Amber Guyger and Brandt Jean – Forgiveness – the Most Radical Teaching of Christ – in Practice

Botham Jean,  a 26-year-old accountant, was sitting at home in his apartment, eating ice cream, when Amber Guyger, a policewoman, entered his home and shot him.  He was black, she is white.   There have been a number of shooting of black suspects by white police officers.  But the narrative is not as simplistic as the tribes like to make out.  Yes – level of violence amongst African Americans is in general higher than other groups.  And yes – there is significant evidence of racism and violence against African Americans by some police officers.  Systemic and individual racism is an ongoing problem in the US…but what is the answer?

Amber Guyger stated that she thought it was her apartment (she was Botham’s neighbour) and that he was a burglar.  She has just been found guilty and sent to jail for ten years.  It would be understandable if the family were upset at the leniency of this sentence – she will probably be out after five years – for killing a man in cold blood. I have no idea how I would react….but this from Botham’s brother, Brandt, is extraordinary.  Watch the whole clip.

 

Christopher Hitchens declared that the most evil doctrine of Christianity was ‘love your enemy’.   It was impossible to do and wrong to command.    Reading the reactions to Brandt’s words and actions it appears that there are plenty who agree.

For me it is the most wonderful example of forgiveness.  A forgiveness that is only possible because of Christ and his atoning death on the cross.  This is the only thing that can heal the racial and other divisions in our culture.   This is radical love.   Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  This is a radical prayer.   This is real Christianity.

How Do You Achieve Forgiveness? – A.S.K 17

19 thoughts on “Amber Guyger and Brandt Jean – Forgiveness – the Most Radical Teaching of Christ – in Practice

  1. That’s the only way to break the cycle of violence, retribution and retaliation on top of it all. It’s always easy to say from the outside, and amazing to watch when someone on the inside does it. Thanks for posting it!

  2. Thank you, David, so much for sharing this.
    This is not the clip that makes our news feeds.
    They don’t care so much about hearing and seeing what real love and forgiveness looks like but rather about the glaring headlines of white officers convicted in the cold-blooded murder of a black man.

    This young man has given us all, especially this police officer, the greatest gift that can be given to another…that of unconditional love in the face of all that is evil.

  3. How could any person not be deeply touched by that clip; by the young man’s words; by the glimpse of even the judge wiping her eyes? May she take deep note of what he said, that some good come out of a tragic situation. My he be blessed for his courage in speaking as he did. May the whole family of the young man who was killed know the deep peace that comes only from the Lord.

  4. Thank you, David. Incredibly moving to hear and see, and to witness the profound degree of grace in Brandt’s life, and in the offer of Christ,

  5. The rub is that forgiveness is no longer seen by the world as a costly gift, but an obligation they have the right to demand. “You’re a Christian, why don’t you just forgive like you’re supposed to and stop asking for justice or an end to (some ongoing abuse)?” And if it isn’t delivered, the victim is now further assaulted by the public and Press, whose comfortable worldview and reluctance to challenge wrong remain uncomfortably exposed until the victim complies. And then both public and abuser take that costly gift utterly for granted and neither their hearts nor anything else change.

    This case rightly includes justice (the offence was clearly recognised by the court and a sentence given), without which mercy is meaningless.

    To let pass something that offends you but is not of itself wrong is merely conceding justice: to let it pass because you have no hope of justice, or because you’ve been coerced or shamed into performing forgiveness when you aren’t yet able to do it honestly, isn’t mercy and pretty much cripples forgiveness under a double load of wrong. Mercy requires justice, the recognition of wrong, for its very existence – just as justice requires mercy to prevent it becoming mere revenge.

    God’s wisdom is the marrying of both, and the making of healing possible. Blessed be He!

  6. Off-topic but here is some material that may be of use in your next Quantum:

    https://amp.theaustralian.com.au/nation/samesex-unions-divide-church/news-story/fd100312154ee4aaa3e7a5e035f3784e

    Christian school principal critiques Greta and is attacked by notorious “progressive” Anglican Gregory Jenks:

    https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-01/greta-thunberg-attacked-in-coffs-harbour-school-newsletter/11562726

    (Jenks typically writes material like this:
    https://gregoryjenks.com/2018/03/29/rethinking-the-cross-of-jesus/ )

    Infamous/controversial liberal Anglican Father Rod Bower is going to hold a seminar attacking the proposed religious freedom laws and Israel Folau:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/FrBower/status/1179553411026415617

    Brisbane Anglican Dean Peter Catt’s “friend” Stuart Edser is active on Twitter again, twisting the Bible to support sodomy and using name-calling to intimidate anyone with a mainstream/orthodox interpretation of those passage…

    https://mobile.twitter.com/StuartEdser/with_replies

    More to follow….

  7. Dean Peter Catt is quick to defend people like Stuart Edser but he willing attacks/alienates/ignores Christians with orthodox views. It seems like he is trying to drive them from the Anglican Church, just like the Uniting progressives are in the first linked article above.

