Masses of people going to and fro, like waves on the shore. Coming and going with the tide of societies expectation. Crashing and eroding ones sanity with the ethic of greed and consumption. The weight of the grains of more, add to the dunes of the never stable hills, on which one slides and digs into as they climb with hope of success….
I posted that as my status this morning, as I have done after moments of tragedy. I believe that the Church must speak to these situations, but some would quote Jeremiah 6:14:
“They have ahealed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. (Jer 6:14 NAU)
I believe that Christ gave us Peace:
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. bDo not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (Joh 14:27 NAU)
Further, I believe we should be peacemakers:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for athey shall be called sons of God. (Mat 5:9 NAU)
And, if nothing else, we can speak silence, peace, to the storms:
And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and arebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and 1it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you 1afraid? aDo you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Mar 4:37-41 NAU)
I think that in this moment, when the word ‘Christian’ is bandied about like a plague, the Church must, in the highest ecclesiology possible, be the Church and speak Peace. Bishop William writes,
The only way for the world to know that it is being redeem is for the church to point to the Redeemer by being a redeemed people. (Resident Aliens, 94, with Stanley Hauerwas)
So again, I believe that the Church should speak to the situation and in such a way (either through words, or actions) as to bring peace, silence, to the situation. For centuries, we’ve done the opposite. Time to do what the bible says now.
While we are on the topic of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, I wanted to point out Mark Tooley’s case against pacifism in favor of Christian Imperial Crusading Just War theory.
Of all of the modern Christian pacifist thinkers, Tooley decided to take on Stanley Hauerwas of Duke Divinity School.
One comment from that article is hilarious:
“Along with Hauerwas and many others, Yoder looked to Barth, under whom he studied at the University of Basel, in Switzerland. Such admirers discern in the Swiss theologian, sometimes unfairly, a hostility to force, even by legitimate state authority.”
Why is it hilarious, you ask? As a Yoder fan, it would be suffice to say that Yoder, while a student of Karl Barth, actually revolted theologically against Barth, especially when it came to War and Pneumatology (theology of the Holy Spirit)[the latter is my argument alone, still working it out]. But when it came to war, while Yoder was doing his dissertation, he managed to write a 100 page or so paper against Barth’s Just War Theorizing.
Anyhow, my criticism of the aforementioned post by Tooley is as follows, and it has to do with being faithful to the Gospel, even if it means sometimes being over and against “the State” since our loyalty should be to Jesus first and foremost:
“The problem with organizations like the Institute for Religious Democracy really begins with the name of the aforementioned organization. The notion that there can be a “Religious Democracy” comes from a group of people who would prefer to be relevant to society rather than faithful to the gospel. Christians, however, live under a monarchy, the kingship of Christ and not any democracy. Christian pacifists like Yoder and Hauerwas as mentioned in the article are popular in seminary circles; but their message is not heeded because what they are calling for is faithfulness to Christ first and foremost, and that is not happening in the Church. Hauerwas is despised at Brite, believe it or not. It is a liberal idea that Christians should conform their ideas to the world, take the gay marriage and abortion issue. Liberal Christians want churches to accept gay ordination and marriage, so they are more likely to mix Christian ideas with the latest science or gay rights political slogan. In the same way, conservatives mix Christianity with American ideas of patriotism and masculinity to promote a crusader war mentality that is anything but the original just war theory of Augustine. Augustine was originally deemed heretic because of his doctrines of Just War. Christian pacifism was once the original orthodox Christian stance. Now, the orthodox claim that Just war is the orthodox stance, when in reality, it never has been and never will be. For the meek shall inherit the earth.”
Once again, we see that some Christians have a need to reconcile the ideals of democracy and republican forms of government with the Gospel, when in reality, there are some things that our political system cannot achieve because it is not divine, bottom line. That is the heart of Hauerwas’s message. An amatuer reading of Hauerwas’s texts would understand that.
Again, thanks for playing, IRD. Thanks for playing.
Much of the contents of this post are taken from my original post at Political Jesus
Why? The church has become so enculturated that it is encouraging its members to worship the American flag. That was my experience today. We can celebrate those who “died for” our country, but not in Christ as saints (All Saints Day)?
I am increasingly observing the lack of contentment within Christian circles. There is striving to do better. Striving for more of this and more of that. A yearning for more money, a bigger and better paying job so that we can own a bigger and better house. Then there is the strivings to build a bigger church. Strivings for a bigger congregation, a bigger ministry, bigger calling and even perhaps better grades and education.
These things in and of themselves are not necessarily bad. It can be good to earn more money. I look forward to that day myself. Currently I receive about $60 a fortnight through a study allowance as I am on a disability pension. My wife earns a reasonable income and so my pension is cut to virtually zero.
Yet; I have also learnt to be content with what I have. I have learnt to live within the boundaries of what is given me. And through contentment; I have great peace. I have peace that I am doing what God wants me to do. I have peace that God knows what he is doing and will do in my life.
I will admit that this hasn’t always been the case. In 2007 when I found myself in hospital for 2 months and in the following years I was in a place of great turmoil. There was no real peace. I had no real contentment. I was filled with confusion. I was filled with a yearning for why. I was filled with physical, emotional and spiritual pain. I also have to admit that even before this event, I didn’t really have nor experience much peace.
Scripture tells us to be content with what we have in the present! Don’t be discontented with what you don’t have. This can be hard to practice when you have bills to pay; mouths to feed and places to go….and we are filled with anxiety and fear about what will we do….and we find ourselves lacking peace.
Contentedness doesn’t mean we have to stay in the same situation we are in. It doesn’t mean being passive. By all means work hard. Study hard. Pray hard. Improve yourself. In doing so we are faced with a choice of either being impatient, fearful, worried, stressed and over worked…or we can do those things in a state of contentment; knowing that we are doing our best and that God is doing his best and through contentment…peace will be our reward.
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Eph 4:29-32 NLT)
We have to wonder what the role we should play in such times. Many of those who claim the name of Christ and church membership have in no small way contributed to this, and I believe we can say this even without knowing the motivations. We have done so in passivity to Jared Loughner, while a few have contributed to the rhetoric that is being blamed for urging him on. But, even without the absolute knowledge of his motivations, what support can we give to those who are connected in one way or another to this tragedy? I believe that it is as important as ever to understand the Church’s role in the world around us – and no, it is not to be God’s militant and ever conquering army, at least not in the way that the (quasi-)Domionists would have us believe.
We’ll meet in the morning, in our respective houses of worship. Some of us will pray with deep emotion of sadness and shame and a hope to see peace and righteousness emerge from this. Some will pray with gladness that God is judging us and see the deaths here as somehow due. Perhaps that is the real judgment – that we, as Dr. Linville said yesterday in a comment here, have lost compassion. Have we lost the sense of real justice, and real righteousness? Maybe not, I hope not. I hope that we can sit and pray and start to curb our rhetoric and to reach out to those who are ill and oppressed. Read Ephesians. Walk the Ephesians’ Road.
Liturgies have been developed for certain things, seasons, events and such. This one seems fitting…
God blesses those who work for peace,For they will be called the children of God. (Matt 5:9)
God of peace you call us to peace.
Peace within and peace without
Peace before and peace behind
Peace on right and peace on left Christ of peace you call us to peace.
Peace with brother and with sister
Peace with neighbour and with stranger
Peace with friend and with foe Spirit of peace you call us to peace.
Peace in work and in play
Peace in thought and in deed
Peace in word and in action Grant us peace O God of peace.
1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
2 And now here we are,
standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is a well-built city;
its seamless walls cannot be breached.
4 All the tribes of Israel—the Lord’s people—
make their pilgrimage here.
They come to give thanks to the name of the Lord,
as the law requires of Israel.
5 Here stand the thrones where judgment is given,
the thrones of the dynasty of David.
6 Pray for peace in Jerusalem.
May all who love this city prosper.
7 O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls
and prosperity in your palaces.
8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say,
“May you have peace.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.
John 14:23-27 (Contemporary English Version) Jesus replied: If anyone loves me, they will obey me. Then my Father will love them, and we will come to them and live in them. But anyone who doesn’t love me, won’t obey me. What they have heard me say doesn’t really come from me, but from the Father who sent me. I have told you these things while I am still with you. But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my place. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you. I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn’t like the peace that this world can give. So don’t be worried or afraid.
Our Father who is in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for yours is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
God all powerful and all knowing encircle us
Keep love within and fear without
Keep peace within and violence out Circle us with your presence
God all loving and all embracing encircle us
Keep wholeness in and disease without
Keep care within and selfishness out Circle us with your love
God all mighty and all caring encircle us
Keep truth within and injustice out
Keep acceptance in and prejudice out Circle us with your peace
God may we be instruments of your peace today
In a world divided by war and strife
May we be your reconcilers
In a world of hurt and pain
May we be those who care for our enemies
In a world that kills and maims
May we be those who heal and restore
God lead us with your peace
Through the pathway of your love
To the promise of your kingdom,
The blessing of God be upon you. The blessing of the God of life.
The blessing of Christ be upon you. The blessing of the Christ of love.
The blessing of the spirit upon you. The blessing of the spirit of peace.
The blessing of God be yours, now and evermore. Amen
Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (for the right); they rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous. Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for Allah knoweth well those that do right (3:113-115 AYA).
Nearest among them in love to the Believers wilt thou find those who say, “We are Christians”: Because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant (5:85 AYA/82 MP).
I do not believe that the Qur’an is holy unto God, nor contains the truth of reveal Scripture, but I do believe that others do. And, I believe that If I want others to respect me and my beliefs, I should strive to do so to them. Respect is not pluralism. In reading portions of the Qur’an, there are verses and passages that are difficult (so too the Word of God) but then there are portions in which Muslims are told not to kill Christians and Jews, but essentially, to let Allah sort it out.
Nine years ago today, radical, Islamic, terrorists killed thousands of Americans, bringing their hatred home to us. They disobeyed portions of their own sacred text.
For me, I pray that the truth of God reveals to Isaiah becomes a reality and we as Christians obey our sacred texts, turning the other cheek, loving our enemies, praying, charity and good works, and from Micah which I hope rings true soon enough,
In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all– the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The LORD will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore. (Micah 4:1-3 NLT)
Because nothing says peace like urging death to a race….
Erekat called on the Israeli government to denounce the remarks by Israel’s former chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and to take action against racist remarks by other elected officials. He also criticized Israel for allowing the incident to pass without condemnation.
Yosef had said during his weekly Shabbat sermon that the Palestinians, namely Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, should perish from the world. Yosef, a founder of the Shas Party, also described Palestinians as evil, bitter enemies of Israel.
“All these evil people should perish from this world … God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians,” Yosef had said. (here and here)
Also, here is an interesting editorial on the Irish peace process and what it might mean for the Israel-Palestinian Peace Process.
To be fair, however, Hamas still contains within it’s written goals the complete elimination of Israel.
“One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail,” said Rabbi Yaacov Perrin in his eulogy of Dr. Baruch Goldstein (news article, Feb. 28). The original Hebraic phraseology comes from the Midrash to Deuteronomy which, typically, elaborates on the sparse biblical description of the death of Moses.
I have no great love for the Tea Party. I have no love at all for the Tea Party (again, I am clearly wrong to address it as a monolithic structure, but I haven’t heard much right from them, so turn about is fair game, I reckon), but one of the mistakes that they have made is to be co-opted by the same people who they are fighting against. Or, maybe they are just fighting against Democrats…. Nah…they want all the ‘bums’ thrown out, right?
Anyway, a few weeks ago, a certain depraved Congresswoman from Minnesota organized the Tea Party Caucus in Congress. The great thing about the grassroots movement is for once, common people were taking part in the conversation (you know, except when financed by Freedom Works and their corporate sponsors). From what I understand, many in the Tea Party crowd(s) are non-interventionist, following the only sane thought which Ron Paul has ever had, that we do not need to use our military in the foreign nation building and police watch dog policies which we are currently and have been engaged in for several generations. Now this Caucus, which has co-opted the grassroots movement, is suggesting that Israel go to war with Iran. Do they really think – wait, of course they don’t think – that Israel would be alone in the war with Iran or that Iran would be alone with the war with Israel? An Israeli-Iranian war, while fodder for Christian Zionists, would do nothing but prolong our involvement in the Middle East, and get more of our troops killed – even if, for some reason, we didn’t have to intervene.
Look, I don’t like thinking this, much less putting it out there, but Ron Paul is right. (Shivers, uncontrollably) We forget that Iran supported us at first in Afghanistan, moving towards moderation in their politics; it was only after the U.S. invasion of Iraq that Iran snapped back into conservatism and elected Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Had we listened to people like Ron Paul and the late Senator Byrd, the world would be a different place at the moment. Yes, we got rid of Saddam, but by doing this, we got the nutjob in Iran. Good trade? Hardly.
So, let me tell you my prophecy – the Tea Party Caucus comes to power in the November Elections, hardly resembling the actual Tea Party and pass resolutions giving Israel the ‘support’ it needs to do what the ‘U.S. won’t.’ Israel attacks Iran, with the cheers of U.S. Zionists of the Hagee variety. Iran strikes back and so do other Islamic countries We have to get involved because we are in the cross-hairs. Lots of solders die. Lots. Lots. And more….
note 1 – Ron Paul and the non-interventionist foreign policy is actually a ‘Christian’ thing to do. I generally tend to be libertarian when it comes to foreign policy.
note 2 – Bachmann is a nut.
note 3 – the Hagee Zionists are different from the garden variety kind. Hagee and his bunch believe that things like pushing Israel to battle Iran is something that can bring on the mythical Rapture. Hagee and his CUFI, which is Assyrian for ‘I will blow you up to make peace’, pervert the Scriptures and the well-intentions of Messianic Jews (real Jews who believe in Christ) and real Christians who support the Jewish People. They are also connected to Bachmann and others in the Tea Party Caucus
note 4 – unless the Tea Party people – the real people who support smaller government, etc… – make a concerted effort to destroy the so-called Caucus, then their positions are invalid and thus muted. They are being used. Deal with it.
This is always a touchy issue, politically and religiously, but it seems that at least for now, the Palestinian Authority is making overtures for peace with Israel. Could a two-state solution be in the forecast?
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has given U.S. special envoy George Mitchell a list of written proposals for reaching a peace agreement with Israel, which includes leaving the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem and Western Wall under Israeli control, Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat reported on Saturday.
Abbas is said to have proposed the creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, but with a land swap encompassing 2.3 percent, which would leave larger settlement blocs such as Gush Etzion, Pisgat Ze’ev and Modi’in Ilit in Israel’s hands, along with a swathe of land overlooking Ben-Gurion International Airport.
In return, the Palestinians would get land bordering the southern West Bank in addition to land for a passageway between the West Bank and Gaza.
Just think what a peaceful resolution would mean for the likes of John Hagee…maybe he would finally leave the air. No, no, I don’t mean to suggest that Hagee and others simply don’t want peace in the Middle East because it would threaten their lifestyle. No, not at all…