Archives For War and Peace

If you haven’t read this article or the newsweek artcle about America being
a post-Christian nation you should definitely check these two out.
I like the response and input Driscoll gives in this article.

Read it here

Respond to it here

*Kyle

On Thursday’s I attend chapel. At chapel there is singing, preaching, and good ole tom foolery (Not some much on the last part, I just like saying that).

Today, I listened to a soldier speak at chapel. Now you might be wondering why this is a big deal…refer here
No matter if you agree or disagree, one of the big issues I have here is that it was an assembly, not a chapel. If we are going to have chapel, it needs to be chapel. We have almost had more assemblies during chapel than actual chapel service. What is a chapel service? The usual church like service: music, preaching, and the uniting of believers in worship. More often than not, we are having people come in and not preach, but just talk about something that they are doing or are interested in, not preaching. Maybe I am making something out of nothing, but it can be a big deal when you have to go each week. You start wonder why we have it.

Well, today we had an assembly, not a chapel. The plan for today was to have music up front, then go into a time of prayer and prayer groups. Not a bad chapel service.
Well, at the last minute a soldier and his wife walk in to the service. Out of no where people started clapping. I thought that was strange that people were clapping, but I guess that is not out of the ordinary, go to any airport and follow around a soldier and you will see people saying “thank you” with their hands in applause. After they stopped clapping, we started chapel off with some music. The last song was “The Wonderful Cross.” A song that deals with the death of our savior, the opposite of what the world would say is a “great victory.” I was expecting to enter into a time of prayer, but I was mistaking. Before I could shut my computer down, the soldier had the mic and people were giving him a standing ovation. I started to wonder how he got here today. Thankfully he answered the question for me by telling me that he received a care package and wanted to come and thank us. He told us where he served, and told us about his family. He said this, “While I was in the army, I missed the birth of my 7 month old baby girl, all three of my sons birthdays, but it was worth it because I am here to see the next generation who will rise up and serve our country and protect us.” Wow, I sure would have a hard time missing all my kids birthdays and birth to serve others in Iraq, to each his own.
After about five minutes, he said that was all he had for us and opened up the floor for questions. I could not help but sit there and here people ask him questions about what was war like? How long have you been there? Are you helping other people and not just killing people? Questions along those lines.

Now, as you read this, you still might be wondering what the big deal is here. That I am making a big deal out of nothing and I am just wanting to be rebellious and find problems with anything. Maybe I am, but I could not leave this one alone. This is my thoughts about nothing, take it or leave it.

Here is why it bothered me. When I look at the military, all I can see is the picture of redemptive violence. This is the idea that violence will bring redemption to save others. Now, it is interesting to see that Jesus used an act of violence (death on the cross) to save the world. But, this was an act done to Him, not Him doing the act. “Kill one man, and be considered a murderer, kill thousands, and be considered powerful.” For a long time, America has been the moral police. And the way of enforcing things is power, power to use force. This idea of redemptive violence brings about the acceptance of using violence to bring peace. Just look at the idea of capital punishment. You did evil, and now we do evil to you to repay you for the evil you did to someone else and call it even. This is suppose to bring some sort of peace and closure. To me this is counter to the Bible and to Jesus. Redemptive Grace is preached from the Bible, not an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
Now I don’t know this dude that spoke this morning, and I don’t know his heart. But I feel sorry for him. I feel sorry that he has to miss his children, I feel sorry that he has to kill people because he is told he is protecting us. I feel sorry that he is going to have to live with this “sacrifice” of killing others to bring us peace for the rest of his life. This goes back to why I think that we need to separate America and Christianity. To promote the sword over the Bible is wrong. “When you pick up the sword, you put down the cross” -Dr. Gregg Boyd from his book The Myth of a Christian Nation
We had many students line up after chapel to ask him questions about his life, and to ask him about what it was like. Am I saying that we should not support the army? Yes, I am. If we support the army, we are supporting redemptive violence. I have been really struggling through this, and have been going back and forth on whether or not I support soldiers. In good conscience and in light of what the Bible teaches, I cannot support the act of war, and the soldiers that carry this act out.
Today, I felt that we were supporting the act of war by bringing in a soldier to speak to our students during chapel. A time set aside each week for our school to come together and worship our God, our creator, and the one that gives us grace.

I am working through this stuff, and you might think I am out of bounds and crazy here. Maybe I am crazy, but I know one thing, if i am crazy because I reject what America teaches about war and peace, than I am fine being considered crazy. Someone else was also called crazy in the Bible, Jesus (Mark 3). Not calling myself Jesus, just trying to be like Him.

Blast away
*Kyle

As I conclude this series of war and piece and I have really been stressed by comments and questions that have been posed to each post. Great conversation and good responses. I am glad that I did this.
Last but not least I want to talk about how we respond or like I like to call it…

What Now?

