Monday, August 14, 2006

What a mess we've made

I have been thinking a lot lately, as most people have, about the mess in the Middle East. I think it is easy for us to look at what is going on over there and blame it on extremists, or warring sides, or differences in religion or any of the other numerous things we can place blame in to help us disconnect from the reality of it all. But what if we are partially to blame?

Can you imagine what it must be like growing up in a small poor country in turmoil your whole life? Living in a village where the only money comes from other nations (the US) paying and arming the men in your village to kill whoever they don't like at the time? What does that embed into your consciousness? A physical dollar figure is being placed on the heads of those who aren't even your enemy other then the fact that someone is paying to make them your enemy. Then we come into a nation and try and force democracy on a people who have been both being paid to kill for us and being killed by those we pay. Is it any wonder it doesn't work?

In Israel you have a country that for some reason the US has decided to stand by no matter what, shooting missiles into another country that not to long ago we where praising as a great example of democracy working in the middle east. We are sending billions of dollars in weaponry to one side and millions of dollars of aid to the other. What good does our aid do if we supply the bombs doing the damage? Is anyone really suprised that we are perceived as a "great evil"?

It just makes me wonder what could be if we spent anywhere near that much money on feeding and clothing people instead of arming them and giving them an enemy. I mean how many times is that going to come back and bite us before we learn it just doesn't work? We need a serious change in our Foreign Policy direction. It really seems like the middle east has become nothing more then a giant game of Risk played by rich western men in suits who have never farther into these countries then their own embassies. Like puppets pulling strings that effect thousands of innocent lives. It just breaks my heart.

My former pastor, Brain posted a great blog the other day about this, take a look. He is a much better writer then I am.

"When justice is bought and sold just like weapons of war,
the ones who always pay are the poorest of the poor."
-Derek Webb - "My Enemies Are Men Like Me"


wvpv said...

I hear what you're saying. I share some of your Pastor's feelings about being angry about what's going on.

But, isn't it presumptuous to think that peace is what God intends?

What's your take on David cutting off Goliath's head and taking it to Jerusalem (1 Samuel 17:51, 54 )? And God commanding Joshua to kill everyone in Jericho (Joshua 6:21)?

Charlie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlie said...

Just to throw a little wood on the fire...

David may have cut off Goliath's head but do we look at David or Jesus as the model for what God intends?

Jesus is God afterall. I think we're supposed to imitate Christ not David. How can the imitation of Christ be "presumptuous" for a Christian, unless we've raised our own ethics above that of Christ and need to "justify" following Him alone?

wvpv said...

Maybe "presumptuous" wasn't a good word to use.

My point was that we tend say God's ultimate plan (through Jesus) will always be fair and logical and peaceful for all people.

It may sound un-compassionate or unloving of me, but stuff happens in life to good and bad people all the time. Is the bad stuff part of God's plan?

Obviously this is a tough issue and I know I'm having a hard time sorting it out in my own head.

J.R. said...

In respons to your question Adam, "Is the bad stuff part of God's plan? ". That is a tough one to answer. I tend to think that no, it is not apart of God's plan, but rather redeeming the world of the bad stuff is God's plan. Although theologins and people far more studied then I will ever be have debated that thousands of years.

I get your point, and I agree that God's ultimate plan (through Jesus) will not always be fair and logical, infact I think it is genrally quite the opposite of that. I do think it is "peaceful" though, I tend to think that is the way the "prince of peace" goes about fulfilling His plan.

And yes, it is definatly a tough issue, I am glad we all can discuss this as brothers in Chirst, Thanks to both of you for sharing your thoughts on this.


Scott Savage said...

If Jesus is the norm, i.e. standard, i.e. we are to be who he is, for our social ethics (thanks Yoder), then we have to look at his life as the Church's model. The Eucharist is so important in our worship for this very reason. If all Jesus did was come and save me from my sins like a hero that swoops in, grabs me out of flood, and sets me on a cliff to go my very merry way then that is a boring God. But, if His atonement is for my becoming like Him, i.e. able to love like God loves, then we have to believe that for the Church non-violence is the way because peace has already been givig in Christ because we have no need to fear the other. The Eucharist teahces us that by the Spirit we are to become to very same bread and cup that we receive as gifts. The Church is a gift to the world because we are at peace.

