I couldn’t begin to say this any better. Linday Paris-Lopez’ recent article on the “Sermon on the Mount” , posted in  Sojourner’s  Magazine online is well worth your attention.

If you subscribe, you’ll find it here: https://sojo.net/articles/sermon-mount-theology-resistance.

If not, I’ve quoted extensively, below.


“……The Sermon on the Mount is a call to resistance. It has always been subversive and counter-cultural. Because of its core ethic of nonviolence and its insistence on the blessing of the powerless, it can be misinterpreted as a dissuasion from action, a plea to settle down and accept authority. Yet it uproots and overturns a conventional order built on and maintained by violence. The Sermon on the Mount calls on us to repent. Repentance is the first step of resistance. Before the powers of exclusion, greed, and coercion sweep us along in their destructive path, we are called to repent — turn around — and resist the tide that threatens to drown us all.

The Sermon on the Mount catches us in the current of our cultural violence and turns us around first by drawing our attention to the victims swept under the wave of human violence.How are the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the ones who hunger and thirst for justice, blessed? Jesus blessed the people on the margins of his culture by embracing them, showing solidarity with them, building a community in which those who had always been shunned were welcomed and loved. As the body of Christ, we are called to be that blessing.

…… Jesus’s vision of healing a world in pain begins with blessing, not blame, so that we may keep our focus on those in need of comfort. This is not to say that Jesus leaves us with nothing to say to those who wield powers of oppression and violence. Acknowledging the victims of oppression, meeting them at the margins and building community upon their inclusion and well-being is the first step toward subverting and transforming oppressive systems. ”

And there’s more, in Matthew 5:38-41, Jesus gives instruction on how to handle those who mete out oppression:

“Neither acquiesce to evil nor return evil for evil, Jesus instructs, but reject oppression by asserting your own dignity with firm compassion, refusing to participate in or perpetuate the cycle of violence. In doing so, you refuse to be either a helpless victim or a heartless monster, reaffirming not only your own humanity, but also that of the one who would dehumanize you…..He teaches us never to lose sight of the human face in front of us. First we must see the humanity in those trampled by systems of power, and then we must see the humanity in those who wield those systems. Forces of exclusion, greed, and violence transcend even those who seem to control them, gripping humanity in their thrall. Striving to overturn oppressors through violence leaves systems of oppression intact, at most switching the places of victim and victimizer. But Jesus teaches us to overturn systems of violence with active inclusion and compassion.”