Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Christian Peacemakers Kidnapped and Staying the Course

Actually believing Jesus words, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," Christian Peacemaker Teams have been Iraq opposing the American occupation and asking "What would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war?"

As you may have heard 4 peace activists were kidnapped by insurgents in Iraq and are being held as supposed spies. Although these men, as they follow Jesus, knew the risks and were willing to take those risks, I wanted to take the chance to highlight these brothers and their plight. Please pray for these men and their families as they may pay the ultimatr price for their discipleship. Here is more on the situation, along with details on what CPT is doing in Iraq.

What may surprise you is my belief that leaving Iraq at this time would be a mistake. How can a believer in the Spiritual Discipline of Non-violence (I no longer use the term pacifist for myself) say such a thing? Am I just being a Contrarian once again, just to make life difficult? Actually, no.

While I strongly disagree with this administration that leaving Iraq would make America less safe (complete rubbish- we are less safe now because of our misguided intrusion into a soverign state posing less threat to the US than many others, even if they were ruled by a ruthless despot- no more of a despot than North Korea, Sudan, Suadi Arabia and much of the middle east and africa, which we would never intervene in), I do believe that we must be there until the mess WE created is cleaned up. If we were to leave now, complete pandemonium would erupt (which may be what is needed for a true democracy to arrive- which is another point altogether) in that nation and it would be our fault. Of course, I think staying the course is untenable, due to the ineptitude of this administration's running of the war so far.. Where does that leave us?

Sadly, we are in a Catch-22. Either we leave now and see a nation descend into chaos or we continue our presence, hoping that the handlers of the war will begin to listen to dissenting voices (like Reagan and Bush 1 did) and differing opinions on how to run a war (maybe they can actually listen to a few soldiers) instead of "staying the course" and creating more bedlam.

I will continue to pray for my enemies and work for peace myself.


james said...

Thanks for devoting a post to this, Rick. Curious, why do you no longer use the term "pacifist?"

g13 said...

an aquaintance of mine actually served with James Loney in the Catholic Worker community up in Toronto. s & s will be praying for him tonight.

Warren said...

Rose and Haven Whiteside, two folks from our church, actually served on a CPT team in Baghdad in December 2003. (They also served in Colombia ang Arizona.) I have always been deeply moved by their commitment to nonviolence and peacemaking.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving Rose died after a battle with cancer. Her service was on Monday, and Angie and I were blessed to be able to be part of the witness to her incredible life.

I am deeply grateful for their witness, and because of her life and work, I feel a special tie to these CPTers who have been kidnapped. They have been and will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Rick said...


I no longer use pacifist (when able- though I still come back to a word I have always used) for a number of reasons.

1. It has too much baggage and too many people think they understand what it means.

2. It is not as fully developed as I would like (and not enough nuance).

3. I have been influenced greatly by Richard Hays' ideas on the Christian renumciation of violence which is more developed, more nuanced and has much greater implications for Christian discipleship.

That is a few of the reasons.

mycotn said...

Hey Rick. After a search for "Richard Hays, non-violence" I came across this article. It's LONG (at least for the web), but I thought it offered up some interesting criticism on Hays, Haurwas, & Yoder's views about non-violence.

james said...

Just read the article cited above and have to say, I was with the writer until he began making his concluding remarks.

He states: "The followers of Christ are certainly a called-out community, called out from sin to become a community of obedience to God. But they are not called out of God's creation. Think for a moment of the biblical language used to characterize Christ's followers: bride of Christ, the children of their Father in heaven, brothers and sisters of their elder brother Jesus, joint heirs with Christ, a community of priests . . . and certainly citizens in Christ's kingdom. The primary referents in all of these metaphors are the very creaturely realities in which the people of God live.

To live as a member of God's family, I do not disown my parents but rather obey them as unto the Lord. Likewise, in order to participate in the Christian community as a citizen of Christ's polis (kingdom), I do not take leave of my citizenship. Rather, I act as a citizen in obedience to the Lord in accord with teachings such as those in Romans 12 and 13.

To live as a member of God's family one doesn't disown their family, and likewise participation in Christian community means you must uphold your citizenship. What a rotten analogy. As followers of Christ, our primary allegience is to Him. No one's asking Christians to renounce their citizenship, but when asked as a citizen to kill in defense of your country's good name, the Christian MUST put their obedience to Christ first and reject the use of arms. If your country then threatens to revoke your citizenship, then let them have it.

Just seems that the author of the article is missing something. I will maintain that no Christian should seek a high office in gov't, lest they be forced to compromise either their faith or the honor of the office they hold.

mycotn said...

Off subject (but related to blogging). Right now I feel torn about where to leave a comment... (here, or on new the post with the Richard Hays quote?). I wish that blogging technology was more "conversation friendly." [instert coin toss] New post it is... (btw... I appreciated your thoughts James, thx).

Rick said...

judging by your comments on teh CT article, James, I think you would be in general agreement with Hays general themes of Christian responsibility and discipleship.