The violence we preach is not
the violence of the sword,
the violence of hatred.
It is the violence of love,
the violence that wills to beat weapons
into sickles for work.
~ Oscar Romero
I wonder to what extent the use of, and backlash to, the language of violence as it has been propriated by the state, and rejected by the social workers, has impacted Christianity. One side wants all the power it can grasp and will take power forcefully. The other side wants nothing to do with power or force, and labels anything that resembles those things as “violence”.
Which leaves Christians in a rather sticky situation. Because Christians cannot fully align themselves with either camp. Christians cannot be caught up in the language of domination, nor should they be caught up in a total relinquishing of power. To bring healing uninvited, to offer a hope unlooked for, to continue to journey with those who would reject you — such things, when enacted properly, cannot be labeled as “violence”.
Cruciform power is the model and the standard set for Christians. Ours is the violence of love. It is allowing violence to be inflicted upon ourselves so that peace may bear fruit. It is placing ourselves in the line of fire until there are no bullets left to be shot. It is a voice that says, “Ya basta“. Enough is enough.