Monday, May 26, 2008

On Peace and War

As it is Memorial day, I thought it might be good to do some thinking about peace and war.

I first heard this message from Brian McLaren a few months ago, and was deeply move at the thought put into it as well as the attitude of grace for all involved. It is basically Brians's attempt to write a letter/sermon to President Bush shortly before the war in Iraq broke out. Here are some quotes:

Jesus also said, though, that in our serpentine cleverness, we must remain as guileless as a dove, pure in heart as peacemakers, because the God who is real is a God of peace. Whatever clever tactics we must use to seek to prevent war, however we must bare our teeth and expose our claws to dissuade our attackers, we must reverence the harmless dove (God’s Spirit) who flies among us, within us. I have been asking myself what it means to be a true Christian in a time like this, facing war yet loving and seeking peace, wise as a serpent, yet innocent as a dove.

Whenever we talk of war, and if we must go to war, we must do so with sadness for all concerned. Jesus said we are to love our enemies, and if we love people, to see beloved enemies as the targets of bullets and bombs is a tragic thing.

In this war, Mr. President, if war must happen, I wonder if you would make history by being the first president to share the death toll of our enemy, not as a score of victory, but as another tragic cost of war? I wonder if you could teach the American people to mourn the death of Iraqi mothers’ sons along with our own? I wonder if you could, in this way, deepen our dread and hatred of war, so that if this war happens, it will bring us one war closer to the end of the nightmare, and the beginning of God’s dream for us?

And third, Mr. President, if I were the one being attacked, I would wish that my enemies would spend at least two dollars to repair whatever damage each dollar of weaponry caused. Jesus talked about walking the second mile, and perhaps today he would talk about paying the second dollar. If this means raising taxes, Mr. President, I for one will pay twice the taxes to have the chance to do right to the Iraqi people after the war – if we must go to war.
This would, I realize, triple the cost of war for us. But that would not be a bad thing at all. I think you’ll agree: war should be costly, too costly. A cheap, convenient, easy war could make it easy for us to become barbarians, abusing the power and wealth which we have been given, and for which we will be held accountable as stewards. When we add the high cost of postwar rebuilding to the high cost of war to begin with, we will be more likely to seek creative alternatives to war. We may realize that it would be a bargain to be more generous, to use our money to make friends through wise generosity and humanitarian development rather than using it to make enemies through foreign war.

The full text is here.

The mp3 audio with introduction and Q&A is here. You really should listen to it, as McLaren's heart comes across better in audio than on paper.

Enjoy. All honor and peace to our veterans today, and the precious memories are with us of those who have given their lives for causes.


Anonymous said...

Hello nick,
I enjoyed reading the blog.
Do you believe that we have the capability to impact the Iraqi people enough to create within them a faith in a new government to govern the people?
If this happens then I believe we fulfilled our purpose. Do you think that is possible? or not? . . . .

Josh Boyer

ZZMike said...

"I wonder if you could teach the American people to mourn the death of Iraqi mothers’ sons along with our own?"

A good start might be possible when Iraqi mothers mourn their own sons:

Mothers of Hizbullah Martyrs: We are Very Happy and Want to Sacrifice More Children

"Martyr's mother #4: "Compared to others, what I sacrificed is nothing. It's true I sacrificed a son, but others have sacrificed two or three. I hope more of my sons will become martyrs."