“I’m not comparing him to Jesus Christ, but
I enjoyed this piece Caleb… no matter how many times I read someone who loves Jesus talk about a “Liberal” without somehow making it seem like a naughty word, I’m always refreshed and encouraged. I live in the Chicago area as well and have been fortunate enough to have Senator Obama speak at my school a few times over the last couple of years. He first did during his early campaigning for the senate seat, and what struck me then, was not simply how hopeful he seemed, or how much he appeared to genuinely believe in the potential goodness of the people of the United States. I was awed at the gentleness with which he conveyed his deepest convictions. It was moving, how real he was, how vulnerable. And it struck me then, as now, that it was through that vulnerability that he was able to connect with the masses of people throughout the state, and eventually the nation. My point is this: Perhaps the most attractive thing about Senator Obama, at least to me, was his humanness. For so many years I kind of half-thought of politicians as these above the law super humans who could show no doubt or fear at the cost of their political power. If they had any chance in Washington there could be no gaps in their political armor; what made me so impressed with Obama was that he was the only political figure I saw who was bold enough to not have any. He was, and is, a real person… even with his media driven “rock star” status, and those cowardly attacks on his character and ability from those who would say anything to plant doubt in the minds of the public, he is audacious enough to offer hope. And he does so by being somewhat paradoxical; gentle/strong, charismatic/soft-spoken, masterful/intrigued, humble/convicted, political/open-minded… much like a living, breathing, honest to goodness human being.
Here might be a good time to insert an applicable verse; “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Phil.2:1-5). I’ll end by simply offering this… perhaps it’s okay, or even appropriate, as Christians, to compare our leaders to Jesus. And if it so happens that one of them has an attitude that seems “the same as that of Christ Jesus”, perhaps we can together hope with him for a brighter, more Just and Peaceful tomorrow. At least until the Glorious Day. Amen.
I assume everyone under the sun has heard this by now, but Barak’s keynote at the Call to Renewal conference is mandatory listening:
There’s an MP3 and a transcript.
I believe he is capable of repairing the damage done to Christianity in America in the last several years. I’ve got to admit, while Barak fever is sometimes a little overwhelming here in Chicago, I’d rather hear about him all day than Anna Nichole or Britney’s shaved head.
Great essay Caleb.
Audicity of hope? How about Audicity of results. It’s easy to have hope, but will his policies have action that brings results. If he is right about that war, then why isn’t he sponsoring a bill to bring the troops home now? There is nothing wrong with partisinship. It is what makes this country great. I encourage you to examine the fruits of his actions. It’s easy to profess to be a Christian, but is he truly a follower of Jesus Christ. Being for the poor is easy you when you believe it is the governments problem. Individuals are responsible for the poor and the marginlized.
Someone should have done their homework. The reason he’s not sponsoring a bill to bring the troops home now, is because he’s smarter than that. On January 31, Senator Obama introduced the “Iraq War De-escalation act”. Here are his own words on the matter:”This plan would not only place a cap on the number of troops in Iraq and stop the escalation, more importantly, it would begin a phased redeployment of U.S. forces with the goal of removing of all U.S. combat forces from Iraq by March 31st, 2008 – consistent with the expectations of the bipartisan Iraq study group that the President has so assiduously ignored.” You can listen to the whole speech at http:/obama.senate.gov.
Everything is not black and white, and he is being a responsible leader by remaining realistic and convicted, or bipartisan (grey) on the matter. As to whether or not he is “truly a follower of Jesus”, I would love to know what the criteria are for “true” followers of Christ in public service positions. Is there a special hat that they wear, or some special code word they use to show they’re actually following Jesus? If so, I missed that section of my church’s newsletter so please fill me in.
Also, this is a democracy, that is, a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”… individuals compose the matter of our government and dictate it’s responsibilities. Therefore, if one considers poor and marginalized people their own responsibility, that same ideological stance should carry over into their political stance.
I’m just so sick of hearing people say that Obama lacks experience… because these are the same people who elected W into office, and ol’ G.W. was way less qualified than Barack is when he was elected in 2000. (see: “fruit’s of GW’s actions”). Barack has been serving the people twice as long as Bush had been when he was elected President. Bush has exploited and marginalized the constitution, and Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. Bush made money in big business prior to public service, Obama served the poor and marginalized on the south side of Chicago as a Lawyer and community organizer. The comparisons could go on, but for the sake of our first three resolutions, and my own breath, I’ll stop here. If you dont like Obama because he’s a Democrat, or pro choice, at least have the guts to just say so. Then find out why he has chosen to be those things… I think you’ll find his answers at the very least… coherent. Which will be a breath of fresh air.
