Blogswarm – March 19th – Five Years of War

ed note: i originally wrote this blog on 2/25/2008 and then updated it on 2/26/08 at 9:30am PST. Scroll down and look for the paragraph marked UPDATE ~MM

I committed to writing a blog post for the March 19th Blogswarm marking the five-year anniversary of the beginning of the “war” in Iraq (see right-hand sidebar, about 1/3 of the way down). As it turns out, I will be freshly moved to Redding, CA on March 19th and am not sure if I will be able to post that day. To that end, I am writing today and will probably change the post timestamp later and make this my March 19th post.

I was/am conflicted about what to write. The folks over at http://march19-blogswarm.blogspot.com/ offer some suggestions on their site:

You are encouraged to write against the war from a variety of perspectives. The war is a huge problem, and that makes it an enormous subject for blogging. Here are some things you might want to consider if you are having difficulty making up your mind:

* Attend an anti-war event and report on it.

* Interview military families and veterans.

* Examine current plans and the rather shadowy oil laws as well as long term military bases.

* Compare and contrast candidates stated intentions on what they claim they will do with their records.

* Publicize online action alerts by pro-peace organizations.

* Discuss the economic impacts of the war on people in Iraq and/or western countries.

* Discuss the casualties on both sides.

* Explore issues and impacts often ignored by most media outlets.

* Analyze war propaganda.

None of these really rang true with me. I am not your typical “anti-war” blogger. I don’t “hate” the war. I don’t “hate” George W. Bush. What I hate is people dying… any people, all people. Death is the enemy. 2 Peter 3:9 says the Lord does not want “anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”(NIV). War is Death so War is the enemy. This becomes a frustrating concept as you look at the history of war. Can a war be called just that accomplishes good ends? I don’t believe so. I don’t believe, for example, the American Civil War was justified because it freed the black slaves in the southern states. I don’t believe, as another example, the Second World War was justified because it stopped Hitler and the spread of the Third Reich. These things would have been accomplished if men and women of God had prayed without ceasing, as we are commanded to do. Either God is in control or God isn’t. I have heard people argue one minute that we, as Christians and as Americans need to fight back against the terrorists who hate our God and our Country, indicating that God needs our help, that He is not in control. These same people will then say, “God caused the tornadoes to rip through Union College because God’s glory will be made known.” OK, so God needs help fighting terrorists, but He’s in perfect control of tornadoes? This doesn’t make sense. Christ taught us if a man strikes us on one cheek, we are to turn the other to him as well. “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”(Rom 12:19) says the Lord. Instead of fighting, we Christian men and women AROUND THE WORLD should be praying. Praying for our Muslim brothers and sisters who are being slaughtered by our armies. Praying for our Muslim brothers and sisters who believe that Allah is commanding them to strap bombs to themselves and blow themselves up. Praying for the governmental and religious leaders who are ordering this bloodshed on both sides. Praying for Osama bin Laden, that he will come to a personal relationship with the One True God through the saving blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. My Calvinist brothers will say, “bin Laden isn’t elect, we don’t need to worry about him”. We have ALL sinned and fallen short of God’s perfection (Rom 3:23). We need to pray. Pray constantly. Pray together. Pray alone. We need to pray the prayer Jesus Himself taught us and consider it, don’t just recite it.

Our Father in Heaven, holy and blessed is your Name,
Your Kingdom come to us, Your will be done,
Here on earth just as it is in Heaven.
Provide for our physical needs.
Forgive our sins. Help us to forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from temptation and from the Evil One.
Because yours is all the power and all the glory, for ever and ever,
Amen. ~ Matthew McGraw Paraphrase Version of Luke 11:2-4 aka “The Lord’s Prayer”

As March 19th approaches, spend time in prayer, my brothers and sisters in Christ. If you do not have a personal relationship with God through Christ Jesus, ask questions. Write me. I will be honored to talk with you about my God.

March 19th, in addition to being this horrific anniversary of death, is also my Bug’s birthday. He was born in 2002; one year to the day before this war was “born”. It is because of my Bug that I know there is hope for this world. He is a lover. He cares about people. He is tender. He will be an amazing man. God is so good. God will be faithful in all things.

***UPDATE 2/26/08 @9:30am PST***
Below in the comments, my dear friend Andi expressed some frustration. She wrote:

But the impression I’m getting is that we shouldn’t defend ourselves – we should just lay down and pray. Is that the advice you’d give to a woman who is being abused by a man? You didn’t pray hard enough for it to stop? The Bible says to turn the other cheek….

I want to respond to both of these comments.

Firstly, I want to say that I would never say to any one who was being abused, “well, you just need to pray harder.” Absolutely not! My advice to someone in an abusive situation is this: run, flee, go, get out, leave, remove yourself from the situation. However, my advice would NEVER be to go get a gun or a baseball bat and attack your abuser.

Secondly, I want to say, what we should do as Christians and what we should do as Americans is not the same thing. As a Nation, the United States has the right, duty and privilege to defend itself against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But a Nation is not a Christian. As a Christian, I believe that taking life is wrong; all life, any life. I would never be a part of any armed service because I would be expected to take life. God said, very plainly, “Thou shall not kill”. Period. He didn’t say, “Thou shall not kill unless someone else killed first.” To this end, then, the “war” in Iraq has been deemed vital to the National Interests of the United States of America, but we should never, ever confuse this with it being blessed by God. God is horrified by this war. God is horrified by all war.

This is a difficult issue that we face as American Christians. So many of us were raised to believe that America’s interests are God’s interests and this is blatantly false. How do we reconcile Jesus’ call to be compassionate and to love our enemies with America’s need to protect it’s borders and interests. The answer is… I don’t have the answer. I only echo my above sentiment that we need to P R A Y.
***End of Update***

Grace and Peace to you all today and everyday.

SDG,
Matty

Heath Ledger 1979 – 2008

I am deeply saddened by the news of this great actor’s passing. He leaves behind a young two-year old daughter, Matilda, and other family. I pray that he had a personal relationship with our LORD and SAVIOR. I pray that his daughter will grow up with happy memories of her dad; knowing how well he was respected and admired for the challenging roles he chose. I will always remember him in A Knight’s Tale. That is one of my favorites.

LORD, we lift up the family of Heath Ledger to you as they are grieving today. Give them comfort and strength, and make your healing known to them. Amen

Rest in Peace, Heath.