Saturday, June 5, 2010

killing with integrity

i saw this sign on a church yesterday: "do you remember them? do you remember jesus?"

at first, since i'm a little dense, i had no idea what the sign was saying. then, my lovely and brilliant wife explained to me that it must have something to do with memorial day.

the sign reminded me of a question that i was recently asked by a fellow peace-seeking friend of mine from school (tim c). he asked me if killing another human being could ever be done with integrity. what do you presume i said??? probably not what you think. i said, "sure it can. adhering to a sense of morality doesn't necessarily mean it's christian morality." he was thinking the same thing.

i believe it is most certainly honorable to fight and die for something you believe in with all of your heart. many people who have given their lives in the name of political or economic freedom throughout the centuries have done so for the sake of others, and we have certainly benefited from their sacrifice. however, is this the same morality that we have been called to as people carrying our crosses? in my opinion, the answer is an emphatic NO!

christian ethics have an entirely upside-down way about them. which is why following christ, oftentimes, seems strange and even wrong to folks who claim jesus as lord. think about it. when someone takes my jacket i should give them my pants? if someone pushes me around i should willingly offer them a clean shot at my face? this sounds ridiculous. but it is at the center of what it means to be a disciple of jesus christ.

can we really talk about the sacrifice of soldiers in the same breath as the sacrifice of christ? is wielding a weapon of war against an enemy in any way like christ's self-sacrificing death for his enemies on the cross? we may be able to affirm the integrity of a man or woman fighting and dying for a cause in a kingdom of this world sort of reality, but integrity and honor look quite the opposite in kingdom of God reality.

one more gripe. i've often been called liberal or even cowardly for having these views. i hate to think that jesus was cowardly when he taught and lived this way, and would really like to know how taking jesus seriously and at his word lends itself to having a liberal view of scripture. just a thought.