"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Delight not in the death of any man
I do not applaud the swinging corpse of the dictator we created, nor do I delight in the death of the guilty. The God I serve is a God of life, who does not take pleasure in the death of the living. Who was the rich young man who goaded Saddam into the war with Iran which led to the deaths of a million and a half souls? Why can't we Christians look into our souls and see the the all-consuming desire for revenge that inhabits us? What overpowering need for absolute security led us to sell him "the components for the chemical weapons with which he drenched Iran and the Kurds?" (Robert Fisk, "A Dictator Created then Destroyed by America"). And what about "the mass killings we perpetrated in 2003 with our depleted uranium shells and our 'bunker buster' bombs and our phosphorous, the murderous post-invasion sieges of Fallujah and Najaf, the hell-disaster of anarchy we unleashed on the Iraqi population in the aftermath of our victory'"? And what about "the Shia who rose up against the dictator at our request in 1991 and who were betrayed by us - and whose comrades, in their tens of thousands, along with their wives, were hanged like thrushes by Saddam's executioners"? And in the end, what crime did Saddam die for? Not that he gassed his people - we supplied the gas - but that he failed to obey his orders from Washington. What reflections on the sacrifice of Christ does this bring to us, his tardy followers? We have no responsibility for these crimes because the God of security has absolved us of them.
When we will learn that most of our subject peoples do not wish to be encased in the skin of death that encases us? "Fullness of life, the reign of God, eternal life - all shatter before wealth of possessions, exploitation, and injustice." Who is the God we worship? It crouches in us; it has possessed us. We cannot experience fullness of life as long as we live beneath its shadow. It is the security we crave, the embalmed preservation of our own security, no matter what tortures and massacres must be permitted to ensure it. "Militarism is humanity's greatest attempt to get rid of God once and for all, to unmake creation and to prevent redemption to fullness of life." Dorothee Soelle, "Life to the Full". Whether it be gentle depression or desperate exultation, the Christians of America have made a deal with the God of death, "have made security their national ideology and armaments their political priority." And then we wonder why our lives seem so empty.
The king is not saved by his army,
nor a warrior preserved by his srength.
A vain hope for safety is the horse;
despite its power it cannot save.
The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.