Shane Claiborne is really an awesome guy from what I know of him. Everything I read of his regarding justice and living the life of Jesus resonates so strongly in me. And this man is really truly honest to goodnessly living it. Any time I read about people like Claiborne, I'm humbled.
This is something he said on Jim Wallis' blog today regarding the death penalty.
It is rather scandalous to think that we have a God who loves murderers and terrorists like Saul of Tarsus, Osama bin Laden, or Sadaam Hussein – but that is the "good news" isn't it? It's the old eye for an eye thing that gets us. But the more I've studied the Hebrew Scriptures the more I am convinced that this was just a boundary for people who lashed back. As the young exodus people are trying to discover a new way of living outside the empire, God made sure there were some boundaries, like if someone breaks your are, you cannot go back and break their arm and their leg. If someone kills hundreds of your people, you cannot kill 160,000 of theirs. ** Read the whole entry here.I personally agree with this interpretation and think it's about time we as Christians started looking at "punishment" differently...through the eyes of a redemptive Christ instead of through the eyes of a vindictive people.
I am the first to admit that, for me, much of this is philosophical (as a member of our faith community pointed out on my blog recently) since I've never experienced what it means to be a victim of a heinous violent crime. So please know that I'm trying not to get overly zealous about this issue. But it's important for all of us Christians to examine our ideals and filter them through the proper lens. And vengeance, no matter how you cut it, is not what we're called to.
I think that our penal system in America is offensive and reprehensible and that as Christians, if we're going to shout down people who receive abortions as murders, then we better turn the shouting inward. It might just cause us to drop our stones and walk away with heads bowed.