A Great Campaign of Sabotage

Enemy-occupied territory--that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.

--C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I really like this quote from C.S. Lewis as it captures my vision of "spiritual warfare." This is the vision that I tried to articulate in my "Warfare and Weakness" series, a vision of what spiritual warfare looks like for progressive Christians. (See the sidebar.)

Specifically, as I tried to articulate in that series, the "weapon" of spiritual warfare was Jesus's weapon: his cross, his self-giving love. Jesus's self-giving love is how he "defeated" the principalities and powers. The cross is how we "fight" evil.

The paradox, of course, the foolishness of the cross, is that love is weakness. That is what I like about Lewis's quote. Spiritual warfare isn't top-down domination. For it's the "satan" who is actually the "ruler of the world," the one engaged in top-down domination. Spiritual warfare, rather, comes up from the bottom, from the location of weakness. Spiritual warfare isn't the winning of the powerful but the sabotage of the weak.

Spiritual warfare is Love's "great campaign of sabotage."

Or what I like to call the subversion of doing beautiful things.

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6 thoughts on “A Great Campaign of Sabotage”

  1. Thanks so much for the recent posts on the themes of power and weakness, Richard. I shamelessly plagiarised your venn diagrams last Sunday when Amy spoke for ten minutes on serving others in our weakness and I mirrored with...well, you get the idea. Just to let you know that your blogs do sometimes get a wider airing than you may realise and where to send the royalty invoice. P.S. Loving the book so far - I never get over your gift for expressing the deep and profound with such accessible clarity. Blessings

  2. Love being greater than all things is true, not because it is stated in the Bible; it is in the Bible because love is the eternal and universal power. When we observe the reality around us we can see how life, from the death and new birth of stars to the season of Spring in which the smallest leaf and blade of grass dies to give life, is, in itself, a continuous death and resurrection, love being the power that makes this happen within the mind and soul of the human being.

    This being the case, is it necessary to try to convince a non-Christian that he or she must accept a miraculous or supernatural interpretation of Christianity in order to experience its love and new life? Is it not true that the cross can be presented as a death for life, and if we just allow it to shine on others, such as Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, and any other human being who gives of self, that resurrection, sacrifice and reconciliation are recognized as not being such strange concepts after all? In short, what makes them strange is when we allow our selfishness to be the image of the norm.

  3. What needs to be sabotaged more, a world system that calls good evil and evil good or a religious system bent on condemning everyone that's not like they (we) are? These powers and principalities are tricky things.

  4. 3am, "Love being greater than all things is true, not because it is stated in the Bible; it is in the Bible because love is the eternal and universal power."

    I like how you put this. In other words, what is real, is real because it's real- not because it's in the Bible. The way you're putting this let's me see the Bible as something more like a curator; Jesus's life is real historically speaking; when his immediate followers saw in him something that they themselves wished could be made into normal human qualities, they saw a reality worth aspiring toward in real ways. The Bible as curator, collects such moments of reality in a way that's more than a history book- kind of; even an author of contemporary history books write from a point of view. So in this case, what's distinguishing the Bible from other books of history, is more than a claimed authorship, but a pov.

    The question becomes, what's the pov of this curating book we call the Bible. Why did this pov collect the events it did, and not others- even practical ones like "how to set a broken bone?"

    Anyway, you've got me thinking. Thank you. M

  5. I realize that this question is one that may seem rhetorical to some. I didn't mean it as such. I really would like to know where our energies should directed. I suppose the answer may be both, and either may get you killed.

  6. "...the subversion of doing beautiful things." It's a wonderful phrase. Might you unpack your meaning a bit? (The cross is not conventionally beautiful, after all. Yet I have a sense of what you mean. I guess I'm asking for you take on how it gets that "sense.)

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