February 9, 2015
Obama’s prayer breakfast remarks on the Crusades and religious violence offered a skewed perspective of the actual causes of violence in the modern world.
"the audacity of a substantive hope in the Prince of Peace"
Our hope does have substance, Branson. Thank you for the reminder that in that audacious hope we can do audacious things.
I think you missed the point. President Obama was reminding Christians that we should look at the beam in our own eye before we try to remove the speck in someone else's. Too many Christians want to lump all Muslims together. We need to be reminded of our own flaws so we don't become self-righteours. I know I am often embarassed when, as a Christian, I am lumped together with some of the bizarre beliefs and actions of those who claim to follow Christ.
I think I do get what the President was trying to do, and I think it's true that we as Christians need to be aware of and confess our sinful complicity in violence. I affirm that point wholeheartedly.
But if you are concerned with beams and specks, don't you think it's strange that pundits and commentators (including Christian ones) did not respond with more incredulity toward a Commander-in-Chief who is responsible for plenty of innocent lives being lost? My point was that any Commander-in-Chief needs to look at the beam in his own eye before helping Christians, Muslims, and others try to remove the speck in their own. So long as we're all trying to help each other be less violent, where are those voices?
If we really wanted to discourage Christians from embracing violence, the church should actually rigorously teach and rigorously follow the just war tradition, at the very least. So think about it this way: would you include killing other Christians from other countries and/or innocent civilians on order of the government as one of the "bizarre beliefs and actions" that some Christians embrace? Why or why not?
I realize that "too many Christians want to lump all Muslims together." The problem is I just haven't located any of those Christians. Indeed, we have a goodly number of Muslim communities in this country (sort of like the Dutch Reformed but came later), but I haven't actually seen these lump-them-all-together Christians who treat those Muslims the way they regard ISIS or Al Quaida Muslims (lumping them all together).
A neighborhood crazy guy recently killed 3 Muslims -- and some are crying "hate crime!" -- but it would seem he was a crazy guy who hated everyone, and not "christian" by any meaningful measure of the word. And one guy.
So just where are these lump-them-all-together Christians who need to get the logs out of their own eyes before saying a negative word about beheading a long line up of Copic Christians anyway?
Now I can certainly identify quite a few Muslims who lump all Christians together, even publicly and repeatedly calling for their deaths, given their status as infidels. It would seem that the world's Muslim population includes (evidence by pretty good polling numbers) a sizeable percentage who do. But where are the counterpart Christians? I can't find them, unless perhaps I go backward in time, say a half-millennium or so ago (where Obama had to go). But then everyone was pretty much killing everyone else, the Muslims as many Christians, or more, as vice versa. But I'm sure Muslim clerics and heads of state are admonishing their own about that.
Sometimes we can obsess so much with our own eye logs, real or imagined, that we can't open our eyes to see what is standing directly in front of us. But that doesn't mean we have to imagine things that are not there.
What is the "just war" tradition? I've never heard of it.
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