A lot to say
Still reading Walter Winkís The Powers that Be, and let me say what a great book.
The stuff I am now reading is so topical to our current situation, and has opened my eyesÖa lotÖ to the nature of violence. Rich is having a lively discussion about the anniversary of September 11. I have my own feelings about the matter, but that is a later discussion. What I am intending to do today (jeeze, this is sounding a lot like I actually know what I am talking about) is discuss the spiral of violence (many ideas come from my recent reading of Wink, but also have just been stewing in my head for a long while).
364 days ago unspeakable violence happened here on our nation in the form of a terrorist attack, killing about 3200 people. Leaving parents without children, children without parents, brothers from sisters, friends, loversÖall gone from this terrestrial sphere forever.
362 days ago, ìWar has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder.
This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others; it will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing.î
340 days ago the strongest military power in the world begins dropping bombs on a country already ravaged from 20 years of civil war.
The spiral of violence is something that I, as a Christian, have to try eradicate. We live in a society in which we are constantly looking for scapegoats (the Taliban, militias, Bobby wearing the wrong color shirt). But God is beyond finding scapegoat. God is a God of love and forgiveness. One of the interesting things I have read in this book has to do with the way we perceive Godís love for us. There is a constant human need for sacrifice (blood atonement), if you will, and through Jesusí death on the cross we have had our sins atoned for. But Wink goes on by paraphrasing Raymund Schwager, thus:
ìJesus ëhimself bore our sins in his body on the crossí (1 Pet. 2:24), not to reconcile God to us, as the blood atonement theory has it, but to reconcile us to God (2 Cor. 5:18). God has renounced any account of sins; no repayment is required or even possible. God is not a stern and inflexible magistrate but a loving parent. Why, then, was a redemptive act necessary? Because our resentment toward God and our will to kill leave us unable to turn to God. ëGod needs no reparation, but human beings must be extracted from their own prison if they are to be capable of accepting the pure gift of freely offered loveÖIt is not God who must be appeased, but humans who must be delivered from their hatredí of God.î
Ok. So what? Well, I believe that with God as the ultimate authority, it may be a good idea to follow his lead here. For eons, wars have been waged in the name of God. These wars have primarily been over interpretation of God, even though in many instances the God is the sameÖgo figure.
I am ramblingÖget to the point. Ok.
We do not need to propagate the spiral of violence. Instead we need to look at the causes, and see what is the truly Holy way to go about these issues. Do I have a suggestion on how to do this? No, all I can do is pray for peace and wisdom and patience amongst those who are making the decisions.
I witnessed the end part of what looked like a very serious accident this morning on the way to work. It was on Kedzie in between Logan and Albany. A convertible and a school bus. Please keep those involved in prayer. Also, thank God for the selfless souls who immediately ran to, and without worry for themselves pulled the drive of the convertible out of his car, because it was beginning to smoke.
Peace on the Earth