The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book "Meeting Jesus in the Dojo" written by Pastor Drew
Why does a Christian pastor teach violence?
It is like why a lifeguard teaches children how to swim when they are at the pool; two reasons. First, it is dangerous if you don’t. Second, you are already surrounded by the threat. Teaching violence is a redirection of what is.
But why a pastor?
The reason is simple: it is holy. Martial arts is intrinsically spiritual. From the breathing and visualizing, to the discipline, to the preparation for harming another human being. It is not to be taken lightly. Karate is a road. Constructed of Katas that trod an ancient path delivered to us. We honor those former links in the chain, and preserve what we received. This mentality is heavy.
Jesus was a man of honor. He was a man acquainted with violence. There were no fairy tales in his repertoire of stories. “Where they will be bound and cut asunder, to the place with weeping and gnashing of teeth,”(1) was a typical ending for his parables. Under the Roman rule, criminals were cruelly executed and often.
“Those who live by the sword, will die by the sword,”(2) was Jesus observation. It is true. Jesus traveled with armed men. (3)
Jesus entered the story and the mindset of His audience. To the fishermen, He bid them cast their nets on the other side. To the farmers, He spoke of “sowing seeds and differing soils.” To the managers and wealthy, He told stories of rulers leaving investments and taking new territories. He met each where they were.
So, what would he be to those kids on the graffiti ridden block? How would He approach the black-eyed, swollen-cheek, just got slapped by their mom 12-year old? Or the freshman whose cousin just got shot by a rival gang? Could He be the master teacher if violence was the topic? Could He enter the dojo and be called Sensei or was He only “Rabi” to the Jews? (4)
Emmanuel is “God with us.” (5) If God was willing to make the journey to become a human being. The infinite put on finite. The immortal became a man. The great “I am that I am” never in need became hungry and thirsted and required sleep. Because God was willing to become one of us, why would He not enter a dojo? If He came this far, I think He would bow in and cross the wooden floor.
We must teach violence. And for that I will be corrected. Martial arts teach control. Self-control, bodily coordination, and most importantly, spiritual control.
The Revelation of Jesus returning it is a blood bath. It is filled with scenes of battle. The vultures gather at Armageddon knowing a feast will ensue. Like Jesus said; “Where the corpses lay, the buzzards gather.” (6)
Jesus was not nice! He was never naive (from which the word nice is derived). Never was he unaware or people pleasing. “He had no need for what people thought of Him, for He knew the realness of humanity.” (7)
Jesus was a master of control. “No man ever spoke like Him.” (8) “He spoke with authority and not as the religious leaders.” (9) For forty days He fasted. (10) He was silent before his lying accusers. (11) His timing was impeccable. “My time has not yet come, my time has not yet come, My time has not yet come,” was almost a mantra with Him. (12) Until it did come. What a bloody mess that was. On the cross, He released His own spirit. (13)
So how can the followers of the man who was beaten, whipped and crucified not be acquainted with violence?
There is a Kingdom Jesus taught often of. One in which we are called to enter while living this life. This is what it is and what it takes; “The kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force.” (15)
References- 1-lk13:28, 2-mt26:52, 3-lk22:38, 4- jn1:38, 5- mt1:23, 6- lk17:37, 7- jn2:24, 8- jn7:46, 9- mt7:29, 10- mt4:2, 11- isa53:7, 12- jn7:6-8, 30, 13- jn19:30, 14- mt11:12