Friday, August 28, 2009

War and Peace - A Civil Discussion

I just wanted to point those of you who read my blog to a discussion I've been having with John Hobbins on his "Ancient Hebrew Poetry" blog. John and I most definitely do not agree about the appropriateness of Christians serving in the military, or on the justness of (at least some) military actions we're now involved with in the U.S. But we both agree that people who really care about Jesus don't all come down in the same place on these issues, and we're neither of us comfortable with the rancor that usually characterizes discussions between the "sides."

John has been proving to me that it is possible for one of my perspective and one of his to have a civil discourse. I doubt we'll come anywhere close to agreement on at least some of the issues, but IMHO this sort of discourse enriches the participants. I learned about a book I'm going to want to read, at the very least--the upcoming "Just War as Christian Discipleship: Recentering the Tradition in the Church rather than the State," by Daniel M. Bell.

But give John's thoughts a serious listen. And think about his challenge to "armchair pacifists." It's a worthy question he's asking, and someone who maintains that sort of Christian demeanor while asking is worthy of engaging.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Easter Should Make Rebels of Us All - a sermon link

Over a late lunch today I listened to a podcast of a sermon from a minister whose page I found through another blog, and I want to share it with you. Andy Croel, over at The Pulpiteer, preached a good sermon this past Easter on the notion that death is NOT part of God's plan, that Easter shows it, and how we ought to respond. I recommend it. Here is a quick excerpt:

In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we see God's plan for dealing with death...In the resurrection, mothers are not told why their children died: mothers are given their children back. In the resurrection, we are not told why disease is secretly good: we are healed. In the resurrection the effects of evil and death are undone. Death is shown to have no ultimate effects at all, because God can undo it in the blink of an eye...

Easter should make rebels of us all...when we see evil and injustice, when we see death and destruction, when we see natural disasters that wipe out villages and leave hundreds dead, we are not to be a people that try to come in and explain some ultimate meaning and purpose behind horrible tragedy and death. Instead, we are to speak of a God of salvation who came back to rescue his good creation: A God who doesn't explain the tragic death of innocents, but rather raises them back to life.

He then goes on to challenge us to feed the hungry and minister to the suffering and dying, precisely because their hunger and suffering and death are the work of our enemy...death...defeated though it is by Jesus' resurrection. If I may paraphrase, working for justice, in Jesus' name, is an act of war.

The full sermon is here.