First of all I did not say I did not like Obama. I don’t care about his personality or his hope. I care about policy. I also did not say anything about his experience. If a person has the right vision for the country, then we should take a closer look. Why does left get so emotional when we question the 30 second sound bite of a politician? You were all over the board in the previous comment, but big business is a good thing. It provides opportunity for people to earn a living and give back. Who’s been more effective Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson, “Community Leaders”, or Herb Kelleher, Founder of Southwest Airlines? Two more things…how do liberal Christians support an agenda that is for abortion? I’m assuming you ant-war Christians are against war because the result is innocent death. Please help me understand. I’m serious! Lastly, The Fruit of the Spirit is a great criterion that describes a follower of Christ. Again, it is easy to claim to be a Christian. Mitt Romney claims to be a follower of Christ, but I’m not sure about that. I would still vote for him (I’m open minded!)
What amazes me is how we all, Religious right and left, tend to believe our guy and not the other guy. Conservatives don’t believe Obama, after all they say he’s pro-choice. Liberal leaning Christians don’t believe Bush. After all they say, there is still poverty and we went to Iraq and are still there. As soon as someone questions Obama’s faith or policy ideas, Bush is bashed. Can we all just stop! I am personally a conservative Christian and I vote that way. However, as I have gotten older, and hopefully wiser, I have come to understand the wisdom of how Billy Graham has acted towad polotics, HANDS OFF! He doesn’t support either side. He has been an adviser to numerous presidents from Ike to Bush. He hasn’t always liked some of their policies, but he never bashed a one of them in public. Even during the Clinton-Lewinsky stuff, he didn’t jump on him. He welcomes people of all Christian denominations and political leanings. I guess he has taken to heart the scripture, “I am all things to all people in order that I might win some.” Why is it that we tend to trash each other? Why is it that religious right and religious left think that government, ran by Bush or Obama, will actually cure any of socioties ills? I don’t care who is in the White House, poverty will never be defeated by govenrments. When it comes to the poor, government only creates poor, not ends it.
Now, is Obama a Christian or not? I don’t know. He says he is, but anyone can claim that. I live in the Bible Belt and just about everyone claims to be a Christian. However, the social ills that appear outside of here are just as present here as in any Northern city or on the west coast. If everyone was as Christian as they say they are down here, then there would be no Abortion clinics, there would be no Crack dealers, there would be not rape or child molestation. I can claim to be anything I want, that doesn’t wake it so. What I would like to hear from Mr. Obama is a testimony. Maybe he has given one and I missed it.
What is the mark of a Christian in public office? The same as for the rest of us. Its not going to a particular church. Its not saying you are a Christian or quoting some scriptures that a speach writer found for you. I want to hear his testimony of how he came to know that Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the life, that faith in Him is the only way to salvation.
Brian…you should do your homework…we are a republic.
Thanks for the reminder Davida, but I think it’s referred to as a “Democratic Republic” because it involves elected representatives. There are plenty of so-called “republics” who seem to care less about the needs of their people. Thanks though, your semantical aid was very, very helpful. Next time just call me a doo doo head if you disagree, it’ll be way funnier.
Greg, I actually appreciate your comment quite a bit. I want to say that I am all for the passionate exchange of ideas, and I’m sorry if I come off too strong… or sarcastic. I think that the natural tendency when one is differentiating between two opposing ideas is to use figureheads. Thats why my comment became Bush vs. Obama…
I’m actually from the town that is home to the Billy Graham Center… I have tons of respect for that man as well… and I like his “above the argument” approach. But, I am just no Billy Graham.
Concerning the “pro-choice Christian” comment, I think conservatives miss the mark when the assert that pro-choice is synonymous with pro-abortion. The question one must answer is not whether or not he values life, but it is what he thinks the governments place is in making and enforcing laws concerning an individuals body. I think that someone who is anti-abortion can still be someone who supports a woman’s right to chose based on what they think the function of government is. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s where I’m coming from.
Now Chris, Who made a bigger impact? Who’s been more effective? I’m sorry if this hurts your feelings, but I’ll take “community organizers” like Mahatma Gandhi, Paul Revere, and Martin Luther King JR. (revolutionaries and proponents of huge social change) over Herb Kelleher (founder of an airline) any day.
