playground

So I am committed to non-violence. Well, I had lunch with Paul Steinke yesterday and we were talking about violence and Christian responses and he was lovingly challenging me on my stance, and drawing out my heritage. We got talking about René Girard, as Paul is in process of reading The Girard Reader, and though we didn’t get into Walter Wink’s work he also has some interesting things to say about violence.

Here are a couple of links to Girard speaking on the subject:
– Oxford 1997: “Violence, Victims and Christianity: The D’Arcy Lecture.”
– Innsbruck 2003: “Shakespeare on Passions.” (he begins in French but will switch to English)

Its not that I don’t do violence – I do and very often I am not even aware of my own violence. Strong arguments can be made that I do violence by my commitment to non-violence.

When we were at Andrew and Hannah’s wedding, a few weeks ago, we attended a baseball game. The ball field had a kids’ play structure where I took Pascal (he’s three years old). There was an older kid (maybe 9 or 10) who was the self proclaimed king of the playground. Pascal was sitting on the stairs waiting for his turn to go down the side when the “playground king” walked over and took Pascal’s hat.

Pascal stood up tried to get his hat and then pushed the “playground king.” The older boy played this up, “You want a piece of me?” Which is about when Pascal started to cry.

The “Playground King” returned Pascal’s hat turning it to the side slightly, then moved on to another area of the playground.

I rescued Pascal and comforted him. I asked Pascal how he was feeling, and he resumed his tears, he wasn’t angry, he was sad. He didn’t understand what had just happened.

Once his fears were relieved we talked through what happened and I promised him that I would keep him safe. We then set out to find the “playground king.” Holding Pascal’s hand we walked over to him, and I got down on a knee and said something like, “Excuse me, you scared my son and he wants say something to you.” And Pascal said, “Please don’t take my hat anymore – that made me feel sad.” The boy apologized to Pascal. Then we went back to playing.

Did I do violence? Did I permit violence? Did I redeem violence? Other? All the above?

Peace, dwight

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