I am continually confounded by the image of life Jesus presents to us. It truly is a profoundly “other” way of life and understanding!

Matthew 5:38-48 (The Message)
“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

A little more standard translation:

Matthew 5:38-48 The Bible (New International Version)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

A long walk

I walked home yesterday – to my new apartment in Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, where my books and stuff are now out of storage and where I can finally settle in a bit. So, I walked from 5th Ave and 39th St. where I work to St. Andrew’s House on Carroll St. in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. I wanted to see how long of a walk it would actually be. It took me 2 hours at a moderate pace.
Walking that far through Manhattan, across the Brooklyn Bridge, and into Carroll Gardens is a great experience. The walk down Broadway takes one from the Mid-town Fashion District, through the outer edges of Chelsea, the Ironside district, NOHO, SOHO, the edge of China Town, and before the bridge among the federal buildings and town hall and at the edge of the Financial District – Wall Street. I suspect I could add the East Village to the list, too. You see the swanky funkiness of SOHO, all the students of NYU, the well-dressed uptightness of Wall Street, all the tourists with their cameras walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, and the “regular” people coming home from work and walking the neighborhood streets of Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens. You see every color and body type, depictions of most world religions, more languages than I could count, and the hustle and bustle of a big city.
It was a great experience. This is truly a unique place.