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Onward, Christian Soldiers

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : April 27, 2008

“My grandfather fought so that we could have this conversation.”

I’ve heard these words (or their equivalent) a dozen times after sharing my pacifist convictions. The assumption here is that it is easy for me to be a pacifist in America. After all, I am fat and comfortable, living with the freedom to say and believe whatever I want. And for me to exercise that freedom in such a way that seemingly disregards the sacrifices of those in the armed forces…well, that is plain disrespectful.

At this point in the conversation–at that point when my dialog partner has demonstrated that my freedom is contingent upon the sacrifices of American soldiers–I used to cast my eyes down and struggle to find words. If I agreed with them, I had nothing left to say. If I disagreed with them, I was an America-hater. To disagree was to reject the freedom they secured.

When American Christians use the words “freedom” and “liberty” and “sacrifice” they are usually being patriotic. When asked if Jesus “sacrificed” for our “freedom” and “liberty” they would quickly agree…and wouldn’t see any conflict between the American sense of these words and the Christian sense. If pressed, I would imagine that the typical American Christian would explain that American soldiers die for our physical or political freedom. Jesus, however, died for our spiritual freedom. It is as though Jesus is Lord of the Spirit but Uncle Sam is Lord of the Flesh.

Kingdom Patriotism

The last time I had a conversation about pacifism and someone brought up the fact that one of their relatives fought for my freedom, I responded: “No, I don’t believe they did.” Then I went on to suggest that Christians always have the freedom to speak the truth of Christ. And even if they are imprisoned for speaking their convictions, they are no less free. This is what the New Testament teaches.

The only ones who sacrificed for my freedom are Jesus and the martyrs…all of those who suffer for the Faith. If by adopting pacifism I dishonor America’s soldiers, by renouncing pacifism I dishonor the blood of Christ and the martyrs.

At this point in a conversation, my dialog partner is likely to point out that it is “easy for me to believe this.” True. True. I believe that it is easier to be a pacifist in America than anywhere else. But that doesn’t believe my convictions are cheap. Many Christians have suffered for their nonviolent convictions. For them it was costly.

My Anabaptist fore bearers died for the right to put away the sword. They weren’t cowards. And they weren’t passive…at least not in the beginning. [By the way...despite popular beliefs, there is no linguistic tie between the words "pacifism" and "passive." A "pacifist" is one who practices or makes peace. A peace maker. A peace-ist.] Many brave Christians have died throughout the ages turning the other cheek–laying down their lives so that Christ could be clearly revealed to the world. This is a greater sacrifice than that soldiers makes in service of their country. It is kingdom patriotism…laying down one’s life in the cause of Christ.

Making it Personal

Lately I’ve begun to realize that if I am to truly honor the sacrifices of my brothers and sisters throughout Church history, I too must be willing to lay down my life in the cause of Christ. I am compelled to no longer sit upon the sidelines. Instead, after a time of prayer and discernment, I’m going to serve as a Christian Peacemaker.

The Christian Peacemaker Teams launched as a response to a speech by Ron Sider. 1984, Sider challenged the Mennonite World Conference in Strasbourg, France with these words (which you can find here):

“Over the past 450 years of martyrdom, immigration and missionary proclamation, the God of shalom has been preparing us Anabaptists for a late twentieth-century rendezvous with history. The next twenty years will be the most dangerous—and perhaps the most vicious and violent—in human history. If we are ready to embrace the cross, God’s reconciling people will profoundly impact the course of world history . . . This could be our finest hour. Never has the world needed our message more. Never has it been more open. Now is the time to risk everything for our belief that Jesus is the way to peace. If we still believe it, now is the time to live what we have spoken.

“We must take up our cross and follow Jesus to Golgotha. We must be prepared to die by the thousands. Those who believed in peace through the sword have not hesitated to die. Proudly, courageously, they gave their lives. Again and again, they sacrificed bright futures to the tragic illusion that one more righteous crusade would bring peace in their time, and they laid down their lives by the millions.

