Madmen, Destruction, and the Art of God’s Patience

Sometimes my worlds race toward collision in frightening, yet illuminating ways. Friday, I watched the entertaining story of a ‘madman’ thwarted on the brink of high-tech global genocide by Captain America. Later than night, 60 days of growing zucchini vines was destroyed in less than 60 minutes of torrential rain. Saturday morning, I heard the tragic news of a ‘madman’ who wreaked local carnage in Norway using a few guns and a truckload of fertilizer.

In the aftermath, our temptation is to mouth platitudes about justice which are usually little more than vengeful sentiments in disguise. Read more

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Supporting the Troops?

Craig Watts is pastor of Royal Palm Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Coral Springs, Florida and co-moderator for the Disciples Peace Fellowship.

In a recent conversation about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan I found myself echoing the words often spoken by antiwar folk: “I oppose the war but I support the troops.”  My conversation partner was quick to respond, “You really don’t.”  I replied, “So, you don’t think it’s possible to be supportive of the troops and stand against the way that are being misused in this war?”  He answered, “Perhaps that’s possible for some people.  But you’re a pacifist.  Even in the best of circumstances you don’t support the troops.  You may support the soldiers as men and women but not as troops.”

I had to concede his point.  I don’t support the troops as troops.  Since I oppose, not just the war in Iraq but war altogether, I oppose the very purpose of the troops.  While I do believe they are being abused as troops by placing them in an unjust war, I believe they are being abused as people – and abusive of people – when fighting any war.  I simply can’t square the purpose of troops with the purpose of Christians as taught by Jesus, and so I believe no Christian should be part of the troops. Read more

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Peace to God’s People and Earth

Pope Benedict XVI’s World Day of Peace Message for January 1, 2010, was “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation.” Initially published on December 15 to coincide with the international climate gathering in Copenhagen, this brief reflection builds on a few paragraphs concerning the environment that were included in his social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, which was issued last summer.

If you have read Ragan Sutterfield’s EP pamphlet, “God’s Grandeur: The Church in the Economy of Creation,” you may be interested in reading the pope’s statement. While there is not a whole lot that is new in this World Day of Peace Message, its linking of peacemaking and care for the environment is indeed noteworthy, with both stressed as positive moral obligations impingent upon Christians.

In advance of this papal statement, I presented a short reflection on a more theological approach to sustainability, anchored in biblical shalom, at a conference on “Sustainability and the Catholic University” in October 2009 at the University of Notre Dame. There are also other papers at this website, such as one on “Liturgical Cosmology” by Notre Dame’s David Fagerberg, that may be of interest to EPers.

I suspect we can expect to see much more on the topic of theology and the environment in the year ahead.