I am working on a Doctor of Ministry degree at Fuller Theological seminary - and just finished an absolutely incredible class by Dr. David Augsburger. In one of the 30 books we had to read, "Getting to Yes:Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In" I read about the ancient East Asian martial arts practice of jujitsu.
Jujitsu - in case you aren't familiar with this form of martial arts - relies on the energy, the blows and the "aggressive moves" of the other person to work against the person who is implementing them. For example, if you were getting into a verbal jujitsu match with someone else:
* When they asserted a position, you would not reject it.
* When they attack your ideas, you don't defend them.
* When they attack you, you don't counterattack.
* Instead of pushing back, you sidestep their attack and deflect it against the problem.
* You break the vicious cycle of violence, by refusing to react.
So, this got me to thinking, did Jesus know jujitsu? Obviously, this is a silly question, on it's face, since nobody in the Jewish culture of Jesus' day really had any concept of East Asian martial arts, or even the existence of the East Orient.
However, many of Jesus' responses to His critics remind me of jujitsu moves:
* When Jesus is asked whether it is lawful to pay taxes, he side steps the question, and uses the question on his opponents. "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and give to God what is God's." In other words, pay Caesar's tax, and remember that you are actually giving it to God, since God owns all things. Hyaa!
* Jesus tells us, "if someone strikes you on the cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic." This phrase has often been interpreted as an instruction to be passive in the face of aggressiveness. Perhaps, Jesus means that we should not be passive, but rather, be aggressive in a more intelligent way - through spiritual jujitsu.
As David Augsburger said on more than one occasion; "Sometimes the role of a spiritual leader is to figure out how to outwit sinners."
Wash on, Wash off
All For Now,