The Church Militant

Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp is a former regular here at Ordinary Times who lives in a small rural town about two hours southwest of Portland, Oregon with his wife, kids, and dog. He enjoys studying and writing about the world of employment, which is good because that's his job. You can find him on Twitter.

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18 Responses

  1. NewDealer says:

    These sorts of fights seem to have been going on since time immemorial to use a cliche. The problem is that the spiritual violence can easily turn to physical violence against Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, non-Believers, and Catholics he considers to be heretics.

    Muscular Christianity seems to be a constant fact for people who can’t stand the pacifism of Jesus. A constant need to make Jesus into an action hero with machine guns and rocket launchers.Report

    • James K in reply to NewDealer says:

      Quite so. We’ve seen what happens when Christianity gets violent, and it was a disaster of epic proportions.

      I also find it impossible to inhabit the mind of someone who thinks the Catholic Church is a hotbed of modern thinking.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

      I think its a debatable proposition whether or not Jesus was a pacifist and totally committed towards non-violence. Same goes for his disciples. There are parts of the New Testament that are not inconsistent with the idea of righteous violence. Jesus did not deal with the money-lenders in the Temple, money lenders that were doing a perfectly valid task under Jewish law, in a pacifistic manner.

      Large parts of both Testaments and the Qu’Ran are fine with the idea that sometimes, violence is the proper solution to the problem.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to LeeEsq says:

        To my knowledge the cleansing of the Temple is the sole episode in which Jesus seems to demonstrate even a potential for violence, and even it is ambiguous.

        And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” Gospel of John, 2:13–16.

        But it’s not clear to me whether Jesus actually whipped the vendors or just scared them enough that they ran away. The bit about making the whip and then driving the vendors out, that suggests that he used the whip. But the vendors seemed to be able to take the livestock with them, which suggests to me a controlled enough exit so as to allow time to clear the animals out. Maybe Jesus had to crack the whip, and got the rest of the crowd rallied behind him, and the rest of the vendors decided they didn’t want any of that and started packing up their things to go. What is clear is that Jesus was pissed off.

        Where were the civil authorities? Was there a general prohibition on the carrying of weapons within a certain distance of the Temple? But even so, there were plenty of Roman soldiers about, meaning if nothing else big dudes with swords and the know-how to use them (beyond the obvious “put the pointy bit in the other fellow”) whose paramount mission was to keep the locals under control, and a riot breaking out in their obviously important temple doesn’t sound even remotely consistent with that instruction.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Judea was probably one of the least desirable posts in the Roman Empire. It had to be administrated very carefully and the Romans new well enough that one mistake could send off a really nasty rebellion. You needed tough-minded but not stupid governors that would react more than act. The Romans probably had a policy of not doing things to anger the Jews on religious issues whenever possible.

        In the case of the moneylenders, they fulfilled a valid religious function. Every Jewish man was supposed to pay a half-shekel tax to the Temple during Pesach. The tax had to be paid in the form of the shekel coin. By the time of Jesus, the Jewish population was widespread enough that the pilgrims were coming in from hundreds or thousands of miles away with all sorts of coins. The moneylenders changed those coins into shekels so the Temple tax could be paid. The Romans most likely were more cautious during Pesach because religious feelings and national tensions were running high. The Romans probably would deal with any disturbance after the fact and in a relatively discrete way rather than reading the riot act.Report

      • Brooke Taylor in reply to LeeEsq says:

        The best interpretation I’ve read about the moneychanger incident attempts to put Jesus’s actions in the context of late Second Temple Judaism.

        The priestly elite were living a pretty comfortable existence as the primary mediators between the Jewish people and the Roman imperial government. At the same time, corruption and greed made it very difficult for the average Jew to afford all of the taxes, travel, and offerings required to practice the religion. Overturning the tables in the courtyard of the temple was not protest against their existence, but rather against the exploitative practices they were engaged in.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Judea was probably one of the least desirable posts in the Roman Empire.

        Try investigating a crime when the suspects all answer every question with another question.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq says:

        @brooke-taylor, that is not the traditionally Jewish interpretation of the money changer incident. The traditionally Jewish interpretation was that Jesus was basically engaging in a heretical disruption of the Pesach festival. A lot of Jews hold to a more pro-Jesus version of the incident for a variety of reasons including assimilation and the fact that being anti-Jesus isn’t considered socially acceptable. Bellow is a link to the Talmudic defense of the money changers.

  2. Mike Schilling says:

    Interesting that you write about Voris when over at MD we’re preparing to read about Vorbis. They have more in common than their names.Report

  3. Stillwater says:

    Is all this a problem? It is if you think the spiritual life should be directed towards God.

    What if a person’s God is wrathful, vengeful, jealous and genocidal?

    Personally, I think spiritual life should be directed inwardly, towards one’s self. If there is a God, that’s the only place we’d ever find him/her/it.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

      Oh, and I forgot to add, very nice post.

      And one other thing: Pope Francis just turned over the tables in the Vatican Bank, which sounds like a good thing given the evidence of what those money changers were doing.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

      Look inward instead? What if you are wrathful, vengeful, jealous, and genocidal?Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

        Well, it’s complicated, yes? Seems to me, tho, that a person who’s looking for God won’t find it out there unless they already have an idea of what they’re looking for. But that’s a big old circle, isn’t it?

        If we think that spirituality is a different thing than psychology – in the sense that religion and various conceptions of God don’t reduce to a psychological (or more physical terms more broadly) – then it’s different than religion (since religion, it seems to me, can for the most part be so reduced).

        Of course, the meaning of the word “spirituality” is something people disagree about. For some it’s just acting in accordance with the tenets of a religion.Report

  4. Pinky says:

    I pretty much agree with Kyle on this. I’ve seen a few of Voris’s shows, and he strikes me as a very ordinary populist. A few selected facts woven together to construct an adversarial story. Any disagreement in approach is considered an act of disloyalty to the cause.Report

  5. Cojuanco says:

    The problem with Voris is that he mistakes the fight against the Devil with striking the persons oppressed by the Devil. He is so eager for combat he doesn’t care if he unfairly targets the oppressed. This is contrary to what St. Ignatius would have done and said.Report

  6. This reminds me of the previous post on the Muscular Jesus.

    I think you’re right, Michael Voris is actually far more focused on evil and everything bad in the world than he is on God.

    He also mistakes the focus of the spiritual battle. It reminds me of the Muslim principle of Greater and Lesser Jihad. The Greater Jihad is the struggle within your self to submit to the will of Allah. The lesser Jihad is the external struggle against the infidel. Michael Voris’ faith conflates the two Jihads, he is not at war against his own concupiscence, but rather at his external enemies. He’s not even at war against spiritual forces, but against earthly ones.Report