Monday, July 19, 2010

The Plough: Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution

André Trocmé (1901-1971) is famous for his role in saving thousands of Jews from the Nazis, as pastor of the French village of Le Chambon. But his bold deeds did not spring from a void. They were rooted in his understanding of Jesus’ way of nonviolence and the social implications of Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom of God on earth.

In this book, you’ll encounter a Jesus you may have never met before--a Jesus who not only calls for spiritual transformation, but for practical changes that answer the most perplexing political, economic, and social problems of our time.

Newly revised and expanded, this edition includes a concise biography of André Trocmé, and extensive notes on how contemporary thinkers have grappled with his ideas.

Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution
208 pages download book

There is no easy peace. The earth’s exploding population renders more difficult each day a peaceful solution to the problems of hunger, national security, and social justice. Simultaneously, the threat of nuclear destruction continues to hover over the future of humanity.

Meanwhile, the gap widens between the mentality of our contemporaries, shaped by a technological civilization whereby we control nature, and traditional religion, conceived during a rural epoch when human beings bowed under the weight of nature. Though technology threatens human existence more than it ever did in times past, Christian thought – frightened by the responsibilities it should assume – refuses to see in the gospel anything but a message of individual salvation. It might even be said that today’s Christianity finds suspect any actions performed for the physical salvation of the human race. It spurns any practical efforts of authentic Christian obedience as presumptuous and pharisaical – and that in an age much in need of them. Such a reversal of the teachings of Jesus Christ must be rectified, lest the church disqualify itself as an instrument capable of pointing the way for a humanity bordering on collective suicide. ...

All of us, Christian and non-Christian alike, are responsible for the hunger, injustice, egoism, exploitation, and wars that devastate our time. Christians bear special responsibility: knowing that God can change both people and their situations, the disciple of Jesus can help bring into being God’s future for humanity. ...

Moses had instituted a genuine social revolution aimed at preventing the accumulation of capital in the hands of a few. This was to recur every seven and every forty‑nine years. I use the term “revolution” intentionally because the social readjustments commanded by Moses were far more radical than the efforts of modern revolutionaries. Contemporary revolutions grow primarily out of economic disparities caused by technological developments. Jesus’ revolution, on the contrary, drew its strength from God’s liberating justice. By proclaiming the Jubilee, Jesus wanted to bring about a total social transformation, with an eye to the future, yet based on the vision of justice God had already set forth in the past.

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