Tag Archives: peace

The Failing Experiment: A brief thought on July 4th

About four years ago I was reading the paper in a small town in Minnesota. I read an article by Congressman Mark Kennedy entitled: “The Great Experiment” which discussed the sacrifices many soldiers had made to make this country what it is today. I felt the need to reply in this letter to the editor that you see below. I’ve left it unedited, but I’ll include further thoughts at the end. Surprisingly, the local paper published my letter the following week:

The Failing Experiment
I want to first of all thank Congressman Mark Kennedy for his article concerning this country’s “Independence Day.” There is certainly room for celebration and many of the historical facts he pointed out are worth noting and esteeming. Unfortunately I fear Congressman Kennedy missed out on the whole picture of the American Experiment and I feel the need to complete, or at least add to his summary.
It is true our Experiment has succeeded because of sacrifice, but whose sacrifice? Let us not forget the genocide of the Native Americans – from whom we took and still keep this land. They sacrificed many lives to our “Manifest Destiny.” Even today the effects of this sacrifice are felt and if you dare look, they are still seen. Our brothers and sisters of the human race live on small, infertile plots of land that we’ve forced them to, and the effects of injustice for hundreds of years can be seen clearly today. The Native Americans sacrificed.
Let us remember that the fourth of July is Independence for only part of the citizens of this country. It wasn’t until December 1865 that the denial of freedom (slavery) was abolished by law in this country. And we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that this is a reality today. It takes only a brief look at the statistics to see that even since the Civil Rights movement of the sixties, we are still discriminating against people because of their skin (look up red-lining, the education system, and the demographic layout of most cities). It was on the backs of our brothers and sisters of the human race from Africa that this country began to thrive. It was their sacrifice for which they currently still have never reaped full benefits.
They sacrificed as soldiers too, Africans, Mexicans, Japanese, Native Americans – only to return to a “free” nation where they were discriminated against and treated as less than human. Remember the sacrifice of the American citizens of Japanese decent forced into Internment camps in the Desert. Remember the replacement of slaves with sharecropping and cheap labor from Mexico which we discriminate against yet desperately “need” in order to keep our way of living “affordable” for us.
There are many more groups that have been sacrificed to this American Experiment, but only one more I will note in this summary. They are half the population and for years have fed, clothed, cleaned, and cared for generations of American men. Women, they celebrate their independence on August 26, 1920 when the law at least extended to them the vote. They, like these many other groups, are still fighting for the freedom we will celebrate July 4th.
Celebrate your freedom on Sunday, but open your eyes to reality. Freedom even in America is only for the privileged, unless we choose to make it for everybody. Freedom will never come at the barrel of a gun. It will take sacrifice, sacrifice from you and me, not our lives, but our love. Will you sacrifice with love for that freedom you so enjoy to be extended to all people?

There is probably much more to say on this Independence day about the current state of affairs in our country, but I’ll leave that mostly to your own reflection. Let me only remind you that we celebrate this day while Guantanamo remains operational, are nations attempt to spread “freedom” is showing tragic and horrific results, and racism, sexism and much discrimination still lies unaddressed in our society.

Celebrate the 4th, but please do so with these words in mind.

photo credit

Flashback: What Would You Do if?

It’s the age old question of pacifist, last January I gave my spin on it:

It’s the typical question that get’s asked of anyone who declares themselves a “pacifist.”

What would you do if someone was attacking your family (loved ones)?

It’s the magic card up someones sleeve to stump that said pacifist into agreeing that sometimes violence, and war, is okay and necessary. I’ll be honest this was a difficult question to handle when I first started thinking about pacifism. What made it difficult was the passage we talked about previously, “Love your enemies…” What suddenly happened was that now both the attacker and the victim are my loved ones. It’s like having to change the question to:

What would you do if your wife was attacking your father?
(or pick the two people closest to you)

Now I’m not so sure killing the attacker would be my pat answer. If I love that person I certainly wouldn’t want their death. I love the victim though as well and I don’t want them to die, so the situation is now far more complex then the original question presented.

For me, this question simply confirms to me that thinking as a pacifist, or rather, thinking about what to do with ‘killing’ not being one of the options.

So, What would you do if…

See the discussion that ensued here.

Lebanon-Israel Conflict: a conversation

Joel directed me to this series of articles regarding the Lebanon-Israel Conflict:

David Gushee’s Original article The first article to be posted
A Lebanese Perspective on the Conflict and a disappointed response to David Gushee
An Open Letter to Martin Accad in response to his article
Further Reflections by Martin Accad

Here is a paragraph from the last one I found extremely intriguing (but not specifically about the conflict in any way):
“And who is my neighbor?” an expert of the law asks in fury, annoyed with Jesus’ message and behavior that frustrates every notion of conventional “righteousness” (Luke 10:29). Jesus embarks on one of his breathtaking stories about a man, a “righteous” man, apparently the hero of the narrative, suddenly transformed into the “enemy,” replaced by a new hero, a Samaritan, an “unrighteous” man. New Testament scholars have pointed out that in this story, the man called to love his enemy is not the Samaritan, but actually the man who lay wounded, stripped of his clothes, half dead. For he, rather than the Samaritan, is the character in the story with whom Jesus’ audience would have been able to identify. By inviting the wounded to accept to be helped by his conventional enemy, Jesus calls every one of us to accept to be helped by God, the “outcast,” whom we have rejected.

Conscientious Objector

I’ve been checking out Voxtropolis recently (a blogging community of sorts), and had the amazing privilege of running across the blog and recent story of Jake.

For most of the past five years, Malloy, an MU graduate, was a cook stationed in Washington, Mo. But, in July, when he learned his unit would begin training for probable deployment to Iraq, Malloy suffered a crisis of conscience. Unable to reconcile Christ’s teachings with the use of lethal force, Malloy filed a claim with the Army, asking that he be classified as a conscientious objector.
(via. Columbia Missourian)

Jake story is amazing to me. Very rarely do we allow our convictions to challenge us to do something outside of the realm of what is normally acceptable. I am often guilty of being convicted of things, but not willing to follow through on them because they are not socially acceptable. I fear that if I was in his shoes I would find myself justifying my current position and disregarding the clear convictions of my heart.

Here is some of what Jake wrote in
his claim as a conscientious objector:

I am in doubt as to the rightness of taking a human life primarily because of the nature of our loving God. He is patient with us, not wanting any to perish (2 Peter 3:9); I believe those having the Spirit of Christ should be likewise patient. Further, we see that God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked but rather desires them to repent and be saved (Ezekiel 18:23, 33:11). We also are fallen and evil (Romans 3:23), and as such should not think our sins any less heinous than the most vile of offenders (James 2:10-11). In fact, while we were enemies of God ourselves, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). This is the foundation of Christianity. We do not take life, but give life, just as Christ gave his as an expression of his love for us (1 John 4:10) and as an example to us (Ephesians 5:1-2). While we were enemies of God, we also were inclined toward every evil practice. Our hope must be to bring an end to evil by filling souls with the love of Christ. Weapons of death cannot solve this problem. When we kill an individual, we add fuel to the fire of hatred within that person’s family. The God of love and the sacrifice of His Son is the hope for peace among nations and in our very lives. Knowing God has redeemed me from death, I could not put another to death for any wrong (John 8:7, Matthew 18:21-35).

A week ago Jake learned his claim was denied.*

The Pacifism discussion begins.

This discussion is sure to create some interesting feedback and debate. Zach brings up some questions about Pacifism, which Ariah tries to address. No script, no agenda, so it get’s a little off on tangents.
This is only half of the show, the second part of this discussion will air next week. And then we’ll continue to discuss pacifism and the Bible as long as there is interest.

We’ve also added to exciting parts to our show: Myth of the Week and the Friend Spotlight!
You could be the Friend of the week and if you are, you’ll win a BIG prize! Listen in and see if your this weeks big winner!

Please send your feedback and thoughts to ariahfine@gmail.com or call and leave an audio message at (615)349-1210

Or Download Here. (right click and choose Save link as…)

Brief shownotes:
-Ariah and Zach discuss Pacifism
-Myth of the Week: ?
-Friend Spotlight: ? Could you be our big winner?!

Disclaimer: No animals where hurt in the making of this podcast