7 Questions for Weighing War
From my journal: There are some questions I'd like to hear more Evangelical Christians discussing (and using as a recipe for prayer?):
- Do we spend enough time pondering the unintended consequences of war: the lingering hate that lasts for generations, the tyrants and tyrannical systems that often arise in the wake of war, the scars and wounds and memories that blight numberless families for decades? (On both sides?)
- Do we think enough about the children and the old people who suffer unspeakably when armies march? The young men and women—the flower of nations—who never return from war? (England lost 70,000 men and 170,000 wounded in three days of war in WWI, and, historian Paul Keegan writes, "[those days] marked the end of an age of vital optimism in British life that has never been recovered."
- Do we ever think of those on the other side who worship the Lord Jesus too? What does war do to our national soul?
- Would our movement ever listen to Christian thinkers in other parts of the world on the subject of war … especially those who have been through it?
- How many preachers know how to open the Bible on the subject of the morality and the spiritual cost to nations at war, to make their people think … and engage in intensive intercessory prayer?
- Does the concept of sanctity of life have any application to war issues?
- Is the Christian movement of which we are a part a safe community to discuss these things?
From one of Henri Nouwen's older books, The Living Reminder: "How would it sound when the question, 'Can I speak to the minister?' is not answered by 'I am sorry, he has someone in his office' but by 'I am sorry, he is praying' or 'The minister is unavailable because this is his day of solitude, this is his day in the hermitage, this is his desert day.'"
I love this word-picture: From a manuscript by Professor David Clark (Bethel Seminary) when he speaks of those who seek quick and easy answers to tough questions and find it tough to engage in costly commitment: "Without realizing it, they drink seawater; by taking in salt water to slake their thirst, they find a momentary relief that only makes their thirst more acute in the end."
In the Sunday New York Times Magazine: There is a wonderful article by Judith Shulevitz, Bring Back the Sabbath. Lots of provocative thinking here.
Attributed to Jonathan Edwards: "Oh how good … is it to work for God in the day-time, and at night to lie down under his smiles." (It's the kind of comment you put on an index card, put it near your bed and read just before you turn out the lights).
At age 80, Norman Mailer says to an interviewer: "I remember saying in 1958, 'I am imprisoned with a perception that will settle for nothing less than making a revolution in the consciousness of our time.' And I certainly failed, didn't I? At the time, I thought I had books in me that no one else did, and so soon as I was able to write them, society would be altered. Kind of grandiose." (In so saying, Mailer reminds ...