mark, the cross & the spiral of violence

Occasionally a quote is worth posting. This is one of those times.

In reference to Mark’s Gospel and its rhetoric toward contemporaneous rebels who violently faced off against Rome in the Jewish-Roman war of 66-70CE, Ched Myers writes:

Yes, says Mark to the rebels, our movement stands with you in your resistance to Rome; after all, our leader was crucified between two of your compatriots (15:27). Our nonviolent resistance demands no less of us than does your guerilla war ask of you – to reckon with death. But we ask something more: a heroism of the cross, not the sword. We cannot beat the strong man at his own game. We must attack his very foundations: we must render his presumed lordship over our lives impotent. You consider the cross a sign of defeat. We take it up “as a witness against them,” a witness to the revolutionary power of nonviolent resistance (13:9b). Join us therefore in our struggle to put an end to the spiral of violence and oppression, that Yahweh’s reign may truly dawn (9:1). (Binding the Strong Man, 2008: 431)

Indeed, if “Satan cannot cast out Satan,” and darkness cannot cast out darkness, how can violence cast out violence?

It may be that violence, at its best, can temporarily end conflict, though it will always result in more violence because the cycle goes unbroken.

The way of the cross by definition lays down violent means in order to face ‘Rome’ in the only way that can truly rob it of its presumption to power…

…By voluntarily taking up the cross we rob ‘Rome’ of its only threat against us – death itself.


Posted on June 16, 2011, in Conflict and Nonviolence, New Testament and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Tolstoy argued virtually the same thing. Within the frame work of your post – it could rightly be argued that the absence of violence indeed was God’s plan for all of humanity from the very beginning.

  2. That Tolstoy said the same makes sense – Myers falls in that same Christian Anarchist tradition that influenced Gandhi and King Jr.

    Completely agree about the plan of God for humanity being absence of conflict. I would go further and say God’s plan for all creation was and is Shalom – not simply the absence of conflict, but holistic/”perfect” completion. Beautiful.


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