Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Combat...

Last night I was watching this Bob Woodruff special on his injury while reporting fo ABC News in Iraq. It was about his recovery as well as the recovery of other Americans injurred in the war(s) in the Middle East. It was interesting to hear that the VA has listed 205,000 patients from these wars. While our official numbers are in the 20,000 range, they have treated the larger number. Some of these are psychological and others are injuries that were recognized after returning home, but the numbers are staggering. As I reflected on these numbers, in my head I hear previous comments that within the biblical story 'war happens' or 'there will always be war.' We almost give legitimacy to war because somehow we want to believe that God sanctions it. After all, he sanctiioned the Israelites. For those of us who follow Jesus, we need to recognize something that is often overlooked. During his life, Jesus proclaims that 'the kingdom is at hand.' Never previous to the life of Christ is this said or announced as a current reality. When Jesus prays, "Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in the heavens," he isn't asking for some pie in the sky thing. This IS the reality of the world. While life is not always fully complete, there is something that is attainable. So, when Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King Jr., Ghanda, Mother Theresa, and countless others, follow the way of Jesus, when they seek peace through non-violence, we should not be surprised. Jesus never sanctions a war. In fact, he says the ways of this world, the powers of this world, are often in conflict with the ways of the kingdom. This is not to say that there is never a reason to use force. This is not to entirely throw out the 'just war' concept. But it IS reason to believe that war is not the chosen way of those who follow this Jesus. When the gospel concludes with peace, with shalom, with lions and lambs lieing down together, this is no accident. When wars and rumors of war cease, this is no accident. These are the ways of Jesus. These are the ways of life. These are the ways of faith, of hope, of love. Either the gospel is good news for all people, or it isn't good news. Either the gospel writer was correct when he said that God so loved the entire world, or he was making it up -- in which case this entire God thing is wacked. BUT, if the gospel IS good news, then we need to embrace the fullness of the gospel rather than simply use it for our own justified war, our own political agenda, or our own case for increasing our position of power in the world. Of course, embracing a war on 'terror' is much easier than having a theology that accurately represents the entirety of the gospel story.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

simplistic to say the least. Are you saying that either someone agrees with you whole heartedly or 'the whole God thing is wacked'? No room for Christians to disagree on this? Strange.

Where's the nuance? Where's the grace?

Randy said...

Anonymous,
This 'simplistic' thing isn't my agenda. Read Matthew 5: Blessed are the peacemakers. That may be simplistic, but it's not my idea of 'simplistic.' Either we believe life has value or we don't. Either we are pro-life in all aspects of life, or we are simply against abortion. One has dignity and character, and the other is something else. Either we embrace the value of peace or we don't. Simplistic. Perhaps.

One more thought for the moment: Either we embrace the poor, as Jesus tells us to do, or we don't. I don't believe he was joking when he told the rich young ruler that he needed to sell everything to find his way into the kingdom. Simplistic. Perhaps again.

But, from the gospel account, peace, goodness, kindness, compassion are all things that are at the heart of what it means to be human, to be created in the image of God.

So, at the end of the day, either we embrace the way we are created to interact with others, or we choose otherwise.

Call it simplistic. Yet, Jesus tells us that some people will be surprised when they are not given entrace into the eternity of goodness.

~ On another note, I;ll likely reject anonymous comments in the future. I think people need to be willing to stand behind their words rather than spout without a name. :)