More Thoughts from Memorial Day

It didn’t help that I read Mark Kurlansky’s Nonviolence over the Memorial Day weekend.  I recommend the book. Yes, some of you would slough it off as revisionist; I had that mindset for the first several pages.  But he tells a compelling story of a different way to look at war and politics.

I was reminded of my understanding that we American Christians have too easily bought into Caesar’s justification of going to war.  My heart broke yesterday as I thought about all of God’s people who have been lead by various means into the fighting of man’s wars.

My heart broke even more thinking of all the young men and women who enlist these days.  Many believe the recruiters lying promises they won’t end up in Iraq.  Many others simply feel they have no other realistic option.

Finally, I got to this point. We ought to offer some other options than joining the military.  I’m not exactly sure who “we” are when I say this.  I know there are things like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.  I believe, however, that if we as followers of Jesus want to take Jesus’ actual way of living seriously, perhaps it is time for the Church to step up and offer some alternative to military.

I have no doubt that if we all tithed, there would be plenty of money to pay young people to serve others for a couple of years.

6 thoughts on “More Thoughts from Memorial Day

  1. Steve I agree that loss of life is always regretable. But I guess I would resopnd and say we do indeed offer “options” such as the Peace Corp etc. It’s actually up to those groups to get the word out on their work. The Peace Corp, at least does a pretty good job of this. Certainly the Um church could do a better job of recruiting for missions and probably could if the BGM stop being a clearing house for funds and actually sent people out into the mission field.
    But I don’t see those options as being the same as being in the military, especially in the US. Before we bemoan the poor unfortunates too much, lets remember its a volunteer service. No one has to serve. It’s a choice they make. They should not be lied to, however it’s also their responsiblity to go in with their eyes open.

  2. Yeah, it is a “volunteer” army, but let’s face it; the richer, better connected, or more stable home you come from, the more you have decent other options.

  3. Good thoughts, Steve. I watched the Memorial Day concert from the Capitol last night, and it broke my heart. At the very least we in the church especially need to be about shining light on the myth of redemptive violence. I love the idea of alternative service but bet it would have to be some secular thing.

  4. hey i loved that kurlansky book too!

    i think i heard something from barack about funding college for kids who do Peace Corps as well as military. that at least gives poor kids a choice. hope they do it!

  5. “I have no doubt that if we all tithed, there would be plenty of money to pay young people to serve others for a couple of years.”

    Yep. The Mormons do it (though it could be argued over whether or not what those young people do for two years is actually “serve others,” but in any case their model shows it *could* be done).

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