Healing, non-violence and an economy of exchange

This hopefully will not be tediously long, but it’s a bit of an update as to my current journey and hopefully having more questions than answers is reader approved!

In the last few years my journey out of Institutional Christianity has led me into a wilderness of sorts but in the desert I have found a few monasteries of theology I really never visited much.

One such place is a *non-violent Jesus…now before you gasp to loudly consider that I saw clearly his non-violence in the gospels but was pretty well convinced of Gods violent nature in both the Old Testament as well as the book of Revelation…it was like God put his violence on “hold” during “Today if you hear His voice”, which is a season of mercy…

To quote Brain Zahnd:

God is like Jesus.
God has always been like Jesus.
There has never been a time when God was not like Jesus.
We have not always known what God is like—
But now we do.”

What that means (to me) is I do not get to impose a violence on the Father or on the future Jesus that is incompatible with the person revealed to me in the gospels, it requires me to impose non-violence upon God forever.

Now this idea does a few other things to my theology, and one of the primary things it does is it deconstructs and economy of exchange…in other words the atonement itself cannot be the Father exacting vicarious violent vengeance on the son in exchange for us going free…and at this point in my journey I have kind of opted to entertain this idea for a while and see what shakes out.

I have currently abandoned (for this season) an economy of exchange…now this leads to some serious issues with holiness codes and lines of distinction, but I will save that for another day, this day I have a different fish to fry and it has to do with physical healing.

“By his stripes we are healed”…this verse quoted in the New testament and lifted from Isaiah speaks specifically about physical healing, it is almost always tied directly to physical healing somewhere when it is used.

It is the banner verse for my charismatic friends who pursue physical healing as an assignment handed down from heaven for every believer to engage in…I accept this assignment.

Now if I go back to my non-violent academic friends they will say “yes God heals but it is not based on economy of exchange so there’s not really anything we can do about it, it is what it is”

Now my charismatic friends will suggest that God is love, but he is to be feared because we do have a textual history that he can be violent, the cross was Gods violence, and Jesus will return as kind of a Holy Rambo and exact violent revenge according to the Apocalypse…they are not “non-violent” and unfortunately it is reflected in (at least American evangelical christianity) embracing that us being violent is a legitimate expression of being Gods kids, after all Dad’s a bit of a violent chap we can be holy and violent like him…there are even gun manufacturers exploiting this and making special rifles for believers with bible verse imprinted on the gun.

I find this odious…and inconsistent with the teaching from the mount and the call to be a people of peace, but I understand the symmetry of the theology and the lifestyle, it is not really inconsistent to embrace a violent deity and then support the death penalty or gun rights, it’s all in proper context of what the theology permits.

But on the other side my academic friends will suggest that God does not operate by an economy of exchange or “Dues Ex Machina” (god in the machine) which refers to the greek play method of lowering God down in a basket (machina) to save the day, so healing basically is out of our hands and not something we really can do much about at all.

“By his stripes we are healed” sounds an awful lot like an exchange of some sort…it has violent quotient to it…the perplexing thing is this verse is used prior to his stripes happening in reference to him bearing our pain, our diseases our sickness.

Some have suggested the healing was “humanity” at the cross, that by his stripes he took our corporate habit of violence (sin) and instead of retaliating he forgave and stopped the cycle of violence thus healing us…my problem is that it does not look like it “took” we are still quite adept in a violent habit (sin)…so I still wonder what this verse means…I have used it in praying for the sick and have seen cancer healed and then watched as my own brother breathed his last in my arms from the same disease…it’s obviously not a guarantee and frankly I am not looking for one, not in the “certain” sense.

It kind of falls into the same crevice of my thinking on evolution, my biggest problem with evolution is certainly the idea of survival of the fittest, according to this model humanity arrives from the trail of murder, rape and selfish consuming of the weak by the more powerful THIS is supposed to be the way a loving and peaceful Creator got me here???? And yet the fossil record says something…it’s these gaps that leave me with more questions.