Sorry if I rambled. On a different note, I just downloaded the Derek Webbs new CD, Mockingbird. Awesome!

Mamamax said...

And today in Iraq a suicide bomber blew himself up in a group of GI's giving candy to children.

And Muslims around the world are burning the Pope in effigy and firebombing Lebanease churches because he was so audacious as to suggest that a religion which gives people two choices: conversion or the sword, might be promoting violence.

Yep it's a mess. Nope we are not the only ones to blame.

Maybe you are right. Perhaps it would be better if we built a wall around the US. Didn't try to help or change or do commerce with anyone else. At least then no one could accuse us of messing where we don't belong or profiting by another's pain.

Of course if the world becomes unstable neither can our aid givers feel safe to go and offer medical help and food and the gospel.

Just thinking too. Haven't got the answer. Beginning to wonder if Islam is the one to weild the sword that slaughters Christians in the end times.

A little frightened.

J.R. said...

"Maybe you are right. Perhaps it would be better if we built a wall around the US."

Wow, back up, I have never and would absolutly never suggest doing anything close to something like this.

My only suggestion is for the US to stop giving weapons to people, stop bombing people and start giving aid to them. The only way to win a "war on terror" is to quite making eneimes with everyone.

Mamamax said...

I know you didn't say that; you simply shot down everything that the US is currently doing. You can't solve a problem by saying what we shouldn't be doing.

Our country needs active solutions. What would you DO, now, with the situations as they currently are?

And, oh, by the way, I do love you :) Somehow, I suspect, we both want the same things.

J.R. said...

Well, I gave a suggestion right here: "It just makes me wonder what could be if we spent anywhere near that much money on feeding and clothing people instead of arming them and giving them an enemy" and again, in my post above when I said this: "My only suggestion is for the US to stop giving weapons to people, stop bombing people and start giving aid to them. The only way to win a "war on terror" is to quite making eneimes with everyone." but I can go into more detail if you would like.

First, we need to stop making enemies with everyone by selling weapons, dropping bombs, and forcing democracy.

At this point that's not enough though. We need to make allies. We need to go into these countries and supply food, medical aid, cloths, shelter, and systems for employment that they people can sustain on their own. We need to be proactive in peace.

Terrorist groups are started by a small amount of religious radicals convinceing the greater group that we are a "great evil". It is easy to convince a poor Islamic man who just lost his family to an american artilary shell that we are a "great evil" that is how the normal muslum is convinced to fight with these few radicals. If we are there helping these people out of poverty, providing for them what there governments and the radical groups aren't providing, then we have created an ally, not an enemy. These few radicals have very little power when they don't have control over the people.

I beleive that this is the only way we can ever win a "war on terror". We have got to stop making enemies (terrorists). You can not fight "terror" with "terror".

It is amazing to me, the more I think about it, how Christ laid ou this perfect plan on how to deal with your enemies. I am beinging to see that it is not only a great Christian ideal, some amazingly humble and scrifical way of honoring God, but it just makes good sense. If you treat your enemies like your friends, they will not continue as your enemy for long.

jennylou said...

I like the idea of proactive peace. Peace is not the same as passivity.

Mamamax said...

Thanks JR! I like the positive approach. I agree with using Christ's example, and that our actions have added fuel to the fire of the terrorist cause (even some military experts are beginning to say that). It's good to be reminded.

I'm currently reading John Maxwell's Ethic's 101 which basically reminds business owners that the Golden Rule works. It is good to remember that, too, in my everyday dealings with clients, vendors and peers.

For each of us, as individuals, making decisions it is important to try to follow Christ's example. But since this is not a Christian nation, I'm not sure we can expect that example to be followed.

The best we have been able to do is follow the rule of law, which is not God's best or highest, but it does allow us to exist in relative peace.

There are no easy answers; only and ever the search and the debate.

Thanks for the dialogue,