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Praying for Iraq

August 20, 2014

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The traditional answer to pacifism is the so-called “Just War” argument. It’s a classic case of bad branding. Pacifists look like peacemakers while “Just War” advocates look like they’re arguing for war.

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Vladimir Putin and strict pacifism’s false comfort

March 25, 2014

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It’s suddenly clear. We now see why Eastern European countries hustled in their NATO applications after the Berlin Wall tumbled: Mother Russia is a brooding matriarch coveting the children she once kidnapped, and Vladimir Putin stands in the tsarist lineage of thuggish, self-appointed successors of the Byzantine Caesars. Bare your chest and steal Crimea — and throw in that 97 percent vote as homage to yesteryear’s Soviet elections.

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Are Christian Zionists Doing Israel any favors?

September 23, 2011

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A question: Does “pro-Israel” equal “anti-Palestinian”? Must we always bow before the blustering Benjamin Netanyahu, bent as he is on “creating facts” by building more Israeli settlements? It seems the answer for one presidential candidate, Rick Perry, is an unequivocal yes: “As a Christian, I have a clear directive to support Israel. So from my perspective, it’s pretty easy. Both as an American, and as a Christian, I am going to stand with Israel.” Israel is always right; the Palestinians are always wrong. It goes without saying that the United States should veto any Palestinian application for statehood in the UN. Perry is echoing the theology of Christian Zionist John Hagee, the head of Christians United for Israel.

How intriguing. One survey suggests that Perry is more “Zionist” than most Israeli’s, 70 percent of whom believe their nation should accept the decision if the UN recognizes a Palestinian state. Perhaps they remember that modern Zionism began as a secular movement and that the United Nations foresaw both Palestinian and Jewish nations in the 1940’s. Perhaps they see the impracticality and immorality of oppressing legitimate Palestinian rights. Perhaps they remember that their own forefather, Abraham, was once a “stranger” in the Promised Land.

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Bringing Light into Dark Places

June 23, 2011

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The rains poured and poured, soaking the hundreds of people marching for peace through the streets of Molo in Kenya. The deluge started just as we turned down a side street into the Molo town stadium where we were scheduled to have a peace rally. By the time we got to the shelter at the stadium, which wasn’t big enough to cover everyone, we were all soaked to our skin, shivering with the cold. We set up a wall of umbrellas to protect us from the driving rain, which turned to hail a couple of times. Everything for our rally was wet. The soccer field had turned into puddles and mud. In the US the event would have been cancelled, and people would have gone home disappointed. But this is Africa, and the rainy season is part of the rhythm of life.

My wife Sharon and I had been part of a peace-training team led by Wilson Gathungu and the Rosell family from Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City where Wilson has been a student. Wilson had written a paper for a Christian ethics course about the political violence in Kenya which was centered in Molo District. His professor Terry Rosell challenged Wilson to turn his paper into practice, which then gave birth to the Kenya Peace Initiative. The core of this trip was a five-day training and reconciliation program, which culminated in the march and peace rally, or “convention,” in Molo.

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When death brings celebration

May 2, 2011

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I won’t deny that gushing “Yes!” and that sense of awe: Osama Bin Laden is dead and those Navy Seals were great! But then comes the ambivalence …

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Psst: Listen to this, Newt. We’ve got an idea …

March 26, 2011

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Dear Newt Gingrich: The boys and I tossed back a few the other night and came up with a totally outlandish concept, one of those this-is-so-strange-it-might-work types …

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Stolen Treasure Returned

September 23, 2010

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Cock an ear. Hear the faint blow of the far-off whistle. The era of American Christianity’s hijacking may be ending even while extremists lift their cries for guns’n guts.

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