    Anyway, I have learned some other things about Dean Peter Catt recently… In the media, he has often bragged that he is willing to be arrested for protest activities, such as protecting asylum seekers and opposing the Adani coal mine:

    https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/dean-of-brisbane-would-put-himself-between-authorities-and-asylum-seekers-20160204-gmlwrs.html

    https://m.dailyexaminer.com.au/news/religious-leader-threatens-to-chain-himself-to-bul/3603062/

    Of course, these boasts have come to nothing. However, I learned that recently somebody did protest at the Cathedral – about the Diocese of Brisbane’s culture of bullying, liberalism/pro-gay stance and child abuse cover-ups. Apparently Dean Peter Catt was very quick to call the police to have the protestor arrested. His hypocrisy is astounding.

    I used to think that Dean Peter Catt was just very eccentric but hypocritical acts like this and other sinister events at the Brisbane Anglican Cathedral have made me realise just how dangerous and evil these false shepherds are. Catt has introduced gay liturgues, a blatantly blasphemous “rainbow Christ” which includes a mention of an “erotic Christ” and bizarre practices such as so-called “Christian yoga”. Bishop Jeremy Greaves has publicly called for the Apostle’s Creed to be jettisoned. These figures are also, of course, pushing for same-sex marriage ceremonies to be held in the church. They are also linked to the notorious Westar Institute/Jesus Seminar and promote the “progressive Christianity” espoused by the likes of the late Marcus Borg, even though the Jesus Seminar and its progressive ideas have been thoroughly debunked by much more reputable academics.

    The Archbishop, Philip Aspinall, is known for his hatred of evangelicals (apparently he despised George Carey and loved Rowan Williams). He knowingly put extreme liberals like Dean Peter Catt, Dean of the Sunshine Coast Jeannette Jamieson, Bishop Jeremy Greaves and transgender theologian Jo Inkpin into positions of power to drive an extremely liberal agenda and promote American-style liberal Jesus Seminar theology in Brisbane.

    I also recently learned Archbishop Aspinall, Dean Peter Catt and Gregory Jenks all contributed to a progressive Christianity text book called “The Once and Future Scriptures”. There is a scathing review here:

    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/euangelion/2013/05/book-review-anglican-bibliology-for-a-progressive-audience/

    Some quotes from the review:

    “Peter Catt (“Scripture, Science, and the Big Story”) is the oddest piece, arguing that we should reject the biblical storyline since it created the oppressive “Christendom narrative” and opt instead for a meta-narrative based on quantum physics and evolution.”
    *”””
    “…I am also cognizant of the situation in Brisbane where most Anglican parishes and the Anglican social services are inhabited by people who don’t know anything about the Bible, don’t believe the Bible, are not remotely interested in the Bible, and even find a large proportion of the Bible repugnant – how do you interest them in taking the Bible seriously? I get it!

    However, if you find yourself asking a question along the lines: Why should Anglicans (or any Christian for that matter) bother to read Scripture, then something has gone seriously wrong. Even worse, telling people that the Bible is okay because it is not binding nor believable, and one should feel free to pick and choose verses or vignettes that sound warmly queer or wonderfully quaint, is not exactly a winning strategy for stirring people to take up and read Scripture. In fact, I would say that you are willfully departing from the catholic faith when you insist that God does not actually reveal himself in Scripture, when you start denigrating the biblical authors as morally reprehensible ignoramuses (esp. the Old Testament and St. Paul), mock its contents, chastize people who actually believe it, and urge people to take it in any sense other than literally.”
    ****
    “….the authors look as if they are plotting a course towards a transcendent atheism which knows neither revelation nor redemption; a faith beyond canon and creed; a community embarrassed about its religious heritage and now wants make good by plotting a way that it can make minimal usage of its scriptural paraphernalia while retaining a philanthropic role for itself in society. ”
    ****
    “I pray that the Brisbane Diocese has a “Barthian Moment,” where some eccentric priest in the place – much like Karl Barth in 1918 – stands up and starts preaching Scripture with the ferocity of a man or a woman who really believes that God is making his arresting voice heard afresh. A preacher who has the chutzpah and conviction to say that Scripture is not a warm up act for ethics or economics, but it is about God confronting us with his all-embracing grace and his all-satisfying majesty. A vicar who might show scandalous contempt for assuaging secular unbelief and talks with outrageous disregard for cultural acceptance. A preacher who drops a bombshell in a postmodern paradise and says that Scripture is not a mirror, not a maze, but the divine “memra,” a word from another world. A preacher who acts if he really believes what he/she is’ preaching so that audiences will discover that the Word of God is not an symphony of religious aesthetics, not a relic of a once religious past, but Scripture is the Holy Spirit speaking to us, and his Word is Christ, and Christ is Saviour…”

    I had better stop here but it shows how far removed the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane now is from orthodox Christian truth because of this leadership team.

      1. Hello Pastor

        I have another link here that provides more insight into Dean Peter Catt’s heterodox theology. Sorry to harp on do much about this but if/when you approach the Brisbane Anglican Cathedral, you had better know what to expect.

