Pre-Occupied

I’ve been sort of wandering through the last couple of weeks with my mind on way too many things. The FPK has had a particularly rough time of it at school, which has meant taking time away, which has meant almost home-schooling while trying to catch back up, which has meant being my shadow for the past several days. I don’t micro-manage my direct reports well, so being the homework police has been less than fun for this mom. Especially trying to hold in tension the pressure to get caught up and back to school full time with the work we are doing to stop anxiety attacks. At least there are some benefits to my Libra desire for balance.

I’ve also been thinking about war and violence. We visited the local Vietnam Veteran museum this past weekend, which was really quite moving. They are a local outfit with no ties to national groups and “The Bunker” is their meeting place and their mission. Sort of like a church, if I think about it- their community is built around this powerful and transformative experience they shared… even though separated by time and geography. Of course, the good news they have to share is often more about survival than hope. It’s little wonder, given what they saw in war and in the way they were “welcomed” back. Funny to think they called coming back from war returning to “the world” and yet many were not really of it any more.

I found myself considering again what I believe about war… any war. I was amazed by the technology that has developed to support modern warfare- and much of what we saw dated back 40-50 years! And I am so appreciative of the way soldiers and families sacrifice life and livelihood to serve. But I honestly struggle with how the taking of a life is ever ok in the Christian’s heart of hearts. Even in self-defense or by accident, there must be some significant reconciling with God one must do to move past the act of killing. I personally would find taking a life intentionally very difficult, if not impossible, which is why I was never able to take a job in law enforcement or the military.**

Those things were on my mind as I watched the news about the Occupy Wall Street movement spreading beyond New York and Boston. “This is what democracy looks like,” they shout. And in many ways, I agree. After watching nation after nation rise up in the Middle East this year, it is good to see people here letting our leaders know they feel disenfranchised. I wonder how effective protests can actually be in a nation that sees itself as democratic, though. If officials really have been elected, and really do believe they are acting on “what the people want”, how does a group of people who want something different get their point across before the next election? It will be interesting to see…

The other thing I’ve wondered about in all this is how we as a church – as the inbreaking of the Kingdom of God – ought to be occupying the world. Are we standing up and saying, “This is what the Kingdom of God looks like”? Are we using the People’s Microphone to amplify the good news of the gospel to all people? The ones in the parks AND the ones in the boardrooms? I know that there are times I don’t know how to be that myself, much less lead others in that direction. But it’s got me thinking…

**Meanwhile, I have known and loved men and women who with rich and deep faith have served honorably in the armed services, police and other arenas in which they might be called upon to use weapons with deadly force. I respect their decision to do so and would never doubt their faith or sincerity.

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