“Unless we . . . are ready to start to die by the thousands in dramatic vigorous new exploits for peace and justice, we should sadly confess that we never really meant what we said, and we dare never whisper another word about pacifism to our sisters and brothers in those desperate lands filled with injustice. Unless we are ready to die developing new nonviolent attempts to reduce conflict, we should confess that we never really meant that the cross was an alternative to the sword . . . ”

The Christian Peacemaker Teams ask: “What would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war?” Like a Christian alternative to the military, hey are engaged in nonviolent resistance around the world. And I believe that joining them is my act of Kingdom Patriotism.

This fall, I’ll join a 2 week delegation (location undecided). After that, if they’ll have me, I’ll receive training and commit to at least 2 weeks of service a year for three years. Several others at Missio Dei are considering similar service.

In the future, Jesus Manifesto will be sharing the stories and struggles of peacemakers around the world. I’m convinced that in these violent times, Christian everywhere need to take a stand for peace. We need to be peacemakers, not people who enjoy the peace that the State offers as we sit on the sidelines. And so, I encourage you to think about the ways in which you and your communities can stand against violence and pursue peace.

Peace is needed in my neighborhood as well as in Palestine. Our community is exploring ways of fostering peace in our neighborhood…through increased hospitality, through friendship, and through service. In the end, the freedom we are pursuing for our neighbors (both at home and abroad) is the freedom found in Christ. The freedom that comes from democracy, while beneficial, is paltry compared to the abundant freedom we have in Christ. The liberty praised by the Declaration of Independence is worthwhile, but it is nothing compared to the liberty that comes from the Spirit is priceless. And both are possible through the sacrifice of Christ. And both are advanced through the suffering of the saints.

Mark Van Steenwyk is the general editor of Jesus Manifesto. He is a Mennonite pastor (Missio Dei in Minneapolis), writer, speaker, and grassroots educator. He lives in South Minneapolis with his wife (Amy), son (Jonas) and some of their friends.


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Comments

Viewing 38 Comments

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    Fantastic. I've seen CPTs on the streets of Hebron, Palestine. A great response.

    By the way, Banksy, whose graffiti you show above, recently painted a lot more on the Wall there. Which is also an interesting response. We need more people who will dance in the face of oppression and draw on the walls that divide people.
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    Mark,

    That is excellent! May God bless you in this. If you're interested, Glen Stassen edited a book called Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War, it's got me interested in pursuing vocational ways to peace
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    Very first thing in college here in the states, we studied a paper that presumed that the 2 conditions for a free society are 1) the bill of rights and 2) a liberal education.

    Thank you, but freedom requires neither. It makes freedom easier to enact, but one has to make the personal choice to live free, irregardless of the environment one finds themselves in.
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    Pacifism is such a big issue, so it'll be a while before I've come to terms with it.
    I heartily concur with the point you make about 'kingdom patriotism': it struck me that in 1 Cor 10:32, Paul differentiates between Jews, Greeks (ie: non-Jews) and Christians. We are indeed a peculiar people, a third race, part of embodying a distinct (and often) rival theo-poetic/theo-political reality.
    But to suggest "The only ones who sacrificed for my freedom are Jesus and the martyrs" concerns me. Doesn't that leave open the possibility of the kind of bigotry we are meant to be beyond, a kind of third-racism? I remember similar arguments during my fundamentalist schooling: art by non-Christians doesn't really glorify God and atheistic scientists don't really discover truth.
    Is there a way in which we can elevate Christianity without diminishing the rest of humanity? If there is, surely not just all those whose vocation is beauty or truth, but also all those whose vocation is justice or peace might be vindicated - Jew, Greek or Christian?
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    I think you take my statement further than intended. Let me put it this way: American solidiers have died for my freedom as much as they have died for the freedom of New Zealanders. I don't invalidate their sacrifice for America. I believe that the freedom I have was purchased by Christ...I don't believe this is a bigoted statement. This isn't like saying: the good deeds of non-Christians aren't glorifying. It isn't like saying art from non-Christians isn't glorifying. It IS to say that when America goes oversees to kill other people to secure American interests, that ISN'T God glorifying. It is America glorifying. And it secures freedom in the Democratic sense, but not the Christian sense.
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    That is a brave thing, Mark. Especially with your newborn child at home. How is your wife taking your decision ? If I'm getting too personal, just tell me to shutup.

