Of all the wars that interest me, the United States Civil War has drawn me in. Killer Angels by Michael Shaara was moving and vivid, showing me how ordinary and extraordinary people were caught up in this battle that ripped our nation apart, and I think still has affects that we often do not want to admit.
I begin this way because we want to enter the stories of scripture about battles, war, violence and wash our hands of the violence. We want to pretend we are not complicit, that our families are peace loving, that we would never do what those people in scripture did. Are we not a warring people? Was our country not conceived and won in war, and have we not fought wars ever since?
So when we read a text like Joshua 8, let’s ante up as members of the violent, sinful human race and not pretend we stand above the scriptures. This is a constant reminder whenever we come to scripture, to enter into the stories and participate, not pontificate. I’ll try not to pontificate.
It seems incongruous to read about violence in a chapter like Joshua 8, then Joshua re-dedicates the people to the law (Joshua 8:30-35). What is your next step to deal with this sense of cognitive dissonance? Is there a way to reconcile this or is it irreconcilable? What peace do you need to have with this and is there someone you need to talk to, a book you need to read to resolve or come to peace about this? Email me if you have further questions or leave a comment below. firstname.lastname@example.org
Show us how to reconcile our own violence with your gospel of peace. Help us re-dedicate ourselves to the reading and living of your holy words.
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey: A New Generation Church of Christ. Greg’s wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.