And isn’t Mitt Romney a Mormon Republican? Thats like saying you’re “open minded” for considering Coke instead over Pepsi. Sorry.
Greg, I also appreciated your comment about the nasty things we say to each other. Both liberals and conservatives tend to see things in black and white, when most issues are very complicated. Like poverty for instance. I would agree with you that governments only create poverty, but that is only if the people in a “democratic republic” (thanks Brian) allow it. I believe that when it comes to poverty, liberals tend to want to label it the government’s problem and conservatives tend to want to label it the individual’s problem. But the truth is, it’s both! We cannot seperate the two. Yes, individuals, and individuals working within communities such as churches, need to take personal responsibility when it comes to taking care of the poor. But those same individuals cannot, as Bishop Peter Storey says, “let their institutions do their sinning for them.” This is why I thought the Democratic Congress’s idea to raise minimum wage was a good thing, but I also thought President Bush’s idea to include tax breaks for small business was a good idea.
So let’s step back from our mantles for a second and think about this logically. Can either party, Republican or Democrat, truely be right about every issue? Absolutely not! This is why debate between liberals and conservatives must occur. Where American politics goes wrong is when one side does not allow that to occur. This is why I would disagree with you, Chris, about the consequences of partisanship. Partisanship is when any politician chooses his side–his party–over honest debate. (A good recent example of partisanship in action is the Scooter Libby scandal). A good politician–one that I would vote for–would seek out that debate amongst his or her colleagues.
And I honestly believe–although we will see more in the coming months–that Obama may be one of those politicians. And Greg, Obama actually does outline his conversion experience in his book Dreams From My Father. I guess it’s up to all of us to decide if he’s sincere, but it’s like that for any politician about any issue, isn’t it? C’est la vie…
I’m glad for the discussion going on with this article. Keep it up.
Just for the record, Burnside doesn’t necessarily support Barak Obama for president.
Chris, you brought up an interesting point concerning being opposed to the war and reconciling that with anti-war politicians who may be pro-choice. I would point out that we shouldn’t have to choose between the two. Both are important policies: the US currently allows abortion and is mired in an unpopular war. I see little chance of Roe v Wade being overturned, to be honest. On the other hand, our foreign policy could change quickly with a new president.
If I have to make the choice between a candidate who is an awful leader, has poor foreign and domestic policy and is pro-life and another candidate who is a good leader and is pro-choice…I’d take the latter. We, as Christians, should not be one-issue voters.
Let me respond to a few things. First, I do agree that nobody owns the truth, but I would disagree with Caroline when you say that partisanship is when we choose a side and leave out debate. Quite the contrary, I define partisanship as the exchange of ideas. Be passionate about those things that you believe. I encourage everybody to listen to the candidates ideas; not their 30 second sound bites. What do they truly believe!
Brian, my point about business vs. “community leaders” is that regular people have more opportunity to make an impact in the business community. Everyday thousands of people start new businesses and some succeed. Those that succeed are able to pay employees for labor and in turn allow others to provide. MLK Jr. was a great man, but so many ordinary people in this great country are providing in a smaller but equally important roles.
It seems like the debate always gets to abortion. I’m not a one issue voter and I would say that the abortion debate will not be in my top 3 issues for this election cycle. I can’t convince anybody that there is life inside the womb. My wife and I are expecting our third child in a few weeks (pray for us, ha!). I truly believe God ordained that baby before the beginning of time. If you believe there is a life inside a women’s womb, then it should have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. One more thing on abortion, I separate the moral issue and legal issue. I find it a little odd that Brian applies the “less government” approach model to pro-choice, but could vote for a man, Obama, that believes more government is the answer for the poor and marginalized.
Jordan, I would say that war sucks big time…all wars. Not sure there is such a thing as a popular war, but I know that was not your intent. The fact is that war brings peace! We could argue the merits of Iraq, but we really will not know the true result for years. I’m sure in the beginning of Civil War, the Union civilians believed and protested for another way, but Lincoln had the vision of peace for ALL through war. How will history judge the Iraq War…who knows? I hope for the citizens of Iraq, the US and world that victory will produce peace.
First off, congratulations. I do believe that children are an amazing blessing from God, and that you are blessed with another child on the way makes me smile. I’m sure you are an incredible father, and I mean that sincerely.