    I have been considering doing something like this. After my years in the military, I feel a need to do something to actively promote peace. My wife would have a hard time with it though. She thinks I'm some possession of hers to be put away in a drawer for safe keeping. She is very much in favor of peace in words, but not so much in deeds. God bless on your decision.
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    Well. to be fair, there haven't been very many CPT deaths. It is certainly dangerous, but certainly not as dangerous as it might sound.

    Amy was in on the decision. In fact, we even discussed her serving as well...though that could be difficult with her work schedule. She is of course a little nervous. But she is more worried about my absence for 2 weeks each year, since I already travel a bit for speaking and things. We both feel like it isn't out of hand, but we're cautious not to over-extend ourselves. I'm trying to find ways of bringing Amy and Jonas with more in my regular travels so that the times I travel alone don't become excessive.

    Currently, I'm leaning heavily towards doing my delegation and subsequent service as a reservist in Columbia (though that is somewhat dependent upon timing and cost). Amy is excited about that possibility, since she is fluent in Spanish and wants me to expand my Spanish-speaking abilities. In the long run, we feel like it would be very helpful to be able to connect with the growing Latin American population in Minneapolis. And personally, I believe that if we in the US are going to learn to submit (in the sense of being called to mutual submission) to Latin American brothers and sisters, more folks need to learn the language and be prepared to learn what Latinos have to teach.
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    Well, thats wonderful that Amy is so supportive. I may bring up the subject with my wife when she returns from her trip overseas to visit her family. I'm gonna need some prayers said though because she isn't typically supportive of things like this.
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    Just a question: when you say "Columbia", do you mean British Columbia, or Colombia (Southamerica)?
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    Doh! I am such an idiot. Of course, I meant Colombia. Sorry for my spelling error.
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    My initial impression was great! A pacifist is putting his money where is his mouth is, so to speak. I'm all in favor of walking out what we preach.

    But my maternal instinct cringed. Your timing is not so great for the family. I'm glad to hear Amy is excited about the possibility and wants to be involved too. I'm also encouraged to hear that she has a job. Even though Columbia is not as dangerous as some other regions, you might want to get some life insurance. If for some reason you were not able to come back after two weeks, some extra cash would help her make the transition a little easier.

    I'm also glad to hear that you're thinking about how to minimize family seperateness. When my husband had to work lots of extra hours such that my little boys didn't get to see their Dad that much, they started playing more games where they were defending/fighting off danger. During that time it was much more difficult to keep their games from deteriorating to fighting with each other. Instead of playing a defense against an outside enemy, each other became the enemy. So some times keeping the peace is staying home.

    The tragedy of many immigrants is that they are so busy trying to provide for their families the things they were not able to have in their home country, that they lose the valuable family connectedness and time together they had in their previous situation. I think the children suffer more from lack of parental presence than just about any other material item. I don't have any hard data, and of course each person makes their own choices, but I think it is much more likely that children will make poor relational choices when they don't have very much parental involvement. Living a life of balance is a very good witness and not so easy to do.
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    I've read about CPT working in southern Bolivar, here in Colombia. If you ever come here, please write me at facebook, or mail, or anything (you must be in Bogotá before going anywhere in COlombia).

