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Silence and Nonsense


Scott Stephens reflecting on Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man and the Jesus’ trial:

It is in control of his life, and it couldn’t care less. And that’s the obscenity of the entire ordeal. There is no slick dialogue or high courtroom drama in The Wrong Man – just the brutal enactment of an insane system that is convinced of its own rectitude.

And of course the parallel:

The Gospel narratives depict Jesus as being paraded, like some freak at a carnival, before Pilate and then Herod, both of whom taunt and goad Jesus to accept their supposed power over him and thus to join in their insanity. They want Jesus to be part of their world, to quiver before them, or at least to rage against them. But instead, Jesus remains silent.

This is why “turn the cheek” is so powerful. It exposes the schemes of the world for what they truly are. Silence in the face of nonsense, a refusal to play the power games of the world is where God’s power lies in the Church. We are in the world, but not of the world. We refuse to play by their rules. We have new rules that belong to the coming Kingdom age. The values of the God’s Kingdom inform our behavior here and now. This is not about some ethereal ethic reached by the common reasoning of all peoples. This is about belonging to the story of Israel, God’s story about redeeming creation. Being faithful to that story is what counts, not being faithful to a list of things you will or won’t do.

Stephen’s concludes nicely:

Like Jesus’ silence, the Church’s refusal to participate in the state’s normalized madness would go a long way toward removing the quasi-moral veneer, the unquestioned confidence in its own rectitude, whereby the state confers upon itself and its functionaries the power to pronounce any alternative as ‘mad’, abusive, extreme, impractical, or (worst of all) not conforming to ‘best practice’.

I hope any Christians in the political world can grab a hold of this concept. For that is the only way they will be have an impact on the world – by not being of the world. Refuse to play to that tune, play to God’s.

4 Responses to “Silence and Nonsense”

  1. on 01 Jun 2009 at 5:38 amSean

    Good points, John. If we think of the gospel as a short packet of narrative information, then I think ethics are living from that story–the message about the kingdom and the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8.12)

  2. on 01 Jun 2009 at 6:48 amrobert

    It wasnt because they werent following the Sabbath, IT IS BECAUSE THEY WERE FOLLOWING JUST AS THEY WERE TAUGHT TOO.


  3. on 01 Jun 2009 at 8:20 amRay

    Yes, the world has it’s manipulative ways as sorcerers do. The world knows how to pull on the strings which are connected to the flesh by it’s fall through the passions of sins which has taken it’s prey.

    Jesus showed them a more excellent way. He overcame their craft
    of Satan by allowing Satan to kill him. If it had not been his time, he
    would have given them the word as he had in the past that would
    have left them with nothing to say, and he would have gone on his

    I too find that I must learn the times, when it is to live and when it
    is to die, lest I try to rise up when it’s time to lie.

  4. on 01 Jun 2009 at 8:45 amJohnO

    Robert I wonder if you’ve commented on the wrong post?


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