A pretty provocative Facebook conversation started after I posted s simple status update while seeing the tweets and status updates begin during the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. It read…
“Maybe we should read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and then respond about Bin Laden.”
A friend, whose husband is leaving for Afghanistan next week wrote me privately to ask if the only response to the Sermon on the Mount was pacifism. Here’s my response - just another part of a this very layered conversation we all find ourselves in right now.
“There are so many things in this thread that are unfortunately not being said, one being the depth of appreciation and admiration that I, and certainly so many others hold for those who have provided and fight for the freedom that we have to even have such a conversation.
I’m not sure that I would even advocate a life of total pacifism. I’m not sure that I wouldn’t - I don’t have that one figured out yet. That feels so far from anything that could be a reality today. What I do think the world desperately needs is another way to fight terrorism - or a “third way”, as Carl said it (read this link: #mce_temp_url# . I think that’s what Jesus is offering us. Carl is among a band of diplomats and pastors who are trying to disciple terrorists - engage them in a conversation about Jesus and all that Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God.
The wars we are in seem to all come down to a battle of worldviews. I think the sermon on the mount, and the rest of Jesus’ commands, reveal his worldview. Another way of saying that would be his view of how to engage reality and the way the world is. What I believe about that is that if we inspired each other, and the world to actualize (obey) those commands (which is the work he gave us to do in the great commission) we would see measurable change happen. Heaven could come to earth.
Think about it - in what other context have you heard of an American getting to pray for the leader of a terrorist organization as he wrestles with the challenge of Jesus to love your enemies. That’s stunning.
This thread has proven to be a very provocative one. WAY more than I anticipated!:) I think that’s because Bin Ladens death has just provided another stage for so many of the things we feel to come rushing out.
The status update I left was literally just off hand after seeing so many believers in Jesus say some careless and heartless things. It was a way of saying, “Let’s think first and then respond - because what we say now is really important.” Actually, I should’ve just said that, and not spiritualized the moment. It was my judgement, and I’m certain the wise thing to do would have been to not to insert my opinion. I am still such a work in progress!
Still, I think this thread has given us a place to dialogue about some very complicated and layered feelings and realities, and a place to introduce a new way of thinking. Actually, I don’t think it’s new. It’s not my idea, or my original thought. I really believe Jesus gave us this third way we are longing for.
I wonder if we all read those words and say, “yeah, that would be nice, but it’s not possible.” It’s not possible today because, as you’ve said, the whole world isn’t following Christ’s teaching. But myself, and the team that Carl is building around him, are being given some historical opportunities to fight the war on terror in an entirely new way, engaging the “worst of the worst” with the teachings of Jesus. It’s not pacifism. My friends are doing some things with some “dangerous people” that could cost them their lives (I’ll be joining them in the fall). It’s just a different kind of fight.
As a leader, I’m just trying to get people to talk, and dream, and think, as we are doing today. It’s so important.
I have a few friends who carry these ideas as servicemen. One of them is one of the most Elite soldiers serving in our armed forces. Literally one of the best, who only goes to places he cant’ tell anybody about. He loves Jesus. He’s building the Kingdom through his profession as he loves and serves his country and fellow soldiers, and I wish I could be like him more than a few times a day:) He’s one of the coolest, Jesus loving friends I have, and he’s a serviceman. He carries these tensions in his heart. I’m so proud of him, and that we are friends.
I will be praying for you guys as you enter into this very trying time of being apart and unsure of all that’s to come. Thank you for doing it - and thanks to your husband for loving the reality of freedom that we know Jesus loves so much! Blessings to you guys.
Feel free to react to this. There is a lot of grace to be thinking all this through - it’s REALLY complicated, and NONE of us has it all figured out. Especially me.
dang. that ended up being long. sorry.