I have recently revisited St Boniface, about whom I’ve written before, as a potential model for church leadership today — leading the disciplined monastic life and making disciples. And as I write my new Thing About Boniface, I see lovely words spilling forth from my fingertips about how the disciplined life, combined with articulate presentations of the Gospel, may make disciples.
It may get us killed.
Like St Boniface.
This is an important aspect of the Christian walk we do not consider much in our society. In Wild at Heart, Eldredge has a passage where he talks about how he told his son in grade one to get up and punch a bully back. And then he explained that our usual way of reading “turn the other cheek” ends up making passive men who run away.
He may be right, but his response is possibly wrong, too.
I think the scary, daring part of this teaching from Our Lord is that it’s an act of defiance. You stand back up and say, “Hit me again.” Non-violence is not about running away. It is not about being passive. It’s about literally turning the other cheek, saying to the perpetrator, “What about this cheek?”
These are big words on my part. I avoid conflict of most kinds. Nonetheless, I wonder what would happen if more of us truly took non-violence to heart and resisted evil by suffering.
Maybe we’d make more disciples.
Maybe we’d get killed.
But what does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his own soul?