The Good Terrorist

This morning I did what I often do. I read the daily scripture readings without due diligence. [I must discipline myself to do lectio divina right!] Then, I was hit over the head as I was reading James Douglass’ The Nonviolent Coming of God later in the day.
Douglass lists the people Jesus associated with—tax collectors, soldiers, prostitutes, and Samaritans. Jesus hung around with the outcasts of his society. In particular, the Jews hated and despised the Samaritans.
Fast forward to today’s reading about The Good Samaritan. In this parable Jesus is teaching us today. Living in a world where the world-ending crisis is violence and terrorism, Jesus has an important message for us. Douglass’ interpretation breathes new life into the old parable I glossed over so readily earlier today. Bear with me. I am still trying to absorb the implications of his understanding.
During the Cold War (the good ole days of the old war when the enemy wore uniforms), it was the Parable of the Good Communist. Today, it may be the Parable of the Good Iraqi or, better yet, the Parable of Good Terrorist.
The point is that the man who was beaten and thrown into the ditch was rescued by his enemy. Jesus is teaching that our enemies will rescue us. OK, our enemies will rescue us but how?
Terrorists are our current enemies. There is never an excuse for a terrorist or anyone else to kill another human being for whatever cause. However, we mistakenly think that we can defeat terrorism with the sword. But, Jesus told us to put away our swords. They will not work.
Swords will not work nor will nukes. We need to embrace Jesus’ nonviolence. “Love your enemies.” “Pray for those who persecute you.”
We need to examine the root causes of terrorism—violence, oppression, exploitation, 40,000 children dying daily of preventable illnesses, billions spent on war and weapons of war and pennies spent on relieving human misery. Billions who live in third world countries are growing our food, making our clothes and creating our “toys,” while “living” on less than $2 a day. All this spawns terrorism. This may be what Douglass calls “the truth of my enemy.”
I am going to keep mulling this one over. In the meantime, Douglass summarizes it quite well:
Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan, like his teaching “love your enemies,” confronts an impasse of total violence in his time by transforming it into the Kingdom of God. Love your enemy—a hard saying—because there is no other salvation in an age of violence than the God who comes to us through our enemies, the God of Nonviolent Transformation. The end of the world is transformed into the beginning of a new world by accepting the truth of my enemy (p. 97).
What do our enemies have to teach us?

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