You cannot be too gentle, you cannot be too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of others.
If anyone is in hell, it is not because God has imprisoned him there, but because that is where he himself has chosen to be. The lost in hell are self-condemned, self-enslaved; it has been rightly said that the doors of hell are locked in the inside.
You must bear the spiritual infirmities of your brother gladly, and without annoyance. For when someone is physically ill, we are not only not annoyed with him, but we are exemplary in our care of him; we should also set an example in cases of spiritual illness.
Anonymous asked: What are your views on pacifism?
I actually don’t think pacifism is for everyone. I think its power rests in symbolism i.e. when those in privilege lay down their lives in downward mobility and solidarity with those who are under attack. Like, I don’t think I’d be one of the ones throwing molotovs at riot police, but I’d be helping dearrest for sure. I think nonviolent tactics work more often than violent, but that’s just a tactical opinion, I don’t judge people who out of desperation don’t see anything else (i.e. legitimately oppressed people, not 2nd amendment Christians). There’s critiques of nonviolence I have to take seriously, like that Stokely Carmichael quote about oppressors not having a conscience and Arundhati Roy’s quote about a rainforest tribe having the right to defend themselves against deforestation since there’s no civil society out there to hear their cries.
I also think of Bonhoeffer’s participation in trying to assassinate Hitler, and how he asked God for forgiveness for turning his back on Christ. And Jesus standing under the accusations of the chief priests but remaining silent. These raise powerful questions too. So maybe I think pacifism is mandated for people who claim to follow Jesus, at the very least, but I couldn’t demand the same for people who aren’t, maybe there it’d have to be the whole diversity of tactics thing.
The Christian community, therefore, is that community that freely becomes oppressed, because they know that Jesus himself has defined humanity’s liberation in the context of what happens to the little ones. Christians join the cause of the oppressed in the fight for justice not because of some philosophical principle of “the Good” or because of a religious feeling of sympathy for people in prison. Sympathy does not change the structures of injustice. The authentic identity of Christians with the poor is found in the claim which the Jesus-encounter lays upon their own life-style, a claim that connects the word “Christian” with the liberation of the poor. Christians fight not for humanity in general but for themselves and out of their love for concrete human beings.
"When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor’s wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn’t believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day, when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking–the first in his life. She told him that he would have to go outside himself and find a switch for her to hit him with.
The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying. He said to her, “Mama, I couldn’t find a switch, but here’s a rock that you can throw at me.”
All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child’s point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, then it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone.
And the mother took the boy into her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. And that is something I think everyone should keep in mind. Because if violence begins in the nursery one can raise children into violence.”