For a number of years I have been advocating a position of active non-violence as a Spiritual Discipline for Christians, especially in a time of War. However, as one that stands with anabaptistic sympathies (and tendencies), but is also a realist trying to live within and walk within the tension (some would say ambiguity) of Scripture's teaching on peace, violence, war, etc, I realize the inherent paradox of this multitude of positions in the eyes of many.
I have stated that, while Christians should practice nonviolence, it is my belief that any nation/ state should not practice such a policy, unless it calls itself Christian.* A belief in pacifism or non-violence is against the natural desire for self preservation by a nation. Yes, this means there is a conflict between Christians and the nations they live in. However, we see clearly from the life of Jesus, his disciples and church history that there is always a tension between the witness of Christians living out their faith in public and a nation who must preserve order, safety, preservation, etc.
Unlike some of my pacifistic friends, I am comfortable living in this tension between the already and not-yet. Unlike some of my violence advocating Christian friends, I believe there must be a tension between our lifestyles and the needs of a nation/ state. While this may be obvious to some, and sheer insanity to others, it is a theologically consistent and historically orthodox position.
I am happy to find someone advocating a similar position that is much more theologically astute and well known. That way, we can be heretics or outcasts together. Below is a link to a wonderful response by Greg Boyd, pastor, author and critic of the Religious Right to the questions of whether or not to leave Iraq.
Like Boyd, I have been strongly against the present war* since it was an idea in the mind of the Administration. I have (sadly) been correct on almost everything I predicted and assumed.* However, unlike many of my friends, I have not been an advocate of sudden withdrawal of our troops from the area. For me, like Boyd, it is simple.* We created this mess. It is now our responsibility to make sure it is cleaned up, even if it costs us money and lives. It is a lesson my parents taught me and I try to instill in my children. Clean up after yourselves and don't make others do it. We have now tied ourselves to the Iraqi people and have a huge responsibility to help them. I wish we had kept out of their country and focused on bin Laden in Afghanistan. But, we did the wrong thing and there is a sacrifice and price to pay for our mistake. Yes, the implications of this position are huge for our foreign policy and the Presidential Races (and no one is dealing with this issue).
Here is the excellence article by Greg Boyd on What’s “the Christian Position” on Whether or Not the U.S. Should Immediately Withdraw its Troops?
* I have been advocating these things as long as I have had a blog, but I am not going to prove it through linking to previous posts unless people clamor for it (of course, no one has clamored for anything on this site).
**thanks to Jesus Politics for the link to Boyd.