Our country is on the verge of a decision concerning Syria. After much thought and prayer, and following the situation as closely as I have time, here are my thoughts. These thoughts are not just on Syria, but war in general and what I believe my attitude should be. Please understand these are my thoughts and how I feel. In this post I am refusing to say things like, “Christians need to…”; “Believers need to…”; etc, etc, etc. I am not speaking for Christians nor for Christianity. This is just simply how I believe at this moment in time. I am a work in progress and so I reserve the right to grow and change. I am going to speak with bullet points because I know my thoughts are somewhat random.
- In the past, based on my interpretation and application of conservative Christianity and conservative politics, I have been far too quick to rush into war (or armed conflict) because “we are right” and everyone else in the world is “wrong.” I bought into a conservative understanding of “American exceptionalism” and wrapped my Christianity up in Nationalism. I was wrong, and have confessed those attitudes and beliefs as a sin based on a biblical principle found in Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
- I am becoming more and more convinced that my mission on earth is to proclaim the kingdom of God, and that doing so puts me more and more at odds with my government. I felt this way long before the present administration. If you have been following my blog for any length of time then you know I do not support either political party. In fact, I believe, my allegiance to God’s kingdom prohibits me from aligning myself to closely to any political ideology.
- The older I get, and the more I read the Gospels and the New Testament, the more of a pacifist I become. I am not a pure pacifist because I do understand that war is sometimes necessary. But I do think I need to be more about peace than violence.
- I pray we do not get involved in Syria. Here are just a few of the reasons why: (1) It is a civil war. (2) It violates the just war theory of proportionality. The evidence is unclear as to who actually used chemical weapons and there is dispute about how many people actually died. Every life is valuable, but I fear our involvement will only increase the number of innocent people who will be killed. Many of the innocent people who will be killed are Christians. (3) We are not really sure who are friends and enemies are. Thus, by attacking, we could be supporting people who want to harm us, and so any attack does nothing to protect our safety. (4) The international community, especially the Arab League, needs to take the lead on this.
- If we do attack Syria, my job will be to pray for my president; pray for the soldiers and their families; pray for the people of Syria; and pray for my country.
- My responsibility will also be to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and to point out the injustices of war and to show the love of Jesus by supporting the humanitarian efforts in Syria and the surrounding countries that are being overwhelmed with refugees.
- My trust needs to be completely in the sovereignty of God. I claim the truth behind Romans 13:1, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God God established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
- I have friends and family who serve in the military. I want them to know how much I love them and pray for them. I believe all of them to be courageous heroes, and I am thankful for their service and dedication.
There is much more I could say, but that is enough for now. I will be watching Pres. Obama’s speech tomorrow evening.
I want to close this post with the words from the Everlast song, “Letters Home from the Garden of Stone.” If you have never heard this song, google it and listen to its haunting message.
I know I’m gettin’ ready to kill
They say we’re goin’ in with the daylight
Ma I don’t want to but I will’Cause I don’t know the man that kills me
And I don’t know these men I kill
I pray to God for my salvation
Wash away the blood I spilled
I try not to think about my family
‘Cause it’s a little too much to take
Out here I got me and I got my buddy
We can’t afford even one mistake
Sorry about writin’ on dirty cardboard
It’s the only paper that I could find
Tell everyone I got their letters
Tell everyone I’m doin’ fine
Late at night when I can dream, Ma
I think about life back in the world
I miss you and Dad, I miss sister Sarah
I miss my wife and my baby girl
Pray for me, pray for my soul, Ma
Pray for me and all my sins
They say that I got a job to do now
And I’ll be back when it finally ends
Do you think I should be fighting?
Ma are you proud, are you ashamed
Really I’m tryin’ to do the right thing
I hope my government can say the same
‘Cause I won’t know the man that kills me
And I don’t know these men I kill
We all wind up on the same side
‘Cause ain’t none of us doin’ God’s will