South Park, Eco-Prophets, and Whale Wars

By Jarrod McKenna 1-13-2010

South Park famously set up how the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is "branded" as a group of "hardcore-any-means-necessary-pirates." In reality, however, they are just at the spiky-end of nonviolent direct action and have never harmed a single individual in their 33 year history of costly intervention on behalf of God's good creation. I have a close friend who is a Sea Shepherd activist on "Steve Irwin" and deeply, deeply respect her, so I in no way write this to have-a-go. (Eric, Stan, Kyle and Kenny did a good job of that without my help.)

Instead I mention this record in the context of one of their vessels (the Ady Gil) being sunk by a Japanese whaling ship and the hot international issue it has become between Japan, Australia, and New Zealand (with the U.S. deciding if it wants to wade into those waters).

Some want to turn Jesus into a safe, passive pacifist interested in creating a holy huddle hoping for an elsewhere heaven while the world goes to hell, and others (as Mark Driscoll famously articulated) reject the nonviolent way of the cross because he "can't worship a [Christ] I can beat up." Yet the courage of militant nonviolence seen in the Sea Shepherd crew might act as an icon into understanding the risen Christ's alternative to these two bad options. The provocative peace the historical Jesus of the gospels proclaims comes like a sword and turns over the tables of injustice while harming no one.

As we debate if it was the Ady Gil in the way or the Japanese research vessel with deliberate disregard for their lives in ramming them, Christians might prayerfully consider how we might have sanitized and suffocated the wild, nonviolent Christ of the New Testament into our own image (instead of letting our lives be remade in his).

Here's the video of the incident. Make up your own mind. [If you prefer not to hear a lot of profanity, just turn off the sound -- the visual tells the story.]

Lord, give us the courage to enter into the costly nonviolence of the cross for the good of all of creation in witness to your coming kingdom.



Jarrod McKenna is seeking to live God's love in a world where business as usual is costing us the earth (at the expense of the poor). He is a co-founder of the Peace Tree Community serving with the marginalised in one of the poorest of areas in his city, heads up Together for Humanity in Western Australia (an inter-faith youth initiative working for the common good), and is the founder and creative director of Empowering Peacemakers (EPYC), for which he has received an Australian peace award in his work for in empowering a generation of "eco-evangelists" and "peace prophets."

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