Subversion of the Day- Judge Not

 

It sure has been a bit.  Hopefully the next one will be more timely.

The Subversion for today simply is to “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”  I don’t know why, but there is something fun about reading that in King James Version.  Maybe it is because it is so simple to manipulate for our own power.  This is one of the most poorly used, out-of-context spouted verses in the whole of the accepted Christian Scriptures.  Most often, it is framed as- You can’t tell me what to do.  Don’t judge..  or something similar.  Maybe a modern paraphrase can help shed some light on this- “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.”

Ain’t that the truth?

I used to think that I was doing the world a service when I would point out all of the ideas, interests, perspectives, beliefs, and preferences on anything that I thought was stupid.  I cared about them, and I didn’t want them to poison their lives with meaningless, unimportant drivel, from tearing down musical preferences to religious ideology.  And yet, it was I who was the one being poisoned all along with that unnecessary, overly critical thinking.  It repulsed people, made me ugly.  I tried to clean their face while I had a gaping wound to my forehead.  That is ridiculous.

And yet, we all do that.

Everyone is a product of their own chosen, assigned, or inherited systems, and there are many: family, friends, work, education (or lack of), social or economic status, political affiliation, ethnicity, skin tone/race, sexual orientation, gender, taste, and religious belief (or lack of).  And the truth is, none of these are better than an other.  Nicki Minaj is not better than Bob Dylan, or vice a versa.  And Christianity is not better than Hinduism, and vice a versa.  Even further, one branch of Christianity is not better than another.  There is truth in all things that we can learn from, because all truth is God’s truth.  He has a monopoly on it.  With that said, I must say the thing that may frustrate and trouble you- Jesus claimed to be the Way, the Life, and the Truth.

Jesus is the Truth.

All truth stems from His existence as Truth.  And His life was one of loving and uplifting those who feel cast out and are different.  But, he was critical when necessary.  He was very critical of death and those things that associated with death or lead to it.  Therefore, we must focus all of our energy on criticizing those things that lead to death and destruction- like poverty, hunger, homelessness, drug abuse. depression, loneliness, violence of any kind, and destroying others with even our words.  The way of the cross is one of releasing power, not coercion.  Let someone know that you affirm them, even if you disagree with them.  Subvert the powers today. 

“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.(A) For with the judgment you use,[a] you will be judged, and with the measure you use,[b] it will be measured to you.(B) Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye?(C) Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs,(D) or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.   –Matthew 7:1-6

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Movie Review: Captain America- First Avenger

I love stories about Nazis.  There is something the important (and dangerous, which needs to be said) about the simple personification of evil into one group, one entity.  And most Americans, and I would assume a significant part of the world, view the Third Reich as close to Hell on other as we have come.

I would say they haven’t looked around the world long enough,.

Nevertheless, I like Nazi movies.  But, because I believe in the potential  of redemption of all people, I don’t see a person and see evil.  So, my preference for Nazi stories includes the incorporation of the occult, the demonic, the worship of death.  That is the true enemy.  Not flesh and blood.

And this brings us to the blind, patriotic violence of Captain America: The First Avenger.

Now, before you get really frustrated or defensive, this is not meant to tear down the closely held beliefs of an entire nation of believers in Christ.  I will wait to do that later.  No, I want to take the message and meaning behind the film and not get hung up on the issues of right or wrong displayed there in.  After all, this is a work of fiction based on a comic about the blend of science and magic created by Norse deities, and the creation of a super-soldier through technological means in the 1940’s.

If you have eyes to see, look at the metaphor.

To begin, there is this concept displayed in the film of the serum for a super-soldier, which has the ability to amplify not only one’s physicality, but also one’s inner most self, that which defines them.  So if a person is good, it makes them great; if they are bad, it makes them worse.  That is why the Captain is a handsome man, and the Red Skull is, well… a red skull.  In the real world, the super serum we have is the word of God, the Holy Bible.  It is a powerful tool, or weapon; how you use it depends not on your knowledge of it, but your proclivity to righteousness or wickedness, which is only measured by one’s right relationship with God.  There is precedent for using the word of God as a weapon towards the right enemy, which once again, is not flesh and blood.  There are those who say they follow God, and yet, they see their potential brothers and sisters as foes.  Like the Red Skull, they have claimed to excel to a level where they have “left humanity behind.”

But not the Captain, because he is the example of the pinnacle of humankind.

Kind of reminds me of a friend of mine.  Anyways,  the Captain also expresses his heart on the issue of war.  When asked if he wants to kill Nazis, Steve (Captain America) responds by saying “I don’t want to kill anyone.  I don’t like bullies, I don’t care where they are from.”  And from these eyes, he lives up to that for the most part: he takes very few lives, if any.  Though the government around him and his fellow soldiers do, he is at a level of human-hood that supersedes the need to steal another’s life to prevent them from stealing the lives of others.  My thoughts go to the actual second World War, and if more of those who claimed to be at a higher human level had followed the Christ they said they did, there may not have been a World War II.

Check the history, and let me know what you think.

The third and last point is related to the second.  Tommy Lee Jones’ character in the film says a very true statement while debating on Steve’s potential as a soldier: “Wars are not won with niceness.”  As I said, this is very true.  Wars are not won with niceness; neither are they won with violence.  Nations don’t win wars, they postpone the battle for another day, breed imperialism, and create casualties on both sides of the battle.  No, wars are won by the conquering of war itself, meaning their cessation.  There is One who has come who, unlike Steve Rodgers, overcame every failure and was, is and always will be the Perfect Soldier.  In fact, He is King.  That person is Christ Jesus.  In His Kingdom, there is only violence to that which itself violates: sin, death, and the demonic presence that perpetrates that.  Follow Christ today, use this film review to engage the culture around you, and to be a support in your own daily subversions.  Subvert the powers today.