Remember - Learn - Choose
It's Memorial Day weekend, a time to pause and honor the incredible sacrifices made by men and women on behalf of our country in order that we might enjoy and maintain our freedoms. Contrary to some prevailing evangelical and political opinions, I would argue that it is the height of patriotism and spirituality to have healthy discourse around the subjects of non-violence, just war, the Christian role in the state, and then work at applying those principles to our present situation in the middle-east. Only informed convictions will withstand the rigor of opposition, and the very act of critically considering our positions, no matter where they might fall on the spectrum, will help us refine our understanding of what Christ calls us to as His followers.
Towards that end, perhaps spend a few minutes considering the historical 'just war doctrine' by which the church has critiqued military involvement historically. Many argued that WWII was clearly a just war, though certain American responses, such as the bombing of Dresden were questioned.
On the other hand, consider the position of Christian Pacifism, and understand that throughout history there have been those who take Jesus words about loving enemies literally, and who argue that these words apply to all Jesus' followers, arguing that we're to be clothed with Christ, not with the uniform of the state.
The challenge for all of us is threefold:
1. Thoughtfully and prayerfully consider these historical positions and develop our convictions
2. Apply those convictions to present global conflicts, and prayerfully consider how God wants us to live out that response.
3. Practice respect and honor towards those whose view is different than our own, recognizing that, no matter what our positions, all of us are created in the image of God and worthy of love!