But to respond to your description of my stance as “odd”, abortion and poverty are two separate and very different issues. Not only are they different in their complexities, but they are very different in their potential solutions as well. I think it’s okay for ones stance to seem “odd”,(though I might call it bipartisan, or practical) because whatever the present status quo is for each issue, it’s apparent that it’s not enough to find solutions that work for everyone.
Believe it or not, I would love to have one “big government” stance on every issue… it would be so much easier, but I think it would be irresponsible. As I said before, nothing is black and white, and if being grey or zebra stripped will get the ball rolling towards justice and peace, I’ll stay happily funny looking.
But seriously, Congratulations.
P e a c e .
I’m glad my article could spark such passionate discussion! I’m hoping what is happening here is that iron is sharpening iron.
However, I did want to point out that this in no way is meant as an endorsement of Obama. I was just trying to get to the heart of why he has become so popular in such a short amount of time, and why discussion of ‘hope’ appeals to people. Thanks!
Listen, I don’t mind a good debate, however, debate is not name calling or trashing anohter person. Debate is the free exchange of ideas. Whenever I have a discussion with a person from a liberal perspective 2 things usually happen. 1) I get cussed out and called a “right-wing, homophobic, racist”. many times they don’t even really know who I am. 2) Bush gets bashed. The funny thing is, most of them didn’t like him to begin with and wouldn’t like him no matter what. I think Bush ahs done some things right and some things wrong. I guess that makes him a human being. But most of the people who don’t like Bush wouldn’t admit any possitives just because they hate him so much. Seriously, I have never seen someone hated so much by a certain group of people as W.
Now before you leave me nasty comments, I am sure some of my conservative bretheren have done the same to the liberal leaning folks who have posted here. After all, we are all only human.
I would call World War II a popular war. I would call American deployment to Afghanistan popular as well.
While history will be the ultimate judge (even though it will be colored by the victors), I think we have enough information now to say that the Iraq war has been horribly mishandled from the top echelons of our government. At the very best, the administration pitched the war under very, very weak pretenses. At worst, the American public was exploited and lied to, and many Iraqi and American lives have been lost for the wrong reasons.
At its most just, war is still evil being used to fight another evil, and our job as Christians is not to choose the lesser of two evils, but to be beyond that. I would recommend checking out the review on Jacques Ellul’s “Anarchy and Christianity” in this issue for more information on this.
I agree wholeheartedly…I think Bush is probably a great guy with a good heart who is doing his best. The problem is, he’s not a good leader. I think it’s great he has a Bible study in the Oval Office, but that doesn’t by default make him a good President.
As for vitriol you’re hearing from the Left, that’s unfortunate, but I remember very well what Conservative Christians thought of Bill Clinton, and the “dislike” was at least equal. The difference is, Clinton presided over a very successful 8 years. President Bush, not so much. I’m taking responsibility…I voted for him the first time around.
One last comment….Bush has his failures, but he is a great leader. Economy is great, unemployment down and not one terrorist attack since 9/11. Just so you don’t think I’m completely biased for W., his campaign finance reform, education policy, spending bills is terrible. For all the failures in the Iraq war, he believes it is just and victory is attainable. Strip away all the moral failings of Bill Clinton and he really is a zero (that is why he has to build a legacy now). Achievements, balance budget and welfare reform. An objective observer would agree that both achievements should be shared with the Republican Congress. His policy failures, N. Korea, Middle East and eight years of basically pacifying terrorist are truth. W. has to take some responsibility for 9/11 because it happened on his watch. Let’s be real, the planning and recruiting of this war-provoking event on 9/11 was due to the Clinton Admin. I would love to know what secrets Berger was sneaking out of the national archive building. Pray for victory!
And I’ll bet the economic success of the Reagan/first Bush years had nothing to do with the Democrat congress, right? Conservatives think only Republicans can be responsible for economic success. Also, your criticisms of Bush are his more liberal policies, so that’s not really an unbiased view. Let’s get away from the conservative rhetoric here.
The reasons behind 9/11 were put into motion long before Clinton’s administration, stemming back to the 80′s and early 90′s, when we established bases in Saudi Arabia. Or, even earlier with the establishment of the Israeli state, if you want to go that far.
President Bush is an awful communicator and an awful foreign policy-maker (he doesn’t even meet with leaders who might disagree with his policies). He doesn’t work well with anyone outside his own cabinet. And what was that about Berger leaking secrets? Wasn’t Scooter Libby just convicted for doing the same thing?
