culture too-readily embraces, that our military are engaged in "defending our freedom", when reality is more that they are "defending our country's interests"---vaguely applied, meaning strategy,politicized economic ascendancy, etc.    <br>Like with pagan warrior Beowulf---the real purpose gets a whitewash by who's telling the story.

Thursday Morning Read
November 17, 2011

Adrienne, <br><br>Please give me the verse where Christ says He came to abolish the Law and the Prophets?<br><br>From the Genesis through the rest of the Old Testament, war was seen as a way to rescue the perishing (Abraham rescuing Lot before the Law or Prophets, Esther rescuing her people) or as instruments bringing the Israelites back to their Lord.<br><br>Governments are not (necessarily, although they can be) Christian entities, but they are endowed by God, even wicked ones (please see Romans 13:1, and 1 Timothy 2:1-3).  <br><br>Vengeance is not ours; but justice is something we should emphatically pursue as the people of God.  Sometimes this will mean armed conflict.  Most of the time it does not; it means Spiritual conflict.

JC
November 17, 2011

What about when Jesus turned the tables at the temple and was angry?? He surely did not turn the other cheek. He took action. For whatever reason, against capitalism some would say... The point is he didn't plead or talk them to death or change he took immediate and decisive action. How many times did God lead armies into war to accomplish his means. I think aggression can be justified but maybe not as a first resort. I must admit this article definately gets me thinking however, I think there is a such thing as righteous war and fighting for the defenseless. Not ever war is right but not ever war is wrong.Yes, our armies are used for the wrong purposes but God is sovereign over governments. <br>Put it this way, as a husband with children, if someone enters my house and the only way to stop him is violence, I am obligated to defend my family. Now if I kill a guy with no reason then I will be judged for unrighteous killings especially in front of my wife and kids.

Mara
November 17, 2011

Jesus came to establish a new world order based on PEACE because thousands of years of armed conflict just were not working.<br><br><br>Hebrews 8:6-13<br>King James Version (KJV) 6But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Thursday Morning Read
November 17, 2011

I agree with you that the Lord came to establish a new covenant of peace (a peace expressed outwardly through an inward change, i.e., the Gospel taking root and replacing hatred with love).  I disagree that He did this "...because thousands of years of armed conflict just were not working."  He actually established the New Covenant because we are lost and need a Savior (which to my thinking is Tolstoy's best point regarding non-violence, ie, all too often we fight our wars not out of righteousness and indignation or from right motives, but instead to have preeminence among one another).<br><br>Lots of countries even now have a semblance of peace, but are still seething with hatred for countries and cultures bordering them (and oftentimes, even despise those within their borders too).  May I suggest that the Lord is as displeased with this outward-yet-not-inward peace just as much as He is with injustice?<br><br>The fact remains, that Jesus came to fulfil the Law and the Prophets, not to abolish them.  As there are still many prophecies left unfulfilled (not a few of them dealing with war), and as there are many seeking to wage war (even in God's name) even at this hour, this is an important distinction.  <br><br>For those of us who claim the name of Christ, it is imperitive that we not march off to government-decreed wars thoughtlessly, happily, to merely maintain our own creature comforts.  I will not say that we should never march.

Jamesggilmore
November 17, 2011

I totally agree. The nation's mythology, the vision presented about who we are as a people, tells us that we're a nation chosen by God to be a blessing to the world—and that mythological narrative makes it far too easy to conflate American economic and geopolitical interests with divine justice. <br><br>When we set aside that mythology for a moment, we realize that we've been guilty of not just deserting many people of the world to Schaeffer's bully when helping them wasn't in our "national interest," but of actively supporting the bullies when it suited our purposes. And sometimes—as with our enslavement of Africans and our genocide against Native Americans—we have <i>been</i> the bullies and <i>profited greatly</i> from our bullying, the penance for which we still have yet to even <i>begin</i> repaying as a people.<br><br>Moreover, as Christians, we need to be engaged in a constant critique of the "freedom" that our leaders send our military to defend and sacrifice their lives and mental and physical health for. <br><br>If it's the "freedom" to continue to use 25% of the world's energy, despite being only 5% of its population, I wonder if that really fits into God's vision of freedom. If it's the "freedom" to have more stuff for cheaper because our multinational corporations are "free" to exploit workers in the Global South, I question whether we would tell Jesus to His face that we think that is the freedom He came to bring. If it's the "freedom" to make a wreckage of our planet by pumping more oil out of it, refining that oil, and then burning it to put more carbon and poisons into our air, I ask whether the Holy Spirit is found anywhere in that "freedom."<br><br>It's far too easy to glibly say "we're defending freedom" or "we're stopping a bully," while not stopping to ask if the freedom we're defending is part of God's vision of freedom, or whether we're propping up another bully or being a bully ourselves as we purport to be stopping one. Christians should be at the vanguard of the critical voices, constantly asking these questions, always refusing to blindly follow, always seeking the truth.

Mara
November 18, 2011

As the early church tried to bring the Scandinavian world to Christ they encountered a proud waring people more willing to bow a knee to a down turned sword than a replica of a wooden Roman cross. A man of honour died with a sword in his hand after all, not hanging from a tree.<br><br>Beowulf captures many elements of Christian faith reinterpreted in Scandinavian Hero Fashion. Beowulf does not have a Baptism of water but rather has one of blood (Boltered as this article notes.) He is a water walker and comes by boat to rescue them from the descendants of Cain when their pagan shrines fail. The strong theme of Babel, and the Atheling decadence waking the evil is clear. Actually I wondered if Beowulf was killing the right monsters.<br><br>When the Christian faith is brought to other nations it often gets cultural alterations and additions that end up becoming part of the landscape of that culture sometimes obviously, sometimes in more subtle ways, sometimes rather lavishly. Look at  all the sword wielding Saints. <br>

Jason Taylor
December 3, 2011

Um, no. Ghandi did not "use that to drive the British out of India." When turning the other cheek becomes a propaganda weapon in a power struggle, it is no longer turning the other cheek.

Thursday Morning Read
December 5, 2011

I disagree.  <br>If violence is responded to with non-violence, the action is still turning the other cheek. Particularly in countries which uplift Christian morals yet treat people groups immorally, the practicing on the oppressors of those words which they have (often) long-preached to those they oppressed, is even more important.  Gandhi's letting the British know what he was doing highlighted not just the Empire's oppression, which the British people could always blame on a powerful monarchy or on vague, faceless parliamentarians, but each individual's underlying hypocritical attitude, i.e., "I hate this race/person/creed and  know the Bible says to love my enemies, but I agree with treating them as sub-humans anyway."

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