Meanwhile I’ve been slowly making my way through J.Louis Martyns Translation and commentary on Galatians, it is an epic study and cast new conversation on the “New Perspective on Paul”, but one of the things he suggests is the cross is an apocalyptic event meant to end ALL religion and Pauls biggest fight was with the Jerusalem teachers who remained trapped within an economy of exchange…the thing I am missing though is how did Paul and others function in the healing assignment WITHOUT an economy of exchange?

Most of my current books on healing (and I have then ALL) from John Lake to Bill Johnson all include some aspect of an economy of exchange, either fasting, or seeking or revival, or portals, or angels, or…well…something…anything really…I seek this, I confess that, I pursue this and healing becomes the children’s bread…

This is my current question…believe me I have not asked it flippantly or casually…I have deconstructed my anthropology and looked at other human forms of “healing arts” as well as breakthroughs in science for a clue…

I think we are called to heal the sick…I also believe we are called to a completely non-violent gospel message…the two should not be incompatible, but so far the camps are on different sides of the mountains with a valley between them as far as I can tell.

Still asking questions…


*(As soon as I say “non-violent Jesus” someone will suggest the cleansing of the temple scene to me, before we go there I have studied the text in some detail for a few years and my conclusions are that it was a prophetic act and NOT an act of violence, consider that there were Temple guards on duty, besides a Roman cohort as well {do some research on Herod’s Temple and how lavish it was as well as protected, it was an investment} IF Jesus had really been violent with people why is there no record of the temple guard or the Roman soldiers getting involved? The text never says he struck a person, only that he drove out the animals and the BIG issue with him was an economy of exchange, His Fathers house had been turned into an economic exchange center and this was distressing to him)

To My Friends on the Right

In follow up to my recent post To my Friends on the Left, it is time for a letter to my friends on the right of the political spectrum. I won’t repeat my disclaimers or definitions of left and right, so please take the time to familiarize yourself with the previous post to help you make sense of this one. Also, it may help to read both posts together to get an overall picture of what I am saying and avoid the trap of being distracted by my personal political leanings. With that said, let’s get up to speed quickly in this post.

The common time period associated with a “generation” is 40 years. Not sure if that comes from the biblical understanding or not but nevertheless it seems to have taken hold in modern culture as well. Using that approach as a baseline, it would appear that we are reaching the end of a generational trend as we approach the year 2020. Going back 40 years from that point we arrive at 1980, which I previously suggested as the approximate time of the rise of the right wing in western culture. The 1980’s gave us the personal computer, the 1990’s the internet and the 2000’s the explosion of social media through Facebook, Twitter and other similar tools. This doesn’t even address the impact of technology on medicine, agriculture and the oil industry. Fortunes have been made by many in these industries and the stock markets associated with it and those who made those fortunes have either participated in the political process or have greatly influenced it. With that background in mind, time to launch in:

Dear Friends on the Right,

We are entering a critical phase of our generation. I use the words “we” and “our” intentionally, since I have typically identified with the right in my beliefs and actions but find myself embarrassed by what our generation has become. What began with so much promise and innovation has descended into an abyss of selfishness and abuse of power, marginalizing many and inciting anger in the generation that follows us. We sit on the precipice of significant change. Our actions in the coming months and years will determine if the change will be repentance and reformation or intransigence and revolution. My hope is that we choose the former.

It would be tempting to view the recent success of left-wing parties such as the NDP in Alberta, Canada or SYRIZA in Greece, the rise of movements such as Occupy or the resurgence of the environmental movement associated with climate change as anomalies in our world and a challenge to be brushed off by the current ruling class (typically right leaning and capitalistic). That would be a tragic mistake. These developments and others should be a signal that something is seriously wrong.

When CEO’s make 206 times more than the average worker in Canada and 354 times more in the US, that is wrong.

When the average student graduates from university with $28,400 of debt, that is wrong.

When the majority of senior executives responsible for the financial scandals in 2008 are not going to jail, that is wrong.

