Tag Archives: war

Support Our Troops: It’s Not Just a Bandwagon

I’ve been meaning to talk about this issue for quite a while. One of the main hesitations I have in discussing the issues of non-violence and pacifism, is people’s immediate disgust with the idea that I don’t “Support Our Troops.” We actually used to have one of those yellow ribbons on the back of our car; along side a bumper sticker that said, “War is Not the Answer.” I’m very much a believer in the support and love of “our troops,” in the same way I’m in support of loving our enemies, children and soldiers. You see, Supporting Our Troops isn’t just a bumper sticker bandwagon, it’s something that requires a bit more of us.

Did you know that Veterans account for nearly 25% of the Homeless population in the United States?  Where is the Support of our troops after they come home? I don’t believe in supporting our troops by giving them more bombs, bullets and tanks with which to kill more, but I believe strongly in providing the care and human dignity they should expect as citizens of this supposed great nation we live in. 

NPR did a segment recently about current soldiers coming back from Iraq who have been experiencing PTSD and have not received the support and treatment they should in our own cities. 

Alex Orum’s medical records showed that he had PTSD, but his officers
expelled him from the Army earlier this year for “patterns of
misconduct,” repeatedly citing him on disciplinary grounds. In Orum’s
case, he was cited for such infractions as showing up late to
formation, coming to work unwashed, mishandling his personal finances
and lying to supervisors — behaviors which psychiatrists say are
consistent with PTSD. 

I support our Troops. Many Sunday’s I hang out with them near the Nashville War Memorial. We eat lunch together and talk about life. Some support this war, others don’t. They all, though most are too respectful to admit it, have been terribly mistreated by a country that used their very lives, and then tossed them to the curb.  If your gonna drive around with a yellow ribbon on your bumper, please be ready to do more then just send a postcard around Christmas.

The Myth of Redemptive Violence (Avoid It)

Braveheart“The Myth of Redemptive Violence is the story of the victory of order over chaos by means of violence.” It was through my reading of Christ’s teachings to “Love your enemies” and the idea of overcoming evil with good, that I began to realize that there must be another road to victory than violence. Quite simply, I found I could not support a culture of war and violence and still claim to follow Christ’s teachings, I could not rationalize it.
After coming to that conclusion I picked up Walter Wink’s book, The Powers That Be, and my eyes were opened to the myth that our society and myself have been indoctrinated with for centuries.  I’ve heard the word’s of others too who have walked this path in an attempt to follow Christ.

Derek Webb sings, in My Enemies are Men Like Me,

peace by way of war
is like purity by way of fornication
it’s like telling someone murder is wrong
and then showing them by way of execution

Dr. King said,

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time — the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts… Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

You should really take the time to read the short article about The Myth of Redemptive Violence. It describes the Babylonian Creation Myth and how it’s violence-centric story is perpetuated today. I’m not just talking about war here, I’m speaking of primarily the media that we expose ourselves to. Think Braveheart and Gladiator, Batman, Lone Ranger, Road Runner and many others:

The psychodynamics’ of the TV cartoon or comic book are marvelously simple: children identify with the good guy so that they can think of themselves as good. This enables them to project out onto the bad guy their repressed anger, violence, rebelliousness, or lust, and then vicariously to enjoy their own evil by watching the bad guy initially prevail. This segment of the show–the “Tammuz” element, where the hero suffers–actually consumes all but the closing minutes, allowing ample time for indulging the violent side of self. When the good guy finally wins, viewers are then able to reassert control over their own inner tendencies, repress them, and reestablish a sense of goodness without coming to any insight about their own inner evil. The villain’s punishment provides catharsis; one forswears the villain’s ways and heaps condemnation on him in a guilt-free orgy of aggression. Salvation is found through identification with the hero

As, I think about entering parenthood, I’m struck by the fact that though I have continually acknowledged to myself and others that this myth is a lie and it is dangerous to our culture, I have still chosen to expose myself to plenty of movies that carry this theme.  I’ve decided both in preparation, and probably for personal well being, that I’m going to stop watching movies that carry a redemptive violence theme (for at least a year). This won’t be a hard and fast line, but one I want to consider for the well being of my family. Which means Die Hard, Rocky, and Spider Man will be off my movie viewing list for the year. 

9/11 – How did it shape you?

9/11/06 is a memorable day for many. Anyone who has the access to technology that would allow them to read this blog probably knows exactly where they were on that day.

Regardless of your thoughts now, perspectives on the war, politics, etc. There is no denying that 9/11/06 had a major effect on many of our lives, our way of thinking, the issues we thought through, etc.

I want to make this an open thread for readers to share briefly how 9/11 shaped them, but to encourage that I’ll start with a brief thought.

Before 9/11 I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference between a Democrat and a Republican (I knew they were different, just didn’t know who supported what). 9/11 caused me to think about my views on politics, war, evil and terrorism.

So, now it’s your turn:

How did 9/11/06 Shape you?

Remembering September 10th

This date will go down in history as a tragic one for our world. The cold heartedness that could bring such atrocity to mankind makes ones heart tremble. We pause in remembrance of the tragedy that has occurred. We look forward, gaining strength from those who have been an example of heroism in the past.

The evil of hunger claimed the lives of 40,000 children on 9/10 that did not need to die. They were little ones to whom belongs the kingdom. Their death was not due to the overt hatred and action of ones they would call their enemies. These children died because of the passive complacency of people they might even call friends. There is no monument built at which to lay flowers or say prayers on behalf of these victims. Their names are not remembered on this campus, for we did not know them personally.

