Barbecues, Beaches, and Bombs

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Barbecues, Beaches, and Bombs

By Vinnie MacIsaac

 

[Re-blogged from May 2015]

 

“War, huh, good god
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
Oh war, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mothers’ eyes
When their sons go off to fight and lose their lives”                                                        
—Edwin Starr -War.

 

Memorial day. The official kick off for summer. If the barbecue is not set up yet then this is the weekend unless of course you are beach bound for the long weekend. It is after all the kick off of the intersection of all things American and summer. Which normally suits me fine. It is a perplexing and emotional holiday for me. I don’t “believe” in war and it leaves me uneasy as to how to honor rightfully those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in battle. I do very much respect their sacrifice and what it affords me, yet I hate the actual act of war and wish it could be avoided. I am not saying it is alright, but war is painful, brutal, and life ending, and I can’t blame people for not wanting to think about bombs when they can escape to barbecues and beaches.

I have spent most of my life as a pacifist but I have slightly shifted from that as my understanding of scripture deepens. I have come to understand that according to Revelation 12 war broke out in Heaven. If war could break out in Heaven it can break out anyplace no matter how noble and peace loving our objectives are. And when evil could not be reasoned with, and when all attempts to contain and cap it failed, and when evil lashed out in away that if not opposed by outright warfare the Universe would have been wiped out; then Michael and his Angel’s fought back; they engaged in defensive warfare to save the innocents. I am now no longer a pure or classical pacifist but rather a quasi-pacifist who holds a modified Just War Theory position(1). In short I believe War is wrong and should be avoided at all reasonable costs but that there will be times when due to the intense evil in the world force will have to be used in defense of the weak. For me that means as an absolute last resort and never for the gains of the spoil. It ethically, can only be about defending the weak.

So after a day at the Zoo, and dinner, and a movie, I took the boy’s  (ages 8 and 9) over to Arlington Cemetery. Despite talking about it as we drove over they where unable to conceptualize the meaning. As we entered in we read the sign, “Our nation’s most sacred shrine… conduct yourself with dignity and respect at all times.” And it was not long after reading that they being young boys began to act silly. I told them, “remember the sign.” And like a typical 8 year old, I got back, “We don’t have too!”

To which, I raised my voice in a firm way, “Yes, you do, you see all this graves, these people died to defend us, and some of these people here are mourning their families!”

After that we walked around in quiet and suddenly the sheer size of the thousands of graves it made an impact on us all. For a long time no words were spoken until the boys out of no place started reading names on tombs.

“Our nation’s most sacred shrine… conduct yourself with dignity and respect at all times.”

 

As we keep walking along the boys continued saying the names on the graves out loud. They wanted their names to be remembered. Their attitudes had truly shifted and that same 8 year old said, “I don’t want these soldiers to be forgotten,” and he took out a pen and started writing some of the names on his hands and arms so he could remember them when he got home. I could not help but think that another who also wrote their names on His hands. And if you think of it, since Revelation 12, all who have tasted death has been a casualty of war either as a solider in the army of Christ or a civilian not yet enlisted whom we fought to defend and failed.

So, I say it again;

“What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
Oh war, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mothers’ eyes
When their sons go off to fight and lose their lives
I said, war, huh, good god, y’all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it again” —Edwin Starr

This Memorial day I pray for war to be ended on Earth and in the Heavenly realms. Come quickly Lord Jesus, and may we all be found ready for the final battle.


Footnotes 

[1]  Just war theory (jus bellum iustum) is a doctrine, also referred to as a tradition, of military ethics studied by theologians, ethicists, policy makers, and military leaders. The purpose of the doctrine is to ensure war is morally justifiable through a series of criteria, all of which must be met for a war to be considered just. The criteria are split into two groups: “the right to go to war’’ (jus ad bellum) and ‘’right conduct in war’’ (jus in bello). The first concerns the morality of going to war and the second with moral conduct within war.(Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_war_theory)

[2] John 15:13

 

 

 

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