Sunday, July 24, 2011

Peace Quote of the Day - taking Jesus seriously: proving love of God by loving enemies

“The biblical test case for love of God is love of neighbor. The biblical test case for love of neighbor is love of enemy. Failure to love the enemy is failure to love God.” 
- Wayne Northey, in the book Unconditional? The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness, by Brian Zahnd

It seems fairly obvious that if people (starting with Christians) were to take Jesus' teaching seriously, and to "prove" their love of God by loving their neighbors and loving even their enemies, the impact for peace in this world would be incalculable.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Peace Blogs of the Day - The Warmonger's Fruit of the Spirit and The Warmonger's Lexicon

Check out two posts critiquing American Christian support of war:

The Warmonger’s Fruit of the Spirit, which begins:
"It seems sensible and logical that followers of someone called the Prince of Peace would not act like they are following Mars, the Roman god of war.

As I have maintained whenever I speak about Christianity and war, if there is any group of people that should be opposed to war, empire, militarism, the warfare state, an imperial presidency, blind nationalism, government war propaganda, and an aggressive foreign policy it is Christians, and especially conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians who claim to strictly follow the dictates of Scripture and worship the Prince of Peace."

and The Warmonger’s Lexicon, which begins:

"Defenders of U.S. wars and military interventions look like the majority of Americans. They also dress like them, eat like them, work like them, play like them, and talk like them. However, it is sometimes impossible to communicate with or make sense of them because some things they say have their own peculiar definition.

This differs from military doublespeak.

To really understand these defenders of U.S. wars and military interventions, one needs a warmonger's lexicon. To get started, I propose the following entries:

Just war: any war the United States engages in.
Good war: any war in which the United States is on the winning side.
Defensive war: any war the United States starts."

It seems to me that the cause of peace (and the prophetic role and witness of Christians) is harmed by the politicization/ideologization of faith in the American context - i.e., Christians aligning themselves with one political party or ideology (mainly, conservative Republican) or another. 

As the author of the above blog posts notes, it is ironic and worse, that those calling themselves "Christians," i.e., followers of Jesus, the "Prince of Peace" and the one who said "blessed are the peacemakers," should be so strongly in support of the U.S. war machine. 

Christians in America need to take another look at Biblical values, and what it means to stand for the teachings of Jesus. We need to get away from party politics, and away from knee-jerk support of American war efforts, and back to a role of critiquing the actions of our government from the perspective of Biblical values, across the board. 

The world needs Christians to be a force for peace, not for war.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Peace Quote of the Day - are Christian Zionists contributing to peace?

God save us from these people [Christian Zionists]. When you see what these people are encouraging Israel and the U.S. Administration to do – that is, ignore the Palestinians, if not worse, if not kick them out, expand the settlements to the greatest extent possible – they are leading us into a scenario of out-and-out disaster.
Yossi Alpher (60 Minutes, “Zion's Christian Soldiers,” Oct. 6, 2002)
quoted in  David Brog, Standing With Israel: Why Christians Support the Jewish State

Monday, July 11, 2011

Peace Quote of the Day - We must interfere (Elie Wiesel, Night)

I remember: it happened yesterday, or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the Kingdom of Night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.

I remember he asked his father, 'Can this be true? This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?'

And now the boy is turning to me, 'Tell me,' he asks, 'what have you done with my future , what have you done with your life/' And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.

And then I explain to him how na├»ve we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.
Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, recorded in Night

Everyone should read Night. Wiesel is right, we must remember (the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust). And Wiesel is right – our moral obligation, to God and to humanity, is to know human suffering – all human suffering, everywhere, by and of any people – and to take action on behalf of the victims. And that includes the Palestinians.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book for Peace - Allah: A Christian Response

I have read many books (and answered many questions) related to the question of whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. This is the best book I have read on the subject, and it is particularly helpful and interesting because Volf addresses the broader context, including ways in which God and religion serve as identity markers and contribute to conflict between groups. His discussion of the views of some key historical figures (including Martin Luther) on the question is very helpful. And a significant part of the book is the discussion of whether Christians and Muslims can find a way to work together for the "common good" (rather than trying to destroy each other).

I highly recommend this book, for Christians and Muslims alike. But to benefit, you have to approach it with an open mind...