The World Together blog : War and peace issues
Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. — Gandalf in Fellowship of the Ring, by J. R. R. Tolkien
I’m sure many of you have read Mark Driscoll’s recent blog post, “Is God a Pacifist?” in which he argues against Christian pacifism. I’ve decided to address this in a series of three posts, not because I think Driscoll’s arguments are particularly noteworthy, but because it provides me with an opportunity to make a case against what I’ve come to see is probably the most common way Christians try to get around the pacifist implications of Jesus’ (and the rest of the New Testament’s) teachings on loving enemies. It centers on the allegedly violent Jesus of the book of Revelation.
Like so many others, Syria has been on my mind a lot recently. I’ve read dozens of articulate and well-reasoned arguments against any kind of military intervention. I’ve read many passionate and biblically sound antiwar pleas from people whose views I deeply respect. I spent a good chunk of the prayer time during worship praying for peace in Syria, praying that no more lives would be sacrificed on the altars of power, ideology, economics and religion. I know that this is what I am supposed to do and say and read and pray as a Mennonite, as a pastor. But it has all felt, I don’t know, a bit hollow.
Reprinted with permission from Sightings a column distributed from the Martin Marty Center, at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School.
Greg Boyd, David Cortright, Brian R. Gumm
Below are three reflections on U.S. response to the conflict in Syria. Click the “read more” link following each excerpt to find the original posts in their entirety.
William Harold Coltman was the most highly decorated “other ranks” British soldier in the First World War. In official terms that makes him an extremely brave man. Remarkably, he never fired a shot. As a conscientious objector he opted to become a stretcher bearer and saved countless lives. He never took a life.
Upon my recent return from the Middle East (with the Global Immersion Project), I was struck more than ever before by our Western infatuation around military aggression, violence and division. Not only are these the primary narratives we are fed through our major media outlets, they are the narratives we subconsciously embrace through the latest bestseller, box office hit or video game. Violence, death and division have become normative. We are becoming numb to the very things that we — as ambassadors of hope and reconciliation — are to turn from as Resurrection People. It is as though there is a strangle hold on our on our ability to see and participate in the stories of healing and new life.
The Egyptian revolution is being crushed and I grieve for what is being lost. That glorious unarmed uprising that so inspired the world is now being gunned down by the armed forces. I grieve especially for the people of Egypt and the dangers that lie ahead unless something is done to save the day.
The July 1-3, 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, considered the bloodiest of the Civil War, resulted in approximately 23,055 Union casualties (3,155 killed, 14,531 wounded and 5,369 captured or missing) out of a force of nearly 94,000. On the Confederate side there were some 23,231 losses (4,708 killed, 12,693 wounded and 5,830 captured or missing) out of a force of 71,699. An unknown number of additional deaths followed as many of the wounded perished from lack of adequate medical care.
No, not number one in military spending (which we are). Not number one in incarceration rates (which we are as well). What if, instead of these things, the U.S. became hyper-focused on becoming the most peaceful nation on Earth?