Friday, November 05, 2004

Jesus and the Non-Violent Revolution

Think I want to give this one a read if I can get it printed out so I can read it one the train: Jesus and the Non-Violent Revolution.

There is nothing fancy about Trocmé’s approach. With prophetic intuition rather than weighty analysis, he renders interpretations that are both subtle and provocative. His core argument is simple: Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of God based on the Jubilee principles of the Old Testament. These principles call for a political, economic, and spiritual revolution in response Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution to human need. Jesus intended nothing less that an actual revolution, with debts forgiven, slaves set free, and land returned to the poor.

It was this threat to vested interests that awakened the hostility toward Jesus that led to the cross. Jesus understood the kingdom of God in terms of God’s work in human history; every sphere of life was a domain for God’s rulership. But he saw, too, that such rulership would always cost a struggle. The first Christians, who were charged with seditiously "turning the world upside down," understood their master well. They had caught this vision and begun to live it out.

I am needing to have my memory refreshed as to how and why Christ is central to how I live my life. This looks like just the thing.


Erich said...

I would be a bit worried about this one, actually. Sounds like an attempt to see Christ through the lens of a sort of Marxist revolutionary doctrine. This was common among some Russian intellectuals at the turn of the century (professed Marxist atheists). The story goes something like this: Christ was way ahead of his time, he was a leftist revolutionary. The communist nature of early church communities shows this. However, as the Church became legal and entwined with the government, Christ was imbued with all kinds of supernatural powers and turned into a god to be worshipped. Thus, the true Christ (social revolutionary, etc) was lost, and the Christian God was born with only a slight resemblance to the principles that the real man stood for.

The important thing is that Christ did demand many of these types of things, but he asked that they be offered of free will, not coerced by a revolutionary committee. Christ is the antithesis of earthly power, and that is key. Anyway, when you flip through this book, see if it is not some derivative of the above argument.

Derek said...

John, I've started reading this one just recently. I have only one student in my Gr. 12 English class, and he's not a steady attender, so I have some spare time. I can't respond yet, on the above (or below) comment, but maybe after I've read more, I'll have some insight. From what I know though, it does sound like Trocme really strove for the Kingdom of God; both spiritually and physically. We'll see...

Paul Fromont said...

JJ, thanks for the heads up on this one...looking forward to reading it. Grace. I hope it refreshes your memory too.

Graham Old said...

It's a fantastic book! It changed a lot for me - and was a major influence on John Howard Yoder, Walter Wink and others.

The beautiful thing is that Trocme lived what he taught.

If I could only have a handful of books, this would be one of them.