Lastly, I need you to explain to me what ‘victory’ in Iraq means, and then I need for you to explain how, as Christians, we should be at all concerned about ‘victory’ in Iraq.
I really respect your views and believe you are an intelligent person however; it seems like in your last post you are giving me “Keith Olberman Talking Points”. President Bush does not need to validate Iran or Syria. He has setup parameters to me with them. Reagan would not meet with all the Soviet leaders until Gorbachev. Clinton would not meet with Castro.
Please do some research on the Scooter Libby trial! He was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. The prosecutor investigated 3.5 years and never found an illegal act for the original supposed crime, leaking Plame’s name. The Bush Admin. was setting the record straight because the political hack, Joe Wilson made up the story of his findings in Niger and who sent him. Leaking to press is not a crime! There was no cover up because there was nothing to cover up.
I do give credit to Democrats in the 1980′s they voted to approve the major tax cuts. You had a lot of Blue Dog and Yellow Dog Dems go along with Reagan. That is why he won 49 states in the 1984 election. The Democrats loved him!
With respect to no being biased…I just wanted to you to know that I don’t defend W. on all issues. We have a lot of people on the Right that will not accept criticism because he is a Christian. I do believe he has been very effective in protecting the homeland and economic issues. I would agree, below average on communicating his ideas.
Victory in Iraq…that is tough to communicate. I’m convinced it will not be one date in history like the end to the European and Pacific campaigns of WWII. It will start with a secure Iraq, not without violence. Look to Baghdad for a measurement of a “secure” Iraq. The other three factors are a political, religious and economic. We as Americans, defenders of freedom and as Christians owe it to these people for a new beginning (You are no less a Christian if you don’t agree). I can’t imagine the oppression they have lived with for years. If young men in Iraq and Afghanistan have opportunity to create commerce, worship and provide for a family, then they are less likely to make themselves a human bomb. If victory brings security, economic, political and religious freedoms to Iraq, it will be a safer world (I believe this is essentially a good way to decrease terrorism throughout the world). If we invest in defeat, then we will own it and will have to reap the consequences. War brings peace! I would encourage all my Christian Lefties to answer this question…If there was victory in Iraq, could you embrace it or would your disgust of W. keep you from it.
Haven’t watched Olbermann since his days on ESPN, and I don’t watch liberal or conservative pundits at all.
Reagan finally meeting with Gorbachev was a landmark moment in relations with the Soviet Union, as was Nixon’s meeting with Mao Zedong. In fact, those are two of the most important moments in American foreign policy, but President Bush doesn’t even like meeting with allies who disagree with him.
You mention we’ve stayed safe with Bush in office, but by that reasoning, Clinton would’ve been excellent at defending our homeland, too. The lack of attacks is more likely due to improvements in our intelligence-gathering than our military action in Iraq. Instead, our all-volunteer military has been stretched dangerously thin, keeping us from responding more strongly in Afghanistan and to other threats like North Korea, Syria and Iran.
But all of this talk of safety and of other threatening nations is firmly footed in a secular worldview. I balk when you say, “we as Americans, defenders of freedom and as Christians owe it to these people for a new beginning”. Maybe as Americans (though I think that believing we’re in Iraq ‘defending freedom’ is a little naive…there is much more to it than that), but I cannot see how our goal of imitating Christ can be reconciled with any participation in or advocation of war.
We are, as followers of Jesus, living with far more in mind than security. For instance, under Saddam Hussein the Christian church was afforded a sort of special status. It sounds strange, but in keeping balance Hussein would elevate other religious groups. I’m inclined to believe that God’s hand was behind this, not Western pressure. With Saddam gone, Iraqi Christians cannot worship as safely and are often targeted. I’ve included some links below to back up that claim.
That being said, the ‘victory’ in Iraq, if it’s ever achieved, will be hollow. I am not, as you say, a Christian Lefty. I’m not a Democrat or a Republican (though I was a hardcore conservative for most of my life). I’m done believing that the Republican Party is in anyway synonymous with my faith in Christ, but swinging to the other side is not an option, either. As Christians, our duty is to call sin sin, not to use the tools of Satan to make what we think is a better world.
