Monday, November 17, 2008

what was he thinking?

recently as i was enjoying a plateful of sopes at my new favorite mexican food restaurant (Esperanza's on Park Place and 8th in Fort Worth), i glanced over to see a young man wearing a t-shirt that read "BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS" on the back. i thought, wow i really like that and began to wonder what the front of the shirt said, as his back was to me the entire meal. as he got up to leave, he turned to reveal a Police Department logo on the front of his shirt. the shirt seemed to be created to honor fallen officers as the logo included a black stripe. i wondered, was this what Jesus was thinking when he shared this with the crowds? was he referring to this type of "keeping the peace?" i am certainly not implying that we should refrain from remembering those who have fallen in the line of duty as soldiers or that police officers or that officers should not be thanked for the countless hours they spend serving and protecting our communities. i am simply asking for your opinion regarding the use of this particular teaching of Christ's in relation to this line of work? is this mixing empire and christianity?


Jason said...

I think this is one of many mixing of empire and the Christian message. When I think of Jesus talking about peacemakers I do not think guns. In fact I do not recall Jesus carrying a sword. Chalk this up with the same frustration I have with U.S. flags in sanctuaries, using John 3:16 to condemn people which is in direct violation of John 3:17, and when people use the Christian label to promote their business (Christian brothers automotive for instance).

Katie said...

My first response was to say that any time scripture is used to describe what politicians and governments do, there is a misuse of scripture. However, the more I think about it the more the issue moves into a gray area. We use it a lot to talk about the sins of our country after all.

So my next thought is that scripture is misused when it is cited in order to legitimate and/or celebrate what secular institutions do. (Although maybe not all secular institutions...maybe we should stick with government.) But I'm not sure that I can say that this is absolutely and always true either. I can't think of an example when it is not, but I'm not comfortable with saying always either.

The book that I'm reading talks about religion as the ultimate of legimizers...sort of. The Sacred Canopy by Peter Berger might be a good one for you to read too. Although, like I said the other day, it is a pretty dense book.

Blogger said...

It certainly doesn't bother me, as long as the shirt is referring to the act of making peace and not making an effort to claim that the police are God's army. The shirt sounds innocent, to me, but I hope that the shirt's designer is not hoping to link the police directly to God, that would be a bit odd. I've known a lot of policemen and most of them are pretty down to earth people who wouldn't try to do this.