    Blessings, and congrats for this post
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    That'd be awesome...I'm actually leaning towards Columbia. :)
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    My answer to the question of whether my freedom to be a pacifist is dependent on the willingness of previous and present generations to go to war is that it is a logical fallacy of Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc or, "after the fact, therefore because of the fact." The fallacy looks like this: 1. There was a war in the past, 2. we experience some freedom today, therefore 3. we experience freedom because of the war.

    It might be identical to this fallacious argument. 1. There have been pacifists in American history. 2. we experience some freedom today, therefore 3. we experience freedom because of the pacifists.

    I like that argument better and I've used it to counter the previous argument, but in reality it's still not any sounder.

    Or how about this one. 1. I drank a Newcastle Ale last night. 2 we experience some freedom today, therefore 3. we experience freedom because of my drinking.

    I like that argument a lot too, but it's just plain lame.

    Freedom is a gift of God. If we enjoy it, then the proper response for Christians is not ancestor worship, but to serve the God that grants it by doing the works that His Son has called us to do.

    Good luck with your work Mark.
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    very interesting. It seems like such an understood and simple truth that we cannot have freedom without war. But what a huge false dilemma- forced to choose between freedom and peace. We need to take a step back and see the absurdity of this restricting choice. Have your cake of peace and freedom and eat it too!
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    Hey Mark,
    I am challenged and onvicted by what you shared. I think this is the time. Time to wage peace. It is an exciting time to be alive. Maybe you can do something for me?

    CPT is so scrutinized in the circles I live in. They are seen as trouble makers and sometimes as a hinderance to peace (by others definition). I would love to hear what your experience will be like. Sometimes it is hard to get a balanced view of what is going on. Thanks brother
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    I have friends that think CPT sucks too. They assume they are anti-American hippies that are stirring up trouble. Let's face it though...in our country, how else would someone who embraces conservative politics view a group of people who go into conflict zones to wage peace? After all, in many of the situations CPT finds itself in, the US and its Western Allies are either supporting or benefiting the violence.

    I've sent a link to this article to a couple people in CPT. Hopefully they'll be able to address your comment, joet (not to be confused with the OTHER joet).
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    Ok I need to change my login name.

    T'other joet - I've seen CPT at work in Hebron and heard from the men taken captive in Iraq. If anyone says that CPT sucks, then they've clearly no idea what they're chuntering about.
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    let me know if you change yours. otherwise i have no problem changing.
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    Hi Joet,

    I've been a Christian Peacemaker Teams reservist since 2003 and this month I started work as Outreach Coordinator for CPT, so I'm particularly interested to hear more about why CPT are seen as troublemakers in the circles you live in. CPT's certainly been the target of plenty of criticism over the years. What are the arguments that you've heard?

    If you're interested in reading some stories from my work with CPT, my user name above is linked to the CPT category of my blog.
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    Hey Tim, we may know each other around the blogosphere way. some of the criticism i hear mainly has to do with cpt's work in palestine. people have been not too specific but they say your presence sort of exasperates the problems over there. now,granted, the few voices i heard that said that have been zionists or have those leanings. but there concern is that it is not as much bringing peace as it is pushing some anti-israeli agenda. i try to take it with a grain of salt until i can learn more about it. i hope you have some good insight. you have probably heard this before. thanks tim.
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    Oh, hey Joe, yes I do know you from YAR.

    CPT's work in Israel/Palestine has always drawn the most criticism. The most useful way of thinking about it that I've come across was a metaphor from Rich Meyer, who worked for 10 years as the support coordinator for the Hebron (and later the At-Tuwani) project.

    Rather then dividing the political landscape in the Middle East into pro-Israel and anti-Israel camps, he described the division as pro-violence and anti-violence. There are both Israelis and Palestinians who seek to keep the conflict going for their own interests. There are also people on both sides who are working for a lasting peace and justice. CPT seeks to work with the second group of people. On the Israeli side this includes groups like Rabbis for Human Rights and Israeli Coalition Against Home demolition. On the Palestinian side it is shepherds in At-Tuwani who have refused to respond to settler violence in kind among many others.

