Part 7: Q&A with theologian and professor Scot McKnight about his new book, One.Life

We are continuing the Q&A between myself and prolific theologian, author, professor and blogger, Scot McKnight, about his new book, One.Life. You can check out a number of his award winning books and blog here.

Andrew’s Question: On page 93 you said “Enemies can be loved easier than conquered.” Wow! So profound and so relevant to our culture wars today that exist only to conquer. What are your thoughts about Jesus’ message of loving your enemies in relation to the acceptable medium of engagement in our society to conquer, dominate and win? It seems to me that many feel that reconciliation, or peace, cannot happen unless there is a winner and a loser.

Scot’s Response: When there is a winner and a loser, there is no winner but two losers. Andrew, I’m a pacifist and an Anabaptist and that means I’m grieved by war – even if I read and comment on political postures we take in this world. But deep inside I am convinced that our interventions with war do not and cannot bring genuine peace – they may stop war but they only drive the desire for revenge and war to deeper places. Over time they will come back in harsher forms, and that is what we are seeing played out in the international state right now. And I’m not blaming just the USA; the world’s power brokers are to blame. It’s a power game.

Followers of Jesus are called to a different ethic. He calls us – in everything – to love God and to love our enemies, what I call the Jesus Creed.  That means also in political rhetoric (we are to be “with” as a “for” even in political discourse) and in international relations. To be sure, maybe we are so far from the table that we can’t engage the powers. But we can pray and we can protest and we can make the way of Jesus known, and urge our leaders to sit at the table until a genuine and peaceful form of resistance can work its way into how the nations relate.

You may call me a dreamer. Go ahead, because I’m appealing to the kingdom dream of Jesus. We are called to follow him, not to win in the war games of this world.

Perhaps you wonder why I’m talking about “war.” The cultural wars are one degree lower than the international wars we are experiencing. For us to sort out as Christians how to relate to the political and cultural wars today we have to be willing to acknowledge that sometimes the “other” is our enemy. That’s flat-out wrong for a follower of Jesus. I don’t care if you don’t like Sarah Palin or Barack Obama – if you are a follower of Jesus you are called to love Palin and Obama. That means being “with” them as someone who is “for” them in the way of Jesus, even if sometimes your “for” means you have to disagree. But the posture is what matters: do you love your (cultural, political) enemy? If not, it’s time to follow Jesus in a new way.

Much love.

www.themarinfoundation.org

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About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).


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