remembering D-Day

I hope being a pacifist Christian does not lessen my respect for the terrible sacrifice that often accompanies war– from paying the ultimate sacrifice to simply being willing to go in harm’s way to so serve. The Normandy Invasion which occurred 70 years ago today is a prime example.

It seems the case that in this present evil age war or perhaps better put the use of force is not only inevitable, but perhaps in some measure necessary. Although it should certainly always be avoided if possible. It is not good to get into debates on war and whether or not a Christian should participate in such, or be in the military on days like this. Certainly many followers of Christ have so served.

Let us pause in silence to remember. And thank God for those who served and continue to serve. Even as we pray for the end of all war with the words our Lord taught us: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

American (or any other nation’s) politics and the good news of King Jesus

I am puzzled over Christians– particularly churches, denominations and leaders publically lining up on either the Democratic or Republican side here in the United States. Lining up right or left. And I should add center. Libertarian, socialist, whatever (should I now include, Tea Party?). That’s not to say I myself don’t have a political stance or take political positions, although I find it rather murky and difficult. And I really want to hear the best of every side, and not the supposed worst of political rivals.

Scot McKnight, Allan R. Bevere (see his helpful, for me groundbreaking book, The Politics of Witness: The Character of the Church in the World) and others (I think I would include N. T. Wright here as well) have pointed out the limitations of political entities of this world, not to say they don’t have their place in doing a particular kind of good. As Scot McKnight has pointed out, the politic we in Jesus must be engaged in and committed to is nothing less than God’s kingdom come in Jesus which consists of a King and subjects which happen to be God’s royal sons and daughters in and through Jesus. This is a kingdom bringing good news in Jesus for the world which is supposed to be not just a challenge to the politics of this world, but the light which shows the way as well as the source to God’s kingdom come and God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven.

Even churches and denominations as well as various groups of Christians (such as evangelicals or mainline Protestants) generally line up the same politically. That is actually understandable given their values expressed in their understanding of God’s will or priorities in the here and now. We certainly all have our views, whatever they may be. And surely American (and other nations) politics are important in their place, I have no doubt about that. But when out of place confidence in such can be idolatrous. Or at least misplaced. Nothing in this world can replace or duplicate the good works to which Christ’s body, the church is called.

I lose confidence to some extent in Christian leaders who are always speaking out in line with any political party. The more they say on that subject, the more I tend to write them off. I will express a bit of an exception to the rule here. I have a deep, abiding respect for the Quaker tradition which was influential in influencing William Wilberforce to take up the issue of slavery, which eventually led to its abolition in most of the British empire. That’s surely only a tip of the iceberg of all the good the Quakers have done in their passion for justice in line with their understanding of God’s will. I say that because from my understanding the Quakers  in their fight to push through legislation, inevitably had to side with one party over the other. Though that doesn’t mean they lined up completely with the party, which I’m supposing is doubtful.

The danger is to become aligned with any political party in the process. Christians and churches need to live above and beyond that, even though what they do, heavenly minded as it is, is actually of earthly good. So it’s a weakness if any group of Christians, any church or denomination adheres to one party or another, or any position at all as if the answer is in Washington D. C., or some other center of power or government. Jesus is our King and we in Jesus are God’s servants. As such we submit to earthly governing authorities as long as they do not decree laws that mandate disobedience to God. We do so as those who in all things seek to live completely committed to a higher rule.

I was unaware that today marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day. I would have postponed such a post for another time, if I would have been aware of that. So I added another post remembering that day: remembering D-Day.