In the interests of full disclosure I should point out that I'm playing a bit of a role in a "comments fight" going on over in The Living Room. Drop by and have a look. Just don't say anything stupid (I already did...)
UPDATE: I'm stepping off that train before it derails...
I can't help but be drawn back to the Brian McLaren Sermon for President Bush we've talked about before. It's interesting how we can subtly go from discussing an issue to defending a position. And when we defend a position we tend to remake Jesus into the image of our political party, or position.
I encourage you again to read the entire sermon, but let me pick out his major points, because I certainly need to revisit them...
Jesus also said, though, that in our serpentine cleverness, we must remain as guileless as a dove, pure in heart as peacemakers, because the God who is real is a God of peace. Whatever clever tactics we must use to seek to prevent war, however we must bare our teeth and expose our claws to dissuade our attackers, we must reverence the harmless dove (God's Spirit) who flies among us, within us. I have been asking myself what it means to be a true Christian in a time like this, facing war yet loving and seeking peace, wise as a serpent, yet innocent as a dove. So here are four reflections that have been resonant within me in recent days that I wish to share with you.
1. For the follower of Jesus, war must always be seen as a defeat, before the first shot is fired or the last body is buried.
2. Whenever we talk of war, and if we must go to war, we must do so with sadness for all concerned. Jesus said we are to love our enemies, and if we love people, to see beloved enemies as the targets of bullets and bombs is a tragic thing.
3. It's important to remember that one doesn't get a military exemption from the teachings of Christ. So, in light of Jesus' words, "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you." (Matthew 7:12) it should never be easy to drop a bomb on them. In light of Jesus' words, "Love your enemies..." (Matthew 5:44) should never be easy to load a machine gun with a belt of bullets. But if these things must be done (again, with a heavy heart, with a sense of defeat even before we begin), we must ask, "What do we wish others would do for us if they attacked us and made war against us?"
4. Finally, Mr. President, even if we must prepare for war, up until the very, very, very last minute, I would hope that you would keep asking (and praying), "Can we wait another day? Can we pursue another option? Can we see any other way ahead? Can this cup pass from us?"
Man, those are powerful thoughts.Posted by mike at February 13, 2003 04:38 PM