Lastly, you’re right in saying I didn’t know my facts concerning the Plame affair, but dismissing Joe Wilson as a political hack indicates that you have been buying the party line on the issue, as well. Leaking a CIA operative’s name isn’t illegal? Since when?
(Had to delete these links as it was messing with the site)
You need to further check your facts on the Plame Affair. She was not an operative, she was an analyst. She in no way met the criteria listed in the foreign operatives law that makes it a crime to leak an undercover operatives name. If you’ll care to further investigate, the senate investigation also found that there was no crime committed. Lastly, Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor on the case, showed that there was no crime committed in that he was never able to indict anyone, much less convict anyone for that crime, because no crime was committed. Most of the witnesses in Libby’s trial had more discrepancies between their numerous statements than Libby did.
On a second note, when you aline yourself with leftist positions such as pro-abortion, and anti-Bush, anti-war, then it is hard for you to say that you are not a lefty.
If you will check your history, Reagen meeting with Gorbachav and Nixon with Mao were done when those leaders met certain criteria laid down by Reagen and Nixon policies first.
I’m not sure what allies you think Bush won’t meet with, but I would like you to back that up with some facts. If you are referring to France and Germany, I’m not sure you can call them Allies.
Chris (or Patrick?),
You’ve chosen to ignore the points I felt were most relevant to our discussion regarding Christianity and war. I’m wondering why?
It bothers me that you peg me as a lefty, a nifty way of labeling someone you disagree with, and an arrogant way of viewing the world.
The majority of this country have views that cross conservative/liberal lines: they may advocate the war in Iraq and they may be pro-choice. I’m pro-life, and by that I mean I’m opposed to abortion AND war. I believe these things because that’s how I interpret Christ’s words.
Thanks for the patronizing remark about checking my history…did you come up with the actual diplomatic agreements? Nixon meeting Mao and Reagan meeting Gorbachev (that’s how those names are spelled, by the way) came with concessions on both sides, because that’s what diplomacy is.
France (I like to call it “Freedomland”) and Germany are closer allies than China and Russia (remember NATO?) but Bush has spurned Putin as well. The rest of our allies are slowly backing away from this mess.
Frankly, I could care less about the Plame affair. As far as I’m concerned, justice has been served, and all we can go on is the guilty verdict and our perfect justice system.
Jordan and Chris/Patrick. Plame and the Libby trial are SO last week. I’m all about James Dobson supporting adulterer Gingrich as the Right Choice for Christians. Hey now. Newt said he repented! Just in time for an election.
On the other hand, Scooter Libby’s not totally out of luck. He could get a job as Karl Rove’s ghost blogger.
Patrick is my brother…sorry for the confusion.
Please hear me; I’m not trying to put a label on you from my arrogance. I called you Christian “Lefty” in a tongue-in-cheek manor because your position on the war is left of mine.
To address you Christianity vs. war…I would say it like this, War brings Peace!
When you say the teachings of Christ, I’m assuming you are talking about the entire Bible and not just the Gospels? In John 1, it says that in the beginning was the word and word was with God and was God…and the Word became flesh. Essentially, Jesus is making his claim to be God. We know that God used war in a lot scripture to bring Peace, but most importantly to bring Glory to himself. BWC has an article in the sports section about David and Goliath…Perfect example of war (violence) bringing peace.
Like you I’m a follower of Christ and I could be wrong about this, but the Holy Spirit has not convicted me that war is wrong or war is a sin. I separate abortion, killing of the innocent and war as method or way to bring peace.
Whether it’s Iraq, Japan, Germany, Darfur, or wherever, war is a method to bring peace.
God Bless You!
Let me first address your points on Christianity and war. Could you please list for me the scriptures that tell us it is a sin for countries to fight wars?
Secondly, Reagen got up and walked away from the table with Gorbachev at Reykjavik, Iceland. There were no concessions on both parts.
I didn’t label you as a lefty, I just said that when you advocate positions that are core left positions, you tend to be grouped with that group. It’s not a nifty way to do anything, nor is it arrogant.
The reason that so many people have views that cross the conservative/liberal lines is because they lack a ration set or core beliefs. Let me be clear. I’m not naive enough to think that every conservative is a christian. What I do believe is that it is extremely difficult to have a true Biblical World-view and consider yourself a liberal. That brings about too many contradictions that go against what the entire Bible as a whole teaches. The core beliefs of liberalism–that the government is the best way to solve societies ills, goes against what the Bible teaches, which is that we are personally responsible for the choices we make and the lives we live. Also, the major positions that liberalism holds on to such as environmentalism, pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, and that there is no absolute truth (see Greg’s comment about no black and white) and we can make our own morals as we go, are absolutely against the Bible. Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and life, no one comes to the Father but by me,” that’s about as black and white as you can get.
