As I have said before, I am not a pacifist, given that I know there are times when self-defense is justified and called for to protect not just ourselves but also those in our community, however that community is defined.
Still, I like the sign that Duke theologian Stanley Hauerwas once told me he has hanging on his office door. He calls it "A Modest Proposal," and it merely suggests that Christians should stop killing Christians.
What a fine idea to pass along to you on this Veterans Day.
Now, clearly even if no Christian ever had killed another Christian in history, the worldwide war death statistics still would look awful. But not nearly as awful as they do.
So I'll be brief today and allow you to ponder the idea of Christians not killing other Christians. Because Christians make up the largest religion on the planet, it seems like a good place to start as we take some time today to remember Americans who gave their life in defense of the country.
(The image you see here today is borrowed from this site.)
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PRAYING (AND ACTING) FOR THE PHILIPPINES
As I'm sure happened in many congregations yesterday, my congregation paused for a moment of silent prayer in response to the devastation in the Philippines because of a typhoon. What good does such prayer do? Well, for one thing it reminds all of those who are keeping silent that they are part of a broader human community and they bear the responsibility to treat that community with love. It makes us ask what those of us who live thousands of miles away can do to help -- and then to do it. And it acknowledges the reality that we are not in control of the forces of nature, which, as Jesus reminded people, can bring rain on both the just and the unjust. Those are reasons enough for such prayer.