Response to Mob Violence. ( July 19 , 2004 )
Or one can be a " Peter " , asking questions which may at the 'wrong' moment stir up consciousness. Guess when we talk about group think or herd mentality , it is not an easy issue to tackle esp since we can also be involved. Be it a Christian mob who kills and torches down houses in Indonesia , right wing groups chanting anti-gay messages who turned violent or rowdy church groups that disrupts others in mamak .. we are susceptible . And one of the most vivid story in the bible that potrays this is when Moses is on the mountain , Aaron was surrounded by the Israelites who wanted to see the "God' who brought them out of Egypt & Aaron agreed.
Being a "Peter' is to acknowledge that we are weak and to grow in maturity when the issue comes out again. Peter denied 3 times the Lord when people in the crowd / mob identified him , so he conformed to the crowd. Yet later when confronted by almost simliar crowd who were stirred with the tongue-speakers, he was able to stand up and testify ( Acts 2:14-41 ) and won over 3000 converts.
"Blessed is the meek , for they will inherit the earth " . Understand that we are called to be humble . And meekness is not weakness but 'power under control'. One of the character of group is the 'strength' in numbers . And in herd mentality , numbers can be associated to power which can falsely assure its group members. So maybe in an initial response to a group situation , ask " Am i showing meekness' ?
We are also called to be wise. 'Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger' Proverbs 29.8 .Understand that we are infuenced by emotions / ego as individuals and groups . So , step out of the group and correct ones emotion and ego. Then decide what to do with the group . Peter was able to address the second group becoz they were not a mob .. yet. But i do think that we can be "Peter the Rock headed " in some sense of him asking questions at the "wrong moment" ... So to be a person who is willing to ask gentle questions to realign the groups direction.( of course it is risky if they decide to turn on you ... ) Definitely , fleeing is an option which my moral education has taught me if i hit a lembu in a kampung.
I think in summary , we have some really tough choices to make in our daily lives and does not hurt if we have do more reading to make informed decisions ( like the simulated prison experiment ) . I think i choose Peter than Aaron or Joshua in this self created illustration ( not vetted by bible intellectuals ya ) because he did grow from his experiences. Aaron still blamed the 'sinful israelites ' for forcing him to build the gold calf and Joshua was halfway high in the mountain to do anything. By grace , even the weak can be strong , and it is not by numbers.