This question is something that I often forget to ask myself. Whether it be an idea or a problem, I never ask the question…What Know? Many times I feel like I bring problems up but never have a solution. I don’t want to do that with this issue of War and Peace, offering up the problem, but having no solution. But I feel like the solution is a very personal issue. Something that has to be decided you and God. There is one thing that I am continuely working on, and that is I am trying to respond with love in situations that drive me to respond with hate. I really have a hard time with this. Sure I can say that I am loving my enemies in another country that I don’t know, but the hardest people to love are the ones that surround me. I always wonder if I will never have enemies, it seems like I always do. Maybe, God is trying to teach me that I need to love my enemies. The reason I would offer up peace in times of war is because I have not seen that demonstrated. I would be interested to see the response of another country if instead of responding with war, we respond with the other cheek. Maybe they would attack us again and kill some more, but maybe, just maybe they would see that we care about them and not that we want to get even with them.
The “now what” will always be with us. Something that will constantly plague our problems and complaints. I will leave you with the words of David Crowder and let him explain the now what:

And the problem is this
We were bought with a kiss
But the cheek still turned
Even when it wasn’t hit

And I don’t know
What to do with a love like that
And I don’t know
How to be a love like that

When all the love in the world
Is right here among us
And hatred too
And so we must choose
What our hands will do

Where there is pain
Let there be grace
Where there is suffering
Bring serenity
For those afraid
Help them be brave
Where there is misery
Bring expectancy
And surely we can change
Surely we can change
Something

And the problem it seems
Is with you and me
Not the Love who came
To repair everything

Where there is pain
Let us bring grace
Where there is suffering
Bring serenity
For those afraid
Let us be brave
Where there is misery
Let us bring them relief
And surely we can change
Surely we can change
Oh surely we can change
Something

Oh, the world’s about to change
The whole world’s about to change

Now What?

*Kyle

“Finally, to dare to love someone far above our station, like a beggar in live with a princess, or to dare to think that someone so wonderful could love us, to dare to love in such an impossible situation, that is love worth its salt. Or, to go to a further and still more paradoxical etreme: to love someoe who is not lovable. It is no great feat, after all, to love the loveable, to love our friends and those who tell us we are wonderful; but to love the unlovabele, to lov those who do not love us, to love our enemies-that is love. That is impossible, the impossible, which is why we love it all the more.”
God takes the Impossible and makes it possible…

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Wont waiste anytime talking, lets begin…

Christians Response to America
If America is not indeed a Christian Nation then how do we respond to it? This has been a question that I have been wondering and still to this day wonder. I think there are two Kingdoms that are represented here that give us a response to America. Lets look at the idea of a Kingdom, then at what we can do with this Kingdomship.
First, this idea of the Kingdom.
There are two kinds of Kingdoms that are available for citizenship. The “Upper” and “Lower” Kingdoms. Greg Boyd in his book The myth of a Christian Nation talks extensively on this. I will give you what I got from it, a response I guess you could say.
The upper kingdom represents America, the way of America, and the Kingdom that we can fall into.
The lower kingdom represents Jesus, the way of Jesus, and the Kingdom that is hard to be a part of.
Jesus came to represent the lower Kingdom, the one that does the opposite of what a dictator or King would do. The King of the Jews coming to not set up a Kingdom of this world, but to set up a Kingdom that will last forever.
The upper Kingdom represents the worlds kingdom, the temporal type of Kingdom that last for one or two generations. Basically, it subscribes the the very typical way of gaining power of rulership over selected groups of people through government, power, and fear. Jesus was thought to establish this type of Kingdom. Even his closest followers up to His death on the cross thought this was the way that Jesus was going to set up his Kingdom. Look at what John 18:36 says and then look at what James and John asked in Mark 10:32 and on (really before this talks about Jesus Kingdom as well). They wanted to be in power, a part of the Kingdom that they thought Jesus was going to be establishing on this earth. Good place to be if it was an earthly Kingdom. But Jesus suprised everyone when he died on the cross, the worst way to die, the ultimate sign of weakness and humiliation. So embarressed the discisples ran, peter denied him, and Thomas doubted him. And thankfully the story doesn’t end there. Jesus rises from the grave and defeats death and sets in motion a Kingdom that is not of this world. Philippians 2 speaks to the kingdom that Jesus was apart of and the example He showed all. This was the lower Kingdom, one that considered the least the greatest, one that turned the cheek when struck, one that showed love to all, one that did not respond with anger and fitting when put on trial, and one that was a servant leader giving Himself up.
The Upper Kingdom looks a little different. Though it is powerful and makes sense on a lot of basis, it is one that is limited to this world. It does make sense to be apart of this Kingdom because it looks safe, it looks plentiful and it is the in place to be. In most churches this Upper Kingdom is represented. Like my dad likes to call it, “the good ole boys.” This Kingdom will do anything to protect themselves. They see that power equals influence, and so they protect power with thier lives. They use fear to get where they need to be and what they want. The upper Kingdom looks good on the outside but dirty on the inside (Matthew 23:26). The upper Kingdom represents any Kingdom that is off this world.
I will stop with that, Greg Boyd does a much better job of playing these two Kingdoms out, but I will ask the question. Which Kingdom do you want to be apart of? Now I know the obvious answer is the lower Kingdom. That was my choice too, but I started to think about what this implies and means for me. It means that I turn the other cheek, that I love my enemies, that I don’t respond with anger, that the troubles of this world (economy, war, taxes, etc…) are not my concern because I do not belong to this Kingdom. It puts a lot of things in perspective for myself and I hope it does for you as well.
I am not on a rant against America and Christians here, I am simple telling you the journey that I have been on for the last several months and my response to America.

What is your response? What Kingdom do you belong to?

*Kyle

America is not a Christian nation, we have bought into the idea that if we are or can continue to be we can control and make people better. The fundamental problem with that idea is depicted in the picture of a blind man leading another blind man around a room full of chairs and expecting them to not get tripped up, funny to watch, but we know the outcome.

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After hours of reading and conversations had, I have come to this thinking, America is not a Christian nation. It never has been and never will be. And I am glad it is that way.

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