Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Some Thoughts on 9/11

I'm a bit late on posting this but I wanted to share it anyway. I did some thinking about 9/11 last week and these are my thoughts...

As terrible and evil as the 9/11 attacks were, it was not a stand-alone event. It was simply one more tragic episode in an ongoing cycle of systemic violence. 9/11 and the two subsequent wars are exactly what happens when two people groups / nations buy into the myth of redemptive violence - that long-term good can come from violence. One group may be able to dominate another but that's hardly good or the biblical idea of peace.

The myth of redemptive violence is holding captive America, her enemies, her allies and many other nations, people groups and individuals in this world. Jesus, free your people from the alluring siren song and perpetual cycle emanating from the myth of redemptive violence.

I can still remember having Erin's birthday dinner with my sister and brother-in-law in the Applebees on 95th and I-35 when the news reports began showing the bombing of Afghanistan. It was the US's first official military strike against the Afghanistan. 9 years, two wars and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths later, we're still fighting in Afghanistan, though the war in Iraq (declared un-just by the World Council of Churches) has finally ended.

What if instead of bombing the Taliban, we'd gone over there and served them? Showed them we weren't out for their destruction but for their betterment? I'll bet they would've killed a few more US citizens but we also could've stopped the cycle of terrorism. Instead, we've simply guaranteed another generation of terrorists, the little boys who are living in war-time poverty and have seen their parents killed as "necessary casualties" of the war on terror. Maybe that Jesus guy really did know what he was talking about when he said "love your enemies" and when his follower Paul said we're "not to return evil with evil but to overcome evil with good."

And why do we continue to justify the hundreds of thousands (official military sites estimate 200,000 which, considering the source, has to be very conservative) civilian deaths in a war in response to the almost 3,000 civilian deaths on 9/11. How is that okay? Why are American lives 30 times more valuable than the lives of Afghan and Iraq citizens?

Finally, how could Christians jump on the bandwagon for a war of retribution? Where in the New Testament do we see the instruction to kill those who want to harm us? I'll admit, I was pretty gung-ho, "pay them back/ protect our freedom" in 2001. I was on the fence for the Iraq war until the Abughrab incident, then the veil was lifted so to speak. But now, I just can't see it at all. I'm going to post some scriptures below that can inform a Christian response the next time our lives and the lives of our family members are threatened.

Matthew 5:43-48
43 "You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor'* and hate your enemy.44 But I say, love your enemies!* Pray for those who persecute you!45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.47 If you are kind only to your friends,* how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Matthew 26:50-52
Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him.51 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest's slave, slashing off his ear.
52 "Put away your sword," Jesus told him. "Those who use the sword will die by the sword.”

Luke 6:27-36
27 "But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don't try to get them back.31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
32 "If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!” 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
35 "Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

Romans 12:14-21
14 Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them.15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.16 Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

"I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,"*
says the LORD.

20 Instead,

"If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads."*

21 Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

“[Jesus] did not retaliate when he was insulted, no threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.” – the Apostle Peter
1 Peter 2:23-25

23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted,
nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God,
who always judges fairly.
24 He personally carried our sins
in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.
By his wounds
you are healed.
25 Once you were like sheep
who wandered away.
But now you have turned to your Shepherd,
the Guardian of your souls.

1 Peter 3:17-18
17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!
18 Christ suffered* for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.*

3 John 1:11
11 Dear friend, don't let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God's children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God

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