Lastly, you were the one that brought up inaccurate information about the Scooter Libby conviction. If you did know the facts, you would have a hard time logically saying that justice has been served.
AMEN to the “opposed to abortion AND war” comment. I believe that’s what’s refered to as “a consistent ethic of human life.” I agree wholeheartedly, Jordan, that Christians should be wary of aligning themselves with every policy of either party.
And peace by way of war? I believe that’s similar to, as Derek Webb puts it, “purity by way of fornication.”
“War brings peace…” was that in Romans?
Sorry, Chris…I don’t buy it. Extrapolating out on John 1 and doing all sorts of mental gymnastics to get to the point where Jesus is a warmonger…it’s absurd to me. Jesus is the Peacemaker, and He will judge one day, and He’ll come with a sword. But that is NOT what He calls us to do. He will judge and He alone.
The crazy thing is that you’re using the Bible for your reasoning, when you’re completely ignoring Jesus’ directly spoken word about turning the other cheek, about how the meek will inherit the Earth, about how the poor and oppressed are blessed. What do you think those mean? You’ll have to refute Christ’s actual word before you point back to the Old Testament.
Caroline is right. Sin does not bring about purity, and I think it’s dangerous to think so.
Here are some verses for you. Taken from a website for a lovely Mennonite church.
Jesus revealed to us how to live in accordance with how his creation works.
“Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mt 5.44 , Lu 6.27 , Lu 6.3)
“Do not use force against an evil man.” (Mt 5.39)
“Do not resist evil with evil.” “Forgive and you will be forgiven.” (Lu 6.37)
“Do not be anxious about your life.” (Lu 12.22 )
“He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword.” (Mat 26.52)
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Mat 7.12)
The rest of the New Testament contains more of the same.
“Do not return evil for evil.” (1 Pet 3.9 , Rom 12.17, 1 Thes 5.15)
“Overcome evil with good.” (Rom 12.21)
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” (Rom 12.19)
It is a deeply held popular belief that the only way to stop evil is with by violent force. This is the theme of most adventure stories of all genres, of comic books and TV shows and movies. If we trust violence more than we trust God, this is idolatry. God’s truth is that our real enemies are spiritual (Eph 6.12) and are to be opposed by spiritual means (2 Cor 10.4)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:38-42, NIV)
Also, Patrick, you’re wrong about the world being black and white. The only one who knows truth completely is God. I can see that you’re set in your beliefs about this, and I guess I would focus a little more on Christ’s words than backing up your theology with Old Testament genocide (and I know it’s there). If the world was really as black and white as you believe, we wouldn’t be arguing about this.
If you’ll remember the target Jesus’ ire was the Pharisees and Sadducees, two groups that could be seen as the Right and the Left. Jesus wasn’t concerned about either, and when they tried to pull Him in with a tricky wordly question, He kept pointing them higher.
Look at reality of History…quoting Webb keeps you in a theoretical mindset. Revolutionary War brought peace between America and the British. The Civil War saved the union and started the process for peace for blacks. WWII brought peace to the world. I?m not saying all wars bring peace because that is not true.
Please don’t put words in my mouth that I’m saying Jesus is a warmonger. If you can debate me on the issues, then please do, but save the self-righteous exchanges.
I love God and believe he gives us strength to overcome evil with good. The method to overcome could be the use of force.
You can’t pick and choose what parts of the Bible you like or that support your political view. Jesus was not referring to the material poor and oppressed in the Beatitudes…he was speaking of the poor in spirit.
God allows suffering and violence to occur. Isaiah 53 talks about how Jesus would one day suffer, “For He was pierced for our transgressions…” If you read further, God not only allowed or willed the suffering of Jesus, but God was pleased. That is hard to get your arms around.
The God of Isaiah is the God of the Gospels. I’m not necessarily comparing the suffering of Jesus to the War with Iraq. The point I’m trying to make is that God uses violence or war to bring peace. If I’m wrong in my beliefs I pray that the Counselor or Holy Spirit would give me the courage and humbleness to repent.
I hope that yall would give as much passion to the innocent who do not have a voice.
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