Violence and the “Bad Ass Jesus”

It’s national Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I’ve been stewing about what to write all month. Raising awareness and fighting violence has long been a passion of mine. This month however I’ve struggled to find what to say. I’ve struggled as I keep reading the statistics that don’t seem to end.

I’ve struggled in particular as I read continuously about Christians, about ministers, about pastors and I think back on the ministers and Christians in my life who have abused others or who have been abusive to me. Turns out, my beloved youth pastor from when I was a teen had multiple girlfriends and indiscretions. I have been on staff with a denomination that uses scripture to keep women “in their place” even recalling a guest speaker at the baptist church I attended who said a woman who remains faithful through abuse, physical and sexual violence from her husband honors the Lord as she becomes a witness leading him to salvation. I asked at that time how long she must endure the violence? I was told until her husband was saved and she would find peace knowing his eternal security was worth all of her pain.

I read this past week about Mark Driscoll’s “Bad Ass Jesus”. Let me be clear…I am not saying Driscoll advocates abuse, but his machismo approach certainly allows for it. See his recent post on pacifism…at least his caricature of it. In a world where it is de rigueur to read or here about violence, abuse, bullying, suicide and murder all around minor disagreements, WE, the church MUST speak out against violence. For many of us we were taught that turning the other cheek was THE only response. (See my article at CYMT this week). It’s not.

Driscoll and those who follow his ilk of Christianity are not right. It demeans men and women. If anything, Christianity embracing a hyper-masculine, violent ideology is advocating a faith that looks more and more like the world and less and less like Jesus. It is in fact, not Christianity. There is nothing about it that resembles Eph. 5:1, “Therefore be imitators of Christ as beloved Children”

Lest you think this is not an issue…check out Watch Keep. I’ve written about Amy’s story before. She was let go from being a long term youth worker volunteer as she insisted on advocating against violence. That was just this past summer (2013). We have a problem and we must speak up.

I’m not typically a fan of bumper sticker theology but I must admit…I like the one that says “When Jesus said love your enemies, I’m pretty sure he meant don’t kill them.”

Death comes in many forms. Sometimes to the body, sometimes to the soul. Jesus came that we may have LIFE! As this month closes, perhaps we need to shift from considering advocacy for peace once a year to all year. From reducing the numbers of those impacted by abuse, To looking at the world and believing that the Prince of Peace is indeed the one who guides our steps, words and actions.

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About Amy Jacober

Amy Jacober (PhD, Fuller Seminary) is a youth ministry veteran with ministry and teaching experience. She focuses on practical theology, urban ministry, theology & disability, and marginalized communities. She is a volunteer youth worker in her church and community, lead consultant with Youth Ministry Architects and serves on the Young Life Capernaum national board. In her free time she can be found playing with her three young children, husband, and oversized dog.