        Catt wrote this article earlier this year for the Saint James King Street parish magazine. Saint James King Street is one of the few Anglo-Catholic parishes in the Sydney diocese and is known for its large homosexual congregations. (One of Brisbane’s current bishops, Jonathan Holland, was a preacher there early in his career.)

        Here is the article by Catt. It spans three pages, so swipe across to turn them:

        http://online.anyflip.com/iupi/zcjs/mobile/index.html

        We can see from this he rejects sola scriptura and his theology is also imbalanced in that it underestimates God’s role in inspiring scripture and seeks to raise current academic knowledge to the same level.

        It is interesting he is so defensive and frightened with regard to simple forms of interpretation, given the majority of early readers of these texts were Roman slave classes and Jewish agrarian peasants.

        Also it is notable that his more sophisticated, questioning approaches promoted in the article haven’t arrested the massive crash in congregation sizes in Brisbane and may have actually contributed to them.

        Anyway, I hope this article helps you gain insight into the culture/mindset these liberals have fostered in Brisbane.

      2. Sigh. One last bizarre opinion piece from Catt I found, on bullying.

        https://www.smh.com.au/opinion/christians-are-not-the-victims-in-the-marriage-equality-debate-20170413-gvkf6e.html

        As you have documented on thid blog, many Christians have been substantially bullied or persecuted in the same-sex marriage and identity politics debates. For Catt to claim otherwise shows he has his head buried in the sand at best and is unaware of the realities of life for workers, or he is being deliberately disingenuous at worst as he continues to push the homosexual agenda.

        Interestingly, though, it is Catt himself who holds power as part of the “Establishment’s” church in Brisbane and, as has been documented here and elsewhere, there is a significant culture of bullying in the Diocese of Brisbane. Catt would be better off removing the beam from his own eye before commenting on the speck in other people’s. The story above about his treatment of the protester, to say nothing of the chikd abuse cover-ups, intimidation of parishioners by some clergy and the fact other clergy are frightened of publishing or recording sermons in case the bishop disapproves of something said in them all illustrate the culture of bullying that exists in the rigid hierarchy of the Diocese. Catt is part of this culture and helps facilitate it even if he is acting merely as Archbishop Aspinall’s proxy mouthpiece in the media as many suspect.

        Okay, I have talked too much about this subject so I will drop it now. I hope all of this information about the toxic culture in Brisbane and the hostility towards scriptural orthodoxy helps you in your role when you have to engage with these personalities, Pastor David. I have told you as much as I can. I really hope they do let you speak at the Cathedral one day soon and that Third Space can be a catalyst for cultural change in the Diocese. I pray to God for your work and that this Diocese may be reformed. Christ be with you.

  8. Phew ! I can’t let this posting past without making comment . This must rank as the , or one of the top blog postings in “Flea” ministry. I have never seen grace so evident in action in my fifty plus year long walk with Jesus !

  9. I think I should quite one key paragraph from the second review since I saw a comment on here the other day from someone who was asking about the historicity of Exodus and Joshua having been previously misled by the Jesus Seminar crowd.

    “Jenks ignores serious and sophisticated treatments of these aspects of Scripture in the last twenty to thirty years. Is he really so unaware of the scholarship of men like Kenneth Kitchen, Allan Millard, F. F. Bruce and Paul Barnett when he insists that ‘the events represented in the Bible [are] more often fictional than historical’ (p. 14)? The evidence in fact goes in entirely the opposite direction from his claim that ‘[a]s a result of our increased knowledge of the ancient past, the historical character of the Bible has been seriously compromised’ (p. 13). This reads like the liberalism of the early twentieth century that was found to be so seriously lacking in credibility in the second half of the century. ”

    So most serious scholars are asserting the historicity and validity of scriptures, to the chagrin of Gregory Jenks, Dean Peter Catt, Aspinall, Greaves, Jeanette Jamieson and their crowd who relish in twisting scrjptures to push their gay/women pastor/liberal agenda. 🙁

    Source – a lot more good and thoughtful academic criticisms of the book found here: http://markdthompson.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/the-once-and-future-scriptures.html

  10. Dear David —

    The only part of this wonderful article you’ve written that I would take issue with is the reference to “the systemic and individual racism ongoing in the U.S…”. I would say that it is a worldwide problem. To isolate the problem to the US only makes it sound as if the US is really the only part of the world that deals with this issue when that is the furthest from the truth. Racism — both systemic and individual runs rampant around the world. Race-based crime without a doubt runs rampant around the world as well. Forgiveness shouldn’t just be something we do in the States, but also in France, Germany, the UK, the Middle East etc. The entire world is complicit here and God loved us all and asked us all to forgive one another just as He forgave us. Thank you and God bless you always.

  11. As the root religion of European – spread Christianity ( Europe was formerly known as Christendom) is Middle Eastern Judaism not an exemplar in non – forgiveness.?

    Is it any wonder that the Jews have a vastly different concept of the vengeance/ forgiveness dichotomy?

    Any neutral observer might opine that in terms of cultural , and by that I mean racial, survival the Jews are nonpareil and European Christians have decided to abolish themselves.

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