Circles of containment were and continue to be a remarkable way to live in the world. Violence is contained and localized and therefore seems just, right and normal. The problem is, circles never are able to remove the problem or advance a culture. Because circles are ever ending and repeat, so do cultural circles of containment.
This is where Jesus comes into play. Jesus was not in favor of spirals of violence and he addressed the fallacy of circles of containment - Jesus offers a more excellent way. A third way... Spirals of reduction.
Spirals are a shape which has a starting point and then moves downward to an end point until there is no longer a shape at all. This makes cones unique to spirals (which extend forever) and circles (which never end). Cones come to an end.
The life of Jesus Christ was much like prophets before him in which Jesus attempted to expose spirals and circles. However, as a Christian, I believe Jesus was the first to offer an alternative, a third way. He called it the Kingdom of God. I visually depict this idea as a spiral of reduction.
As an easy example and one common to many even non-Christian people - Jesus' encounter with the woman caught in adultery.
Notice that Jesus had a couple of options to him. He could move toward a spiral of violence and stone the woman as well as go out and find the man and stone him as well. He could move toward a circle of containment and stoned the woman - as the law commands. These were the only perceived options to Jesus at the time, perhaps this is why he squats down and draws in the dirt. So he could buy time to think about another way to respond to this situation.
"Those without sin can cast the first stone."
Jesus calls the people to a spiral of reduction. By pointing people to look at their own lives and get away from blaming the other, each person walks away - beginning with the eldest.
The eldest were the ones who lived with spirals and circles the longest. They were the first to understand there is way culture and thrive or advance with only spirals or circles. The recognize they need another way. They, we, need cones of reduction.
While this has only been a very basic sketch of spirals of violence, circles of containment, and cones of reduction. It is my hope to develop these images to help empower people to read the Bible with tools to understand and apply to their lives and culture.
It is my hope to develop the spiral, circle and cone image not only in terms of violence but also altruism.
*A little hint, in altruistic terms we want spirals and not cones.