Pentecost or Memorial Day?

 Pastor John Wright with thoughts on the question I was exploring yesterday: Did churches pay more attention to Memorial Day than they did Pentecost?

The celebration of the Gulf War in the churches lowered the ability of the churches to resist an unprovoked war called on at the very least ambiguous data, the result of an elective policy rather than a military contingency. The United States is paying; the conservative evangelical church is paying for its mindless idolatrous loyalty. There is a sense of secularism that is spreading and a justification for a theological liberalism (itself at the forefront of justifying the first Gulf War and the invasion of Afghanistan), it seems to me at large in our culture. But I wonder if congregations have gotten it — I wonder what was celebrated in congregations throughout the United States — Pentecost or Memorial Day? I’m deeply suspicious that I know the answer.

I am not a pacifist; I am a Christian. Hauerwas reminds us over and over again that “Christians do not become Christians and then decide to be nonviolent. Rather, nonviolence is simply one of the essential practices that is intrinsic to the story of being a Christian. ‘Being a Christian’ is to be incorporated into a community constituted by the stories of God, which, as a consequence, necessarily puts one in tension with the world that does not share those stories” (p. 137). I think that the problem with war is that it offends “the God revealed in Christ,” not that war is “irrational given the progression of the human race” (p. 141). I pray that this day after Pentecost Sunday, we might remember this offense to God, maybe even make a memorial day of it.

“I am not a pacifist; I am a Christian” names a problem with “positions”.  Pacifism is not some decision made after becoming a Christian amongst a smorgasbord of “choices” as opinion toward war.  Rather, “being incorporated into a community constituted by the stories of God, which, as a consequence, necessarily puts one in tension with the world that does not share those stories” is what makes us Christian. 

Source: Pastor John Wright

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I am a Web developer with a background in theology, sociology and communications. I love to read, watch movies, sports, and am looking for authentic church.

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