May 16, 2014 Editor

Chapter Forty-Five

In 2007 I first published Chrysalis Crucible, a coming-of-age novel about young Andy Norton who goes off to West Berlin in the early seventies to evangelize – with all the answers. You can find a page about it on this website.

I’ve republished it (2015) as Kindle eBook and Amazon print-on-demand.

Andy discovers in West Berlin instead that not only are people not asking the questions to which he has answers, he is being confronted with a barrage of questions coming at him so fast and furious like clay pigeons in a skeet shoot, that he has no time let alone capacity to keep up with answers.

Not least is this the case temporally with massive State violence blessed by the Western church. Not least is this the case spiritually with a doctrine of hell of eternal conscious torment, the Ultimate Cosmic Violence, and blessed by the Western church. (See for example “Farewell, Rob Bell”.)

Andy writes at times to a future self, “Professor Norton” in a bid for answers. The Professor is as silent as God. Or is he/He?

One such letter follows an intense conversation with young medical doctor Hans Beutler, who shakes Andy to the core about church endorsed violence in the West. (Please also see: Chapter Forty-Eight.)

An excerpt:

Dear Professor Norton:
Dan told me once that he could deal with the straight-on attacks against the faith fairly easily. Most had to do with starting-point questions, epistemology. It was the fifth-columnist stuff that got to him. Not least for him the question, if Christianity is so true, why is the church so false?

Well, I have a variation. If Christianity is about Love Incarnate, why is its face to the world through the centuries so often one of Hate Manifest (American “Manifest Destiny,” for instance)?

I thought I knew an easy answer. “They’re not true Christians in those churches.” Besides the sheer arrogance of that, it’s a tad more troubling if I listen to Hans Beutler, whom I’m sure you know. Turns out that Christianity’s vaunted love ethic—love of God, neighbour, and enemy—isn’t quite that way in the Church after all. That contradiction is well disguised under the Church’s doctrine of the State. The real bare-bones ethic goes something like this: “Love your enemies, do good to them. But the real enemies, the ones who actually might kill you, whom you would like to kill, who might do you harm, whom you would love to throttle, does the Church have good news for you! Jesus allows you to turn them over to the State to do an end-run around everything He taught.” You see, there’s the “personal gospel,” and there’s the “State gospel.” And everything holding you back from evil toward the enemy personally is handily available through the State. Just a tad more bureaucracy! “Murder” is the State’s supreme prerogative, according to Evangelicals. Oh, the word is dressed up in more elegant semantics like “capital punishment” and “just war.” But it is all killing. Murder in the first degree—in the worst degree.

Please click: Chapter Forty-Five

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.