Let’s take a look at chapter 7 of Irresistible Revolution. This is easily my favorite chapter but is also probably the most controversial. Claiborne goes into detail about his thoughts on post 9/11 in America and also his time spent in Iraq after the war had begun.
Around 9/11 the media commended America for rallying together. Clairborne has a different take. He felt that conservatives rallied around war and liberals started protesting, but the cross was covered by the flag. Church community was lost for patriotism. “People longing for a savior placed their faith in the fragile hands of human logic and military strength, which have always let us down.” He felt that 9/11 wasn’t a tragedy of lost lives but of misplaced love towards the borders and allegiances of the world.
Claiborne went to Iraq because he felt that America was teaching the myth of redemptive violence: that it can produce good (Matthew 26:52). He went to Baghdad in March of 2003 where he spent a month. A powerful story he tells is after a church gathering of Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodoxes. The bishop who organized it talked to Shane about the Christian church in America. When Shane explained that many Americans supported the war so that Iraqis could be liberated the bishop said, “But we Christians do not believe that. We believe ‘blessed are the peacemakers.’ We believe if you pick up the sword, you die by the sword. We believe in the cross.”
Some Iraqis Claiborne encountered referred to US leaders, such as George Bush, as “Christian extremists” while we consider all the terrorists “Muslim extremists”.
- Christian extremists seems quite a bit strong to me. The United States was originally attacked.
- The last chapter talked a lot about how issues don’t have faces for a lot of people. They lack a humanity. The war in Iraq is largely that way for me. Sure I have some friends who have been there on one or two tours of duty, but I don’t know any Iraqis. It was this side of the war that had no face for me and a face that Claiborne brought light to.
- I don’t want this to be a forum for whether the war is just or not.
- It scares me to think about the people who have been killed innocently in this war that believe in Jesus. Or even those who don’t believe in Jesus but have nothing to do with this war. These people are just as real and alive as our neighbor.
- The questions that this brings up are difficult for me to find answers to.
- I wonder when Jesus would say it is ok to go to war.