Pray And Pull The Trigger

The thematic thread running through today’s lectionary was forgiveness, which struck me as both apropos and challenging on this day, the day of the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America that fell the Twin Towers, that took down a plane in Pennsylvania, and that took out a wing of the Pentagon. It is challenging because though Americans are rightly angry about the events that this day commemorates, the Scriptures are quite clear that godliness requires people to forgive their enemies. It is also challenging because although God requires Christians to forgive their enemies, He does not want them to sit passively and allow evil to run unchecked and unchallenged in the world. So, my questions for this day are: how do we people of faith genuinely forgive and yet fight against an enemy who continues to perpetuate evil? What does this look like? Do we point our bombs and bullets in the direction of the enemy and pray for them as we pull the trigger?

5 Responses to “Pray And Pull The Trigger”

  1. Roger Green  

    To the last sentence: YES. We do.
    And it saddens me tremendously.

  2. Anthony Velez  

    I hope it was clear that my question was not my prescription. The tough thing for me in answering this question is that I am quite clear about the fact that the Kingdom of God does not advance through violence, and yet I do see the sword as necessary and sanctioned to put a check on evil in this fallen world. So, does this mean that Christians are supposed to be dual citizens, on the one hand refusing the sword when it comes to their calling to advance the Kingdom, and on the other hand carrying the sword as a citizen of whatever nation for the sake of preserving this world from the effects of sin run rampant. I know some Christians would say that our citizenship in God’s Kingdom is primary and that all other loyalties should be subordinate to this fact. And yet, it is clear that the sword has its place in God’s economy of this fallen world, and so it seems there is a place for Christians to carry the sword for the sake of justice.

  3. Roger Green  

    I guess i’m reacting to the theory that the United States, by its supposed Christianity, is inevitability doing God’s work; e.g., the Iraq war, because it’s an American war, and America is just and Godly righteous, and so the US gets to do pre-emptive war. (In violation of well-constructed practice.)
    And Hey, we got rid of a bad guy, so it was TOTALLY justified.
    Might makes right(eousness), and all that.

  4. Anthony Velez  

    I too get angry at the confusion some (or many) American Christians make between the Kingdom and the United States. I recently read a chapter from a book by theologian Donald Bloesch where he addressed the need for Christians to be on guard against democratic liberalism as it’s values are closer to Judeo-Christian values than many other types of ideology, and is for this reason a more insidious threat to Christian integrity. I think this is one of the reasons American Christians fail to be discerning. For me, it is quite clear that patriotism should never be confused with biblical faith, and honestly this is so clear to me that sometimes it is hard for me to be appropriately patriotic.

  5. Olivia  

    Or, we could just accept that there are some crazies in the world (aka radicals of any kind) and defeat them with love and martyrdom? I mean, after all, isn’t that how the Christians won? People looked at them, dying by the hundreds, and said, “Man! To have a faith so strong that in the midst of chaos and fear and death (what with their being lit for candles and fed to lions) must be God-given!” Then everyone believed, the emperor became Christian, and Christianity became an empire.

    The End.