    I went on a CPT delegation to Hebron project in 2003 and as I recall we spent about as much time visiting peace groups in and around Jerusalem as we did in Bethlehem and Hebron. One of the highlights was talking with Rabbi Arik Ascherman, with Rabbis for Human Rights.. Rabbi Ascherman, who describes himself as a Zionist has worked tirelessly to "[give] voice to the Jewish tradition of human rights in the context of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories." On the airplane to Tel Aviv I saw photos of him on the roof of a Palestinian home trying to prevent it's demolition. You can read more about the amazing work of his organization here:

    http://rhr.israel.net/

    One of the interesting points the site makes it that it is the only Israeli rabbinical organization that brings together rabbis and students from the Reform, Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Renewal traditions.

    This is just one example of an organization that CPT who defies the stereotypes in the conflict. For more I recommend the Palestine project page on the CPT website:

    http://www.cpt.org/work/palestine
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    As someone who has been there and seen what is happening, I think it is worth thinking through a bit of the reality on the ground and some of the history.

    Hebron (where CPT work) is a bustling and busy Palestinian town within the main Palestinian area of the West Bank and is well within the green line (the defacto peace line dating from the 1967 conflict). At its center is a religious area which is holy to both Jews and Muslims going back many centuries.

    This area had Jewish and Palestinian families resident for generations as neighbours - until the 1929 massacre when many Jews were slaughtered by Arab militia, even as some Palestinian families attempted to save their neighbours.

    After the creation of Israel, the settlement movement was not content with the peace agreement and aimed to continue colonising in the Palestinian areas, which is totally illegal under international law. One particular focus was the Abraham Synagogue in Hebron, which some saw as more important than Jerusalem, and one of the most fundamentalist groups of settlers moved on-mass into a small area of the town. The effect on the surrounding population is considerable, as this group has its own road system and a large military security force - unfortunately not enough to prevent a reciprocal atrocity at the nearby Ibrahim Mosque in 1994.

    Today the settlers literally live on top of the Palestinian homes, separated by a thin roll of barbed wire and a mountain of hatred. Moving around is extremely difficult for the 30,000 Palestinians (though not for the 800 settlers with their own private roads and soldiers).

    There have been many reports of military brutality - most recently from a group called Breaking the Silence, a group of ex-soldiers. CPT acts as a human buffer between children going to school and soldiers who have been known to shoot them. Bringing peace by getting in the way.

    Given that few people complained when a few fundamentalist terrorists decided to make a 2000 year old claim on land that wasn't theirs (I'm not even sure of who would own my country if 2000 year old claims were upheld) and even fewer seem to be particularly bothered about the day-to-day lives of Palestinian families, I'd say there is no justification for claiming that CPT 'exacerbates the situation'.
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    I'm not overly familiar with CPT's, but I know this is a pretty common reaction. I think their high profile campaign at the start of the Iraq War may have been detrimental to their reputation since it seemed that they were defending a ruthless tyrant from attack. Their mission was presented to the world in a ways that were contradictory to their true intent. As much as I hate to say it, I think they may need to get a bit more media savvy, particularly if they are going to engage in public campaigns.
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    Mark,

    Thanks for the excellent post. I am struck by how relevant Sider's comments are now 24 years later.

    A friend of mine is interested in serving with CPT. I will point him toward your blog..
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    Well done Mark and timely. I have traveled a similar road to you I suspect. From gunsmith to ministry via East Timor and Zimbabwe. Openness to the spirit and the journey is such a rush. Hope the birth went well and that your amazement lingers.
    Grace and Peace
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    Very interesting post. I'm stuggling at the moment with my whole political outlook (I was raised in a conservative 'yellowdog' Republican household). Although I am not quite ready to join the pacifist team, you offer a very compelling argument. Do you have any suggestions on what I can read that will offer a Biblical exposition on pacifism? A systematic theology of pacifism so to speak?
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    The Politics Of Jesus by John Howard Yoder is a good start, although it's fairly academic.
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    And if you haven't the time to work through Yoder's brilliant work, try _Jesus for President_. Both texts are incredibly insightful, drawing on a political Jesus who, yes, could be considered a pacifist, but moreover is presented as apartisin--a Christ, and a Christianity, who isn't compelled by the spectacle, but in spite of it.

