I’d like to offer some spiritual advice so that you can read Scripture the way that Jesus did and use it for good purposes.
Offer a prayer for guidance from the Holy Spirit before you make your interpretation of an important text. With an open heart and mind, seek the attitude of a beginner and learner. Pray as long as it takes to feel any certitudes loosen.
Once you have attained some degree of openness, try to move to a position of detachment from your own egoic will and its goals and desires—to be correct, to be secure, to stay with the familiar. This might take some time, but without such freedom from your own need for control, you will invariably make a text say what you need and want it to say.
Then you must listen for a deeper voice than your own, which you will know because it will never shame or frighten you, but rather strengthen you, even when it is challenging you. If it is God’s voice, it will take away your illusions and your violence so completely and so naturally that you can barely identify with such previous feelings! I call this God’s replacement therapy. God does not ask and expect you to do anything new until God has first made it desirable and possible for you to do it. Grace cannot easily operate under coercion, duress, shame, or guilt.
If your understanding of Scripture leads you to experience any or several of the fruits of the Spirit—
- gentleness, and
(Galatians 5:22-23)—I think you can trust that this interpretation is from the Spirit, from the deeper stream of wisdom.
As you read, if you sense any negative or punitive emotions like
- morose delight,
- feelings of superiority,
- arrogant dualistic certitude,
- desire for revenge,
- need for victory, or
- a spirit of dismissal or exclusion,
you must trust that this is not Jesus’ hermeneutic at work, but your own ego still steering the ship.
Remember the temptation of Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4:3-10). Three temptations to the misuse of power are listed:
- religious, and
Even Jesus must face these subtle disguises before he begins his public ministry. Only when he has found freedom from his own egoic need for power can Jesus teach with true inner authority and speak truth to the oppressive powers of his time.
White nationalists all generally agree white people should be in charge, but they have many different competing beliefs about why that is the case, and how white rule should be implemented. These differences are not trivial, and for decades they have prevented a broadly concerted campaign of action by white nationalists in America.
.. Prior to Fields’s attack, Charlottesville was on track to be a clear victory for the alt-right. While attendance of 500 people is a pittance compared to most mainstream political events, it represents a marked upswing from 2016. Simply turning out that many people in one place was an unqualified win.
The fact that few participants sought to conceal their identities was a bold statement about the mainstreaming of white nationalism, which did not go unnoticed during an ominous torch-wielding event the night before the formal rally. Even after the “Unite the Right” rally itself was shut down by authorities as an unlawful assembly in the face of escalating violence, the event was seen as a show of strength.
.. When “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler attempted to hold a press conference on Sunday in Charlottesville, he was chased away by a crowd of people shouting “murderer” and “shame.”.. The question now is how the alt-right will process the backlash, and an early indicator will be seen in Saturday’s marches and rallies.Terrorism is a double-edged sword. While it can help mobilize the most radical segments of an extremist movement, it simultaneously alienates the least radical, including people who are loosely supportive of an extremist movement, or tolerant or dismissive of its rhetorical excesses.
.. it is unclear how those within the alt-right will process its meaning. In the first 24 hours, online adherents responded predictably, with a mix of
- disavowals of Fields, and
- the advancement of conspiracy theories to explain the problem away.
.. If attendance is high and the participants include more of the same Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and other white supremacists in garish costumes and armed to the teeth, it would be hard to interpret that as anything less than extremely alarming.
.. An aggressive showing by antifa groups looking to meet violence with violence could lead to further escalation
.. Some portion of the alt-right is more enamored of Trumpism than of white nationalism.
.. The only certainty is that the week ahead is bound to be interesting and consequential. By the time we reach the other side, Americans will likely have a much clearer picture of the shape and direction of white-nationalist extremism in America.