One young man excitedly describing to a friend
some kind of on-line game he had played—
set in a virtual reality, as so many are,
of inarguable absolutes.
Waxing eloquent in praise of one particular character—
virtuous and powerful.
“He’s like Jesus … but a ninja!”
It was this comment—
it was overhearing that statement—
that led me to linger
at my by-then well-picked over blueberry bush
despite fuller branches waiting further down the row.
“Does he fight?” queried the friend.
“Well, only this one evil villain
who literally has the power to destroy the world.”
“So he fights?” Very matter of factly.
“To save the world.” Defensively.
At which point I moved on—
full now myself
of things to think about—
and to celebrate.
That very matter of fact understanding
that Jesus and fighting are incompatible—
despite that popular, persistent, prevalent myth
of redemptive violence.
And that it doesn’t have to do with raising the stakes—
that part of the gospel story affirms
the stakes just can’t get high enough
to justify Jesus compromising who and how he was—
that who and how he was
comprised (and comprises) the absolute highest of stakes.
If it’s about the stakes, after all,
then it’s not about Jesus,
and saving the world too quickly becomes
saving the world—as we know it—or want it—or like it.
Does he fight?
If he fights, he’s not Jesus.
If we fight, we’re not like Jesus.