Saturday, December 22, 2007

Shop Till You Drop

You'd be so proud of me. I did all my Christmas shopping in the past 6 hours. ALL of it. I set out at noon without even an idea in my head and came home with beautifully personal gifts for each family member (and double for mom since her birthday is on the 24th.) I was like a consumer-puma, with cat-like agility and speed. From BMV on Bloor, through Kensington, all the way over to World's Biggest Book Store by Dundas Sq. On the subway ride home I thought my legs were going to fall off.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Offensive Pacifism

I consider myself a pacifist. I am not a violent person, and I'd like to think that I have sufficient self-control to maintain a stance of non-violence even if I was confronted with it. But is this position of pacifism reliant on the haven that North America has become, specifically my Canadian citizenship? We are so far removed from the threat of violence that it gives me pause.

What if someone was to break into my house? If they asked where the DVD player was, would I point out that my computer was in the other room? Probably not. In fact, I would probably be more than willing to defend myself and my property. (My property ... even the issue of stewardship/God-owns-everything can suggest that we value what we've been trusted with enough to protect it.) Dad and I were talking about this, and he told me a story about a Quaker who confronts a thief in his store. Looking at the robber over the barrel of a gun, he says, "Sir, I would not harm thee for the world, but thou art standing where I am about to shoot." (I'm assuming he didn't own the gun, maybe it was for sale in his store?) If the hypothetical Quaker can draw the line, maybe I can too.

So, here's my question: Am I okay with the incredibly gifted theologian Bonhoeffer who helped to plan an assassination plot against Hitler, or a Toronto police officer that shoots a man just before the criminal guns down an innocent?

I think I am ... and that confuses me.

Am I not leaving space for the intervention of a God I trust? He says he'll take care of me and that by loving my enemies, I'll be leaving room for him to act justly in a way that my subjectivity would never allow. What about defending those who can't defend themselves? That seems like the 'right' thing to do. I can't help but wonder if some sort of 'Offensive Pacifism' is the answer. A place where protecting the weak takes precedence over turning the other cheek ...