Remember my love for Jonathan Martin’s book Prototype? Well, he’s responded to several questions over at Kelley Nikondeha’s blog, and I absolutely think that it’s worth the read. So I’m posting it here.
Here’s my favorite Q/A of the bunch – a sort of teaser, if you will:
“Matthew asks: Hi Jonathan, I am really enjoying the book. I have a question about dissent/protest and how to articulate that with Grace. Is that possible? Jesus at times challenges but largely seemed to do it peacefully. How can we dissent/protest with grace but not lose the passion that (arguably rightly) inspires dissent?
Jonathan responds: What a fantastic question! Here is my short answer: One, never forget the humanity of the folks that oppose you. I can get real self-righteous real quick when I forget that my “enemies” are driven by the same insecurities that I am, that they are fellow travelers too—that even when I think I see in them a kind of violence, “they know not what they do” even when they are crucifying someone.
Two, I think we can dissent with grace when we don’t allow ourselves to be personally offended—which is much easier said than done of course. But if I don’t allow my posture to get defensive either on behalf of Jesus (who is already risen from the dead, and therefore does not need my defense in the least), or myself (I’ve got nothing that ultimately needs to be defended), then I am better able to ensure that the protest really is about the people God cares about most deeply as opposed to my own axe to grind. And that makes all the difference. When we are standing up with Jesus alongside the wounded, marginalized and hurting, it is a very different sprit than when we are standing up for a Jesus we think needs our defending or standing up for ourselves. From there we speak with the authority that comes from compassion, and people can feel the difference I think.”