Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Response to Prior Blog on Just War

I’m finalizing to leave tomorrow for NAC, but I keep thinking about responses to my reasons for supporting “just war.” After blogging it, I emailed copies of it to several in my address book, most of whom ignored it as the ravings of an anti-Bush voter (smile). My emails included this subject line: “Would you support this?”

One response I’ll refer to again, complimented my reasoning (as satire), but then asked what I meant by my subject question: Would you support this? Frankly, I wanted to know myself. I see a majority of Christians nominally opposing war, but ignoring becoming proactive about peace and non-violence. They vote for political positions and politicians that support war; they hype a patriotism that supports the present war of “preemptive strike,” and by their general lifestyle, they do in fact support “just war.”

I like Helen’s indignant reply from OK City: “Of course I don’t support war even if it brings riches to some people…and more_I could keep going. . .” Bill asked me what I meant by that question. Well: the truth is, I see people saying one thing but acting another way. I see people theorizing against war but approving of war by their voting record, their political persuasions, their lifestyle, and sometimes by their passivity and unwillingness to “talk politics.” Or religion.

Now, let me get on with Bro. Bill’s response, which I quote here rather than injecting it into my prior blog: Bill K’s response concludes:

There is not such a thing as a "just war" even though depending on human conditions war is inevitable at times. A Godless society is not governed by the Prince of peace, therefore war is a way of life for them. How could a Christian justify war, killing those whom he should love and whom he should be winning to Christ? Freedom is a God given right, but it is not a God given right to impose our way of life by force on other people. Could a Christian be justified to kill some one before he kills him? I know what the Christians in our culture would say, but what Jesus would say? What does He teaches us (emphasis added)?

Bill’s comments are especially pertinent: How do we kill those we are supposed to be winning to Christ? Helen injected a further thought here when suggesting our war efforts are confusing to Muslims, Jews, et al. Frankly, I believe we confused the whole world, but evangelism is part of the church’s “calling.” Christian love and non-violence are part and parcel of “following Jesus” and the two are incompatible.

Even now, the Church of God sees itself gearing up in its quest for holiness and unity on a global scale (evangelism). To do that, we must take up our cross of servanthood, Christian love and non-violence. This is something we either do or don’t do; there is no middle ground. As we face our current global context, we are better equipped as a church to go after the good life (with the benefits of just war) than we are to win the world to the “neighborhood family” that Jesus taught.

Now that I have that off my chest, let me quote Rusty: young, vigorous, confronting but thoughtful and wanting to be proactive: he challenged my assertions that we are doing well economically with the war. He reasons this way:

is our economy really flourishing? if so, why the need for "stimulus checks" under the current administration? why is the federal minimum wage no longer sufficient to live off of? why are the gas prices here in California steadily approaching $5 a gallon for unleaded? to me it seems like we are pretending everything is fine and as a nation are willing to "stay the course" in Iraq regardless of the ramifications back at home. why doesn't the younger generation rise up and protest this ridiculous war like our parents did in the vietnam era? what happened to the constitutional right to protest? nothing is more american that exercising constitutional freedoms. yet we continue our oil addiction and view thousands of fallen soldiers as collateral damage. enough is enough. i have been following politics and the war for years now and i can't even tell you what our primary objective is over there. why? because we don't have one (emphasis added).

I remind Rusty that General Ike warned us about building up the military establishment (Pentagon et al). He has been widely quoted for pointing out that all of that expensive hi-tech military hardware (that puts blood money in someone’s pocket) all comes out of social programs and infrastructure et al at home.

And yes Rusty, although there are financial trade-offs for some few, for the majority war brings an economic spiral downward. And morally, war is a failed policy with a downward deviation, to borrow from Patrick Moynihan. You are perfectly just in challenging my assumptions about our good times.

Where does all of this discussion lead us? I believe we are about to turn a political corner; if not, America will continue its downward spiral in every way. As Christians, however, and as global citizens, we need to harmonize our beliefs and our behaviors, our creeds and our characters, our professed beliefs with our everyday behavior (including our voting records.

Jesus said, let your yes be yes and your no be no. I suggest that in ping pong lingo we cannot look in one direction and serve the ball in the opposite corner. If we follow Jesus, and want to witness for him, we must follow his commandment to “love” as "I have loved you."

His love is filled with grace and mercy (non-violent), his love is 70 x 7, his love includes our enemies, his love is self-sacrificing.

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