When the average annual salary of a mega-church pastor in 2010 was $147,000, that is wrong.

I could go on but hopefully the point is clear [generalization alert], the right wing generation, the golden age of capitalism and trickle-down economics have failed us. They have failed the most vulnerable in our western culture and those folks are not happy about it. What is even worse news for those in power is that the next generation is internet savvy, very angry and politically active. The shift to the left that we are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg. However, there may still be time to change. To paraphrase a well known statement:

“Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove you from your place of prominence.”

Compassion and care for all members of society, not just the rich and apparently successful, is still possible. If done voluntarily, those who have prospered and succeeded in the recent past can still help others while retained some autonomy over their own personal wealth. If imposed by government or some other more revolutionary means, personal autonomy will be but a distant dream. However, time is short. It may already be too late.

Interestingly, you may have observed that those on the left are increasingly wrapping themselves in the teachings of Jesus as the champion of the poor, marginalized and outcasts of society. Rather than countering this position with your own gospel of prosperity and empire, stop and reflect about what they are saying. They are right. In fact, not only are they right about Jesus championing this cause, you may also want to consider that it was Sodom and Gomorrah’s treatment of the poor that angered God, not their sexual depravation. Think on that for a minute. While you do, remember that this same Jesus told regular stories about land owners, sowing and reaping, investing talents and a rich father who gave to his son. There is room for capitalists in His kingdom. Just not for the ones who mistreat and abuse their employees, servants and customers for that matter.

Sadly, as I observe the run-up to the upcoming national elections in Canada and the US soon after, I am not optimistic that the “right” will learn their lesson. It would appear that a time in the wilderness may be necessary to purge the selfishness and rot from our generation. May the left have mercy as they have their time in ascendency. Perhaps they will provided that they don’t look to the right for an example.

About the Author

John is the founder and co-leader, with his wife Katherine, of Back to Eden Group Inc., an organization passionate about “Relationship, Stewardship and Dominion” in all aspects of life (spirit, land, business, community and other nations). As a spiritual entrepreneur, John writes leveraging his extensive background of 30+ years as a leader in the telecommunications and IT industry combined with decades of spiritual experience as a follower of Jesus Christ, the original spiritual entrepreneur. He is busy influencing transformation and expansion in whatever he touches, empowering others while believing that this is the ultimate call of all Jesus followers and fellow spiritual entrepreneurs.

About this site

I am the main contributor to this site, though there are guest writers from time to time. Hopefully, what is presented are perspectives not the final word!

I am currently developing a part of the site with a focus on the 'gates of society'. That section will develop more as a forum with links to other articles, so that it becomes a resource for the future. I will also be looking for other contributors into the various subject-areas.

In my spare time(!!) I enjoy putting together wordpress sites, and also coaching people to make their own - open to hearing from you on that too.

Magazine articles

Just some more blogs? No, of course not, nothing even similar... well maybe very similar indeed, but hopefully you can use them differently. At the foot of this home page you will find 10 more blogs, these ones are grouped together, they will only be replaced every few months with a new set of 10. They can be downloaded as an emagazine, or read here as blogs (click on one and read, or use the 'emagazine' link in the menu above). Here on this site you can also add your comment.

Their core focus will be toward the gates of influence in society. They will not be the final word, hopefully provocative with some practical aspects thrown in.

The first four volumes will be uploaded here in quick succession, after that a breather before the next one. You can access earlier volumes from the emagazine page using the menu at the top of this page.

So you see - nothing like a blog!!

WordPress design

I develop WordPress based web-sites specifically made for your site. This site here is based on WP and uses a theme that I have developed. It can be as simple as a set of posts and some pages, or a few additional elements can be added such as this animated set of tabs that are activated here. I also plan the sites so that they are mobile-friendly, being responsive, they adjust to the device being used to view them.

If interested in a site feel free to make contact. I also have various courses on WP theme development. If interested in taking one of them online, or indeed you would wish to contact me about presenting a course to a small group.

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