Mike Cope's blog

Monday, May 31, 2004

The whole area of Christian participation in and support for war has been a vexing one for me. (Months ago I mentioned the compelling words of Lee Camp, a Lipscomb professor, in Mere Discipleship, a new book published by Brazos Press.) But regardless of how one comes out on that dicey issue, we have all benefitted from the courage and sacrifice of those who have fought for freedom. Part of why I have the liberty to sit at my desk today and hack away at this blog is that many have fought against what they believed were forces of evil and injustice. One of my closest friends, Dr. Charles Mattis, grew up fatherless. When he was young (four, I believe), his father was shot down in Vietnam. One doesn't have to be a huge supporter of Vietnam to appreciate the sacrifice that was made--not just by the young pilot but also by his widow and her two small children. So today I "remember" this man whom I never knew--along with lots of other men and women I never knew. And I double my prayers for the kingdom of God to continue breaking in. We pray for God's rule that will cause humans to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. We long for the time when "nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore" (Isaiah 2:4).

5 Comments:

  • Thanks for posting this. My grandfather (a Republican) and I (not a Republican) have very different feelings when it comes to politics, the President, the war, etc. We love each other, but often find it hard to agree. One area where we often disagree concerns his own service in combat. He calls it his duty. I call it his sacrifice, an incredibly brave one, and I am always grateful for it. He is a good and godly man. I thank God for the man he is and the soldier he was. I thank God for others, like a man from my church named Henry. He was recently interviewed by a local paper and asked what he learned from his time in WWII. His response was that he learned "war is evil". "The alternative is sometimes worse, as it was with Hitler," he said, "but war itself is a truly evil thing." I am glad that, though Christians may disagree about aspects of this war and other wars, we all know that this is not how things were meant to be and can long for (and work towards) a time when things will be as they should. Thanks again for the post.

    By Blogger chrismith, at 5/31/2004 08:18:00 AM  

  • Chris,

    I enjoyed your post as much as Mike's. The current situation is a difficult thing for me to resolve, and your reminder that "this is not how things were meant to be and [we] can long for (and work towards) a time when things will be as they should" is a good one.

    Jeff

    By Blogger Jeff, at 5/31/2004 09:33:00 AM  

  • I struggle with this, too, but in the end I have to support the people even if I can't stomach the war.

    I just can't feel "worse" for what happens to "our" people than for what happens to "theirs," though. I think the "us" and "them" categories are what bring war to begin with. Objectifying an entire nation as the Enemy or even just a political entity loses sight of the basic humanity inherent in each person. All are created in the image of God -- not just the ones who look like or live like "we" do.

    By Blogger Q, at 5/31/2004 10:57:00 AM  

  • Mike, the first thing that came to my mind when I read your blog this morning were your words echoing from yesterday's sermon as you quoted Jesus in John 16:33 - "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 6/01/2004 08:22:00 AM  

  • John 16:33. One of my favs. I love the two things that Christ promises here. "You WILL have trouble" and "I HAVE overcome". So much better than pollyanna soundbites or defeatist attitudes disguised as realism. It addresses reality and then creates a new one.

    I also agree about not separating "us" and "them". You West Wing nuts (am I the only one) may recall Martin Sheen's character asking "Why is it I care more about a person dying when that person is an American?" and his aide responding "I don't know sir, but you do." In the new reality that Christ has created, in which our identity is found in him, we are forced to care when people suffer, no matter who what or where those people are.

    By Blogger chrismith, at 6/01/2004 12:24:00 PM  

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