Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where Were You?

Today is the the sixth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. On my way home from Olive Garden I tuned into an to a talkshow where they were discussing how the world responded. One interesting tangent the show got onto for a little while concerned what should be a Christian response to 9-11. Someone called in and said that George Bush didn't act like a Christan because instead of forgiving the terrorists (as Jesus would have), he instead sought justice. The caller said that Jesus wasn't "into" justice, that he was only into forgiveness. The host argued that Christ is forgiving and yet also is interested in justice. "Can you imagine what the American people would have done if George Bush had just said 'Hey, we forgive you?" asked the host. It's a good question for my pacifist friends. What do you think George Bush should have done?

Where were you on Sept 11th, 2001? Do you remember what it was like, how you felt, where you were? I was living in Mennville at the time and was planning on doing some mountain biking in the Howardville pits with my friend Grant. Sometime in the morning he called me to confirm our ride and told me that I should turn on the TV. "There is some crazy stuff happening" he said. I tuned in just after the second plane hit. I couldn't believe it. How could it happen? I mean one plane was a horrible accident, two - what could cause that? Partially I felt detached, like I was watching a car accident - and I couldn't look away. On the other hand, I felt incredibly uneasy. I remember wondering if maybe this was the start of the end of the world. My whole view of the world was abruptly changed. If someone could do this to the Americans then what could it mean for us in Canada? Grant and I decided to go biking that day anyway, but it felt strange to go out and enjoy ourselves while tragedy was occurring south of the border.

My thoughts and prayers are with those relatives and friends of those who died that day.

May Light increase


Anonymous said...

6th anniversary??

Your marital 10th!


Mark said...

Oops, sorry, consider it corrected. Too much anniversary on the mind I guess!

Jay Boaz said...

I was working at Gull Harbour that day. I saw a staff member (I think at home before I went to work) watching the news coverage and I asked what movie he was watching.


Rod said...

As one of your "pacifist" friends, I think Bush should have taken, on behalf of the American people and as a supposedly Godly man, seriously the command of Jesus to love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us. I pose this question to my war enthusiast friends, "What do you think this world might look like if our so-called Christian leaders adopted Jesus command as their foreign policy?"

Rayna said...

I remember exactly where I was on that day - I was just pulling up to work at the Christian bookstore I worked at when I heard the news on the radio. We spent a lot of that day on the computer on MSNBC.
One thing that vividly sticks out in my mind was one lady acting all excited and saying something to the effect that this had be a sign that Jesus would be coming back soon. I was apalled! At that moment, I hated North American Christianity! I just looked at her and said - quite calmly, despite my shock - that all I could think about was the people who had been in that building and could just pray for their poor families. She shut up after that. Why are some Christians like that?

Mark said...

Hey Rod, thanks for commenting! As one of my 'pacifist friends,' please do not take my mentioning of pacifism as a cutdown. I consider myself a Christ-follower with some pacifistic tendencies myself(many more after living among Mennonite brothers and sisters) and greatly respect (though I don't always agree with) the ideas and views of my pacifistic friends. Also,just like there are degrees of pacifism, there are degrees of non-pacifism. "War enthusiasts" is a term that I don't think describes anyone I know. