Saturday, December 10, 2005

Christian Peacemakers and the Failure of the Left

Awesome piece here. While upset that politicians throw others into the front lines of death for a cause instead of themselves, few anti-war people have gone to seek solidarity with the Iraqis. Being against war can't just be about protecting ourselves, our reputation, nor even the lives of our soldiers (though we are all precious). One must be FOR people, and in this case IRAQI people, before one is against war in principle. If our soldiers are really willing to die for Iraqis, and we want them to come home, perhaps it is time we took over the job of the soldiers, by bringing our bodies without weapons to stand in between occupied and occupier, between Sunni and Shia, between insurgent and soldier, between Iraqis and Coalition Forces.

Jesus said: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
Matthew 5: 44 (NIV)

CP asks the bold question: "What would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war?"

The simple answer is persecution, suffering, and following of Christ, while sitting at the right hand of the Father in Him who is our Savior. How hard it is to put oneself in the line of fire, yet how hard it is not to.

I found this quote very moving: "It's hard to count how many times I've seen CPT members get in between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians--often too young, old or infirm to protect themselves--and stop an act of violence that would have scarred both perpetrator and victim for the rest of their lives. Indeed, it is precisely because CPT acts on the recognition of and desire to preserve the humanity of both the occupier and occupied, that it has been able to work small miracles in the Occupied Territories, and why it has made many friends in Iraq despite its small presence."

We are led into violence as a last resort, because we often wait for the last resort to happen. In these moments, sometimes violence is our own suffering, and in this way I'm a just-war theorist. But as a pacifist, I believe that only by actively seeking peace can we avert the situations that lead us into "the last resort." It is by waiting for the last resort, by earnestly waiting for it because it offers such a simple answer, that we render it the "only resort."

God bless them and their work. I'm only sad I didn't come across it sooner. I pray that we consider what this means for our own lives, and how we can be a light to the world in this way. Again, as Aaron said, one always loves another at the cost of one's self.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Beautiful Night in Shute-Ho

It snowed a ton up here today. Beautiful!
Time to put the bikes away, wouldn't you agree?

Praying for a Miracle in Iraq Today

Jim Wallis writes about the Christian prisoners of peace in Iraq...

Tomorrow is the day that the so-called Swords of Righteousness Brigade have set for the peacemakers' execution if U.S. forces do not release all detainees held in Iraq.

Their survival would be a miracle. And yet, statements of support from the likes of Hamas and cleric AbuQatada, a suspected al Qaeda terrorist imprisoned in the U.K., are already miraculous. Our enemies - by any conventional definition - have appealed for the release of our friends. The cynic will say that support from such quarters merely confirms that CPT must be as anti-American as the terrorists. But hints of parable permeate: The Samaritan, a despised foreigner and outcast to Jesus' audience, disregards religious and ethnic division to aid one in need, while countrymen preoccupied with their own purity pass by.

Indeed, Rush Limbaugh is glad these "leftist feel-good hand-wringers" are being "shown reality." To follow his version of the parable, they'd never have fallen among thieves if they hadn't been walking on the road to Jericho in the first place. His reference to reality is intriguing, coming in support of an administration now widely regarded as out of touch with the reality in Iraq.

I could denounce the Swords of Righteousness Brigade for threatening to kill the people who have defended the very detainees they demand be released, but that doesn't seem productive at this moment. Instead, I stand astonished as other Muslims - militants, politicians, and religious leaders - defend these captive Christians, and Jesus' upside-down kingdom glimmers. CPT's risky Christianity, broadcast by al Jazeera, has done more to promote mutual understanding and goodwill than any ham-handed tour by Karen Hughes, the U.S. State Department's head public relations envoy.

This week's advent theme is promise - the promise that a true and trustworthy savior is coming. We are called to cast aside false prophets and anticipate a messiah who was willing to become vulnerable, to enter dangerous territory, to put his life in the hands of those who couldn't tell enemies from neighbors, and taught us to love them all. 1 John 2:17 tells us, "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." If this seems unrealistic, we now have four more witnesses to the contrary. While in a spirit of Advent anticipation we wait and pray that tomorrow will bring a new promise of life, I am confident that as they walk in his steps, the Christ who defeated death will work more miracles regardless of grim realities.

Science and Theology News

So I subscribe to weekly emailings from STN, and found this op-ed piece rather interesting in its critique of Behe, who wrote Darwin's Black Box: (Sorry, I don't know how to attach hyperlink to text on this thing, Ben).

Basically, it says that if ID wants to be like the Big Bang theory today (which also suffered early rejection because of it's "supernatural" implications), then it needs to actually have science confirm it. For now, it suffers from being essentially a negative critique of the "weak-links of evolution."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Join Us! LAOS Evening Hours 2 Thursdays! AND Announcing the Winter Wonderland Flight Raffle

On TWO special Thursdays, Dec 8 and Dec 15, LAOS Interfaith Bookstore will be open from 6-9 PM for Christmas Shopping. A few of us, who post on this blog, will be hosting these evening shopping hours. There will be Christmas music & refreshments to enjoy as you shop for some special presents. Cheryl Summa will also be there selling her beautiful candles which she decorates petal by petal with dried flowers. LAOS is located at Immanual Lutheran Church, just north of the UMass campus.

For you big spenders: Anyone who buys $100 at one time will automatically be entered to win a Winter Wonderland Flight over the Valley, drawing in February 2006. One of the LAOS Board members is a pilot and owns a plane and has donated this incentive to benefit LAOS. The raffle goes until early February so if you can't purchase $100 right now you can plan for early next year. (ps. by law, the raffle is not open to LAOS Board members or their families...sorry)

The Challenge of Loving the Ones Right Next to Us

"It is not love in the abstract that counts. Men have loved a cause as they have loved a woman. They have loved the brotherhood, the workers, the poor, the oppressed - but they have not loved [humanity]; they have not loved the least of these. They have not loved "personally." It is hard to love. It is the hardest thing in the world, naturally speaking. Have you ever read Tolstoy's Resurrection? He tells of political prisoners in a long prison train, enduring chains and persecution for the love of their brothers, ignoring those same brothers on the long trek to Siberia. It is never the brothers right next to us, but the brothers in the abstract that are easy to love."

- Dorothy Day, social activist and founder of the Catholic Worker movement. Nov. 29 was the 25th anniversary of Day's death.
(quote courtesy of SoJo Mail)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Ethics of Blogging Relationships

Thought this might be of interest as we seek to talk to one another on this thing.

Free the Peacemakers

Hey guys,
This is an awesome letter to the captors to free their prisoners, explaining that they are not spies but peacemakers living among the Iraqis.

Please sign the petition for their release.

The Technocacaphone has struck again.

Now they had forgotten to bring bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."
Mark 8:14-15

Monday, December 05, 2005

Lynne Baker...

Most interesting talk today by Lynne Baker at the reception to award her the Distinquished Faculty Award for 2005-2006.

Others on this blog could do her talk better justice than I am able (so add on!!).... but basically.... what I heard were her views on when life begins and ends based on her ideas of a person being more than just a biological organism. Her perspective is called Constitution View.... in that we are constituted of our bodies but are more than that.... just as a statue is constituted of marble..yet a statue is more than just marble.

She also talked about First Person Perspective as essential to being human... and the 3 essentials which make up First Person Perspective. Even a newborn baby has them..tho they go from being Rudimentary at birth to Robust by adulthood. One needs to have all three in at least a Rudementary stage plus to be from a "kind"( or species??) which eventually develops them into a Robust state, in order to be considered human. This has implications for both ends of the life spectrum..when human life begins and ends. She said a human organism has these by birth and likely shortly before birth, but that they do not develop at any one set pre-natal point. She also said they certainly do not exist in an embryo or pre-implantation (at 2 weeks after fertilization) ... so... according to this view... embryonic research (stem cell and such) does not deal with "human life." Same logic for end life questions such as Terry Shaivo.

Well.... wow.... lots to think about.... all very interesting. I don't know if I can agree that life which has even the potential to be "human" can be seen as equal to non-human life forms (and hence expendable). That seems like a big leap to me... but... I did like her foundational idea that human life is more than just a biological or neurological identity.

I Think This is the Real Deal.

TerryNelson, this came in the mail today. I think this is the real deal.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

DSC #5

Dead Sea #5 was cookin' last night at the Ark. We heard preliminary ponderings about Bibliolatry the Authority of Scripture and Hypertext from Ben Greene and Ian Callahan and about Steiger International from Mark Johnson who was visiting from Minneapolis. There was a toasty fire in the fireplace (a la Sam B), plenty of discussion thanks to participants and lots of good food kudos to the many contributors, Josh's organization and the good planning of our DSC baker, who was out of town.