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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Advent: Peace

I find it difficult to anticipate the Lord of peace, when it seems so counter to what life is really like. Life is not very peaceful right now.

It is amazing to realize that we are still in Iraq. We have now surpassed the amount of time the US militarily spent in World War II.

What is interesting though is the comparison of deaths, one report I found says 400,000 American soldiers died in WWII. Iraq has seen about 5,000 people died (my apologies for US military stats only, I cannot find reliable other stats, one suggests 56million civilians and military died in WWII and 60,000 in Iraq).

That raises an issue: are "new" military tactics more(less death) or less (more apersonal killing) humane. We spend $8billion per month on Iraq and no one has had to make a financial sacrifice.
Is Augustine's "Just War" theory valid anymore when war has changed from a personal conflict to an apersonal button push? Do we need a new process to figure out whether or when war is just?

So the question I have wrestled with before is how do we offer the hope of Christ to the hopeless?
Now the question has become, how do we offer the peace of Christ in a world without peace?

4 comments:

Deborah said...

What REALLY needs to be done here is for the U.S. to get out of that country. They should've gotten out of there AGES ago-in fact I don't really see why they had to go there in the first place, but that opinion is very arguable, so I'll just get to the point: Why would you be thinking about "offering Christ to the hopeless"? That's the LAST thing on my mind.
Don't ask what you can do for Christ (ie. converting people and spreading the word of the lord) ask what Christ can do for you.

Erik said...

Your question about more or less humane practices of war is an interesting one, Wes. I wonder, though, whether any practice of war can genuinely be conceived of as humane? Isn't war itself, by its very nature, inhumane?

wb said...

Deborah:
You raise an interesting point, but I think the rephrased question you ask is just as problematic::
Asking what Christ can do for "me," (as you suggest) is a self-focused, individualistic question that implies the important relationship is just between God and Me. For me that misses the whole point of the gospel, life is not about me and therefore what Christ can do for "me" is not important. If, however, you meant to ask what can Christ do for us that would be an excellent question.

You are accurate to be bothered by my question of "how to offer hope to the hopeless" as I am. The tension that the question raises is precisely what seems to bother you, on the one hand I can offer nothing because Christ is the only bearer of Hope, and that is offered solely through the power of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, we are called to be ambassadors of Christ, whose presence shares the "aroma" of God and that we no longer live but Christ lives in us. Thereby allowing us to embody and proclaim (not through mere conversion, but through a transformed lifestyle) the Hope of Jesus Christ.
So yes I do believe it is essential to spread the Word (which is Jesus Christ) to the hopeless, which includes all of us, for if Christ is the only Hope, then we are all hopeless without Christ.

wb said...

And to Erik:
As an irrelevant closet-pacist, or so I learned in my Ethics course, I meant for the humane comment to be sarcastic by suggesting gradations are possible.
So, I agree with you...all war (and potentially no human relationship, if alturism does not really exist as I learned in my Pysch101 course) is truly inhumane="lacking compassion."
Therefore, war by its nature is inhumane...however, if we look at the deritive form and use inhuman as defined as "not human in nature" perhaps post-Fall war is the most explicit example of being "human in nature."

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