Try as we may, we cannot point the finger and say with conviction, “let justice be served.” If there is injustice it is our own doing. If we seek to point the finger we can only look to our own apathy and lack of concern for addressing this tragedy. This catastrophic event that we faced and continue to face is real and it is happening everyday. This is an issue that requires, even demands, our action. History will repeat it self. History IS repeating itself.

We do not mourn this tragedy without hope, we have hope. We have an example and a hope to look to because there are heroes who came before us. Jesus was that example and he IS that hope. He told us to give to the least of these, to love our neighbors; He feed, healed, shared. Like the parable of Lazarus we stand as the rich man with the resources God has given to us and we are not sharing with the poor beggar who is within our reach.

Let me be clear, the events remembered on 9/11 are tragic, and we are right to remember and mourn. For those who experienced the loss of friends or family, I and this community grieve with you. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to witness first hand the loss of a loved one, and collectively with so many in our nation. 9/10 should not be any less remembered. The loss of life that occurred this day was tragic and was within our means to stop. And each day from then until now the same tragedy occurs, and we either never cared in the first place, or have become so desensitized that our heart is numb.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” These children that are dying are our neighbors, many are our brothers and sisters in Christ. In past centuries we could say we lacked the means and resources to address these issues. Today we do not have that option. If we continue to live in the gross abundance that we have as our brothers and sisters daily die of starvation and disease that we can combat, we are without excuse.
Grieve 9/11 and pray the Lord keep your heart tender and open to His love. Grieve 9/10 and each day, and pray the Lord would turn your heart to a fervent life changing love for those in need. Pray he teaches you his truth, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Originally published in the Wheaton Record at Wheaton College. Published also at Relevantmagazine.com and Circle6 magazine.

Darfur is still dying: Please help…

I feel like we’ve failed sometimes. All the blogging, letter writing, phone calling, and people are still being slaughtered. And yet, the urgency of doing something is no less important today then it was yesterday, or two years ago. Darfur shifted through our minds as it shifted from front page news to back page to only google searches.

I wish I could say a magic word and make all the injustice in the world disappear. But I can’t. I wish I could tell you that if we all band together and send a postcard, victory will be inevitable, but it’s not true. Even with all the benefits of techonology, the ability for us to even keep up to date on what is happening in Darfur, it has not been the solution.
And the truth is the result might not come in our quick, immediate gratification sort of way, and we have to be ready for that.
If you’ve never done anything to raise your voice against the injustice of darfur then you can act now. Send an e-card to President Bush about your concerns.

Need some inspiration? Read my article on Relevantmagazine.com about Darfur.

Let me end on this note. I good place to start learning about your Senator’s involvement is this site. You’ll notice at the bottom there Senator Durbin of Illinois. At the beginning of the Darfur genocide we did a letter writing campaign at Wheaton College, encouraging students to hand write letter’s to Durbin to address the Genocide. I arranged a visit with four students to meet with Durbin to talk to him about the genocide and ask that he speak up concerning it. I’m not sure if he was already an avid support, but I have to believe that we had an impact on that. Take a step, you can have an impact too.

My response concerning high gas prices

This was my response to my friend Gustave’s letter about high gas prices:

my dear and wonderful friend. Let me start by saying I am quite naive to the large ramifications you’ve talked about here. I completely agree with you on everything you shared here.

Just so we get some clarifications on all this here is the basic jist of what happened:
I wrote off-handedly once about enjoying the fact that High gas prices has created a much greater interest and demand for fuel efficient cars, more people out biking to work, and more efforts in mass transit. In other words, I said I see a lot of benefits in the gas prices being high. I also feel like high gas prices reflect the actual cost of the use of that gas (as in damage to the environment, etc). I didn’t in any way imply that I like high gas prices, I like big powerful countries getting rich, I don’t care about the effects on the poor.

Again, I completely agree with everything that you said about the negative effects of high gas prices. I realize it hurts the poor and I think that sucks too. I also feel like really low gas prices aren’t going to help solve many problems either, they seem to create a slew of other problems. By the way, weren’t we in Micro-Econ together? Lower gas prices just means more people buying it, which means those companies and countries are still making a lot. I say we take out the CEO’s and others and we could offer some dirt cheap gas that way.

Seriously though, what are some solutions and problems solving techniques? Let’s commission city council to get public transit started in our area. How do we organize car pooling groups in the poor areas we live in? Could the government ration gas some those dimwits with their Hummers can’t drive them more then two blocks, but the neighbor can make it to and from work? How about promoting scooters more in poorer neighborhoods, those should solve the problem big time. This is the way I think; I like the big picture but I’m all about the practical.
I’ve filled up more then my fair share of guys gas cans and tanks in the past couple months (sure hope they were actually for their car).
Could churches offer free fill ups, gas cards, etc. in the neighborhoods they are a part of? Shouldn’t we be preaching all the stuff you shared from the pulpit?
Mostly what I’m saying is I hear you loud and clear, now what are we going to do about it?!

Let’s get a move on!


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.

Twin Towers wreckage being turned into a Weapon of War

USS New York

Warship built out of Twin Towers wreckage – World – Times Online

Mr Clement said it would be fitting if USS New York’s first mission was to capture Osama bin Laden. He said: “They hit us first, but out of a tragedy a good thing has come, in that we’re building a ship which can help take those people out.”

What do you think of something like this? Basically they’ve taken the remains of the World Trade Center towers and are now using them to construct a giant Navy vessel.

Your thoughts?