    As well, Agamben's _Coming Community_ , I believe, would accompany these texts quite well.

    Best
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    Jesus for President is an awesome, easy read read that convicts and inspires. Cannot recommend it highly enough.
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    If the men with the guns are the only thing granting your freedom, the wolf is not at the door - it's inside the house.

    You hit the nail on the head - we are born free. There are places in the world that are more hostile than others to the expression of your freedom, but that's just the local weather.

    Good for you on your CPT decision...I wish I had the courage.
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    I think the point here is an excellent one, although iterated a tad bit better by Flight of the Conchords.

    "If every soldier in the world put down his weapon and picked up a woman
    what a peaceful world this world would be"
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    I know that lyric supposed to be a joke, but I have a hard time laughing at it given the way it just turns women into another object to be picked up and put down. It's also a questionable tactic given the long history of rape as a weapon of war. Soldiers have rarely bothered to put down their guns when "picking up" women.

    In terms of statements by musicians on pacifism my favorite is this dialogue by Joan Baez, What Would You Do If? in which she responds to the classic "What would you do if someone were, say, attacking your grandmother?" question.

    Baez manages to make the discussion both a hilarious and highly articulate case for nonviolence. Highlights from the piece:

    Fred: You haven't answered my question. You're just trying to get out of it...
    Joan: - I'm really trying to say a couple of things. One is that no one knows what they'll do in a moment of crisis and hypothetical questions get hypothetical answers. I'm also hinting that you've made it impossible for me to come out of the situation without having killed one or more people. Then you say, 'Pacifism is a nice idea, but it won't work'. But that's not what bothers me.
    Fred: What bothers you?
    Joan: Well, you might not like it because it's not hypothetical.
    It's real. And it makes the assault on Grandma look like a garden party.
    Fred: What's that?
    Joan: I'm thinking about how we put people through a training process so they'll find out the really good, efficient ways of killing. Nothing incidental like trucks and landslides. Just the opposite, really. You know, how to growl and yell, kill and crawl and jump out of airplanes. Real organized stuff. Hell, you have to be able to run a bayonet through Grandma's middle.
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    I'm genuinely asking this question so don't freak out please...

    How do you marry the old testament and new testament in the context of war? In the old testament God led the children of Israel into war and commanded them to kill. If God is the same yesterday today and forever how do you justify not being able to defend this country? I'm not talking about the war in Iraq, but in general. Yes, Jesus preached peace, but there was a lot of war in the old testament by God leading the way.

    Part two of the question...
    If someone broke into your house and started raping your daughter and wife you wouldn't fight at all? what would you do? You wouldn't defend them at all? I believe that there is a difference between being passive where we love our enemies, but does that mean you don't defend your family or anything? I mean what about being led by the spirit? What about it being a case by case basis?

    On a side note...

    I am active duty in the Coast Guard (part of the military) I am proud to serve this country. I do not kill people and do not go to war. It is easy to think that I would know what I would do if I had to, but I can't. I would like to think that I could look an enemy in the face and love them by praying for them or something radical, but unless put in the situation I don't know what I would do.

    Anyway, thanks for listening/reading.

    I really am curious about these things, so if someone wants to tell me their thoughts I would appreciate it. You can email me at dustin@endurelife.com

    thanks,
    dustin
    www.endurelife.com
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    On the OT question:

    Greg Boyd is doing an interesting voyage through the questions and issues of that on his blog here:

    http://gregboyd.blogspot.com/

    The second question is one Mark and I were debating as new fathers each of us. I'm not 100% sure what I would do. I lean towards this, but I probably would not be above using violence and attempting to be non-lethal I think.

    http://salsa.net/peace/conv/8weekconv7-4.html
    (I totally swiped this link from TimN below)

    Thanks for writing, peace.
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    As far as the OT portion of your question, here is my response. In the old testament, God commanded Israel (the nation of people descended from Abraham who He had made an agreement with) to fight for the land that He had promised them. Typically, most if not all of the wars that God sanctioned in the OT were to build or defend the promised land. America ain't the promised land and we (Americans) ain't a special people set aside for God. I know that ole George W likes to think that God told him that He wanted him to attack Iraq, but I think George is a lying nutcase.

    For the second part of your question I would simply like to say that if someone were to attack a member of my family, it would be possible that I could (as the CPTers like to say) "get in the way". People always assume that violence has to be answered with violence. But I don't have to harm the attacker. I could just get in the way in my attempt to stop him. I could continue to get in the way until I am either unconscious or dead. If the attacker is willing to kill me when I try to stop him non-violently, he was probably going to kill me if I attacked him in a violent way also.

    Of course, none of us really knows what we would do until we are really placed in that sort of situation.
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    This is my first comment on this site, so I hope it goes through and all can read it. Let me first say that I am loving the philosophy that Jesus Manifesto is preaching. Having said that, I'm glad you're here, Dustin, because I've been wondering if I am indeed the "odd man out." I am currently a soldier on active duty in Iraq.

    I do not consider myself a pacifist because I do believe that there are times when violence is necessary and just. Peter the Apostle carried a sword. Not only was he "packin' heat," but he assaulted a police officer during the arrest of Jesus. Now, it is true that Jesus rebuked Peter for his actions during the police raid. However, I do recall a speech Jesus made later when he said that hard times were coming and he said that they should all have a sword. He even said that he who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy a sword. I can't recall where it is chapter and verse, but it is there.

    I believe that a father is duty bound to protect his family. I certainly do not want to harm or kill anyone, but I am not ashamed to say that I would use violence if it was necessary for the safetly of my loved ones. Understand that I am speaking of using violence only in defense and only as a last resort.

    As far as being a soldier is concerned, I am contractually bound to fulfill my term of service to the Army. John the Baptist preached to soldiers to be content with their wages. He did not tell them to go AWOL or throw down their weopons or anything like that.

    I want to finish by saying that I am not trying to start any kind of debate. To the pacifists here, you are my brothers and sisters, and I love you. Continue to serve our King as you feel led. But I do think that it is an error to believe that pacifism is the ONLY way for Christians.
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    Hey folks, here's the results on our recent poll on Christianity and war:

    of 172 responses...

    4 think that it is ok to participate in armed conflict if it serves the interests of their nation.

    16 think it is ok only if it meets just war criteria.

    8 think it might be ok if it is in defense of one's homeland.

    17 don't know.

    20 think it is only ok if it is against profound evil.

    29 say it is never ok to take up the sword.

    69 say that not only should we refuse the way of violence, but we should nonviolently resist war and conflict

    6 people wrote in that it is ok to participate in conflict as a non-combatant who serves teh spiritual and physical needs of those in arms.

    3 said that Christians should institage wars. I assume that these 3 are joking...good one, you tricksters, you!
 

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  • A Different Perspective on Pacifism (or at least new to me) « Central Oregon Emergent Cohort

    April 29, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    [...] Here is the link, its title is Onward, Christian Soldiers. [...]

  • Blessed are the peacemakers « No Chains on Me…

    April 29, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    [...] And here’s my notable link for the night on peacemaking and why pacifism is what Christians are to be ...

  • Angelina and I On the Path to Peace « Marking Time

    May 7, 2008 at 8:04 am

    [...] …we can choose to go where the action is. For example, today I went to Jesus Manifesto and found ...

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