Read an Excerpt
Jesus, Bombs, and Ice Cream Study Guide
By Shane Claiborne Ben Cohen
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2012 The Simple Way
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSession 1
Welcome (5 minutes)
Welcome to session one of Jesus, Bombs, and Ice Cream. If this is your first time together as a group, briefly introduce yourselves to each other before you begin.
Introduction (3 minutes)
A verse from the Gospels. "I have come to bring peace, but not like the world brings peace." And another. " Jesus wept over Jerusalem because it did not know the things that would make for peace." In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, one of the earliest human interactions outside the Garden of Eden is murder. Cain killed his brother Abel, and we've been killing each other ever since. No doubt Jesus is still weeping over our cities, and over our world.
Many passages in Scripture show tremendous violence, even violence that it appears God sanctions or ordains. There are texts some theologians call "texts of terror," such as Judges 19, where a woman is cut into pieces and her body parts are sent out to the twelve tribes of Israel. The Bible is not foreign to our world of violence—in fact, it is downright eerie how little has changed in a few thousand years. Nonetheless, one of the reasons we have called this project Jesus, Bombs, and Ice Cream is because Jesus offers an unmistakable and captivating critique of violence.
Ron Sider, an influential voice for Christ-based nonviolence, gave a speech at the Mennonite World Conference in 1984 that was catalytic in starting what has become Christian Peacemaker Teams, an ambitious worldwide movement of nonviolent activists committed to "getting in the way" of violence. Hear his words:
Unless we are prepared to risk injury and death in nonviolent opposition to the injustice our societies foster, we don't dare even whisper another word about pacifism to our sisters and brothers in those desperate lands. Unless we are ready to die developing new nonviolent attempts to reduce international conflict, we should confess that we never really meant the cross was an alternative to the sword. Unless the majority of our people in nuclear nations are ready as congregations to risk social disapproval and government harassment in a clear call to live without nuclear weapons, we should sadly acknowledge that we have betrayed our peacemaking heritage. Making peace is as costly as waging war. Unless we are prepared to pay the cost of peacemaking, we have no right to claim the label or preach the message.
Jesus shows us what love looks like with skin on. "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life" for another. That's where we got this idea that we are to love someone "to death"—even our enemies.
Love looks into the eyes of those who want to hurt us and cries out: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." That's what God is like. On the cross, we see love stare evil in the face and offer a dazzling alternative to the sword. It has been said that the problem is not that we have tried the cross and it failed us ... the problem is we haven't tried the cross. After all, who wants to die? But that is precisely the call of Jesus. Love does not kill. Love dies.
In the bromance between Ben and Shane, they didn't agree on every theological or political issue, but they did agree that we need a world with fewer bombs and more ice cream ... and they also agreed that Jesus offers a stunning spiritual example of an alternative to violence.
Video Teaching (14 minutes)
As you watch the session one video segment, use the following outline to take notes on anything that stands out to you.
All is not well in the world.
Our country spends over $30 billion a year on our nuclear arsenal.
Here is some great news: the US's most powerful bomb—the B53—is being dismantled! This bomb is 600 times the size of the Hiroshima bomb that killed 140,000 people.
The epidemic of violence
Michael Rosario's poem
So just think about the world as a better place As we all sit here expressing faith. Less bombs, more ice cream. Yeah, I said it. More ice cream. God bless.
Video Discussion (38 minutes)
1. How are stories of violence, war, and its aftermath part of your history? Do you have any burdens of violence weighing on your life today?
2. Name some ways you see violence or war impacting your neighborhood. What does violence sound and look like in your context?
3. In what ways do you feel you might personally contribute to violence in our world?
4. Read John 14:27. Compare and contrast the kind of peace that Jesus gives with the kind of peace that the world gives. Which do you typically desire more, and why?
5. We often talk of the "dream of peace" in very general ways. Identify three concrete ways you can respond peacefully to the violence in your world. What changes can you initiate by yourself? Which changes might you imagine initiating with a small group, and who would that group be?
Actions to Consider Between Sessions
Walk through your home, workplace, or neighborhood and identify any objects that are symbols of violence. If appropriate, remove them yourself; otherwise, ask those in charge if they would consider doing so.
To interrupt the patterns of violence this week, offer peace to one person in your life with whom you may be in conflict.
Use your creative talents to envision a peaceful world: write, draw, photograph, sing, dance. Share your vision with the group the next time you meet together.
Read Ron Sider's full address from the 1984 Mennonite World Conference (see footnote 3 for source information). Consider what it really means to be a peacemaker.
Browse the Sustainable Defense Task Force's website (www. comw.org/pda/usdefpolicy). Choose and read one publication and discuss it the next time you meet.
Excerpted from Jesus, Bombs, and Ice Cream Study Guide by Shane Claiborne Ben Cohen Copyright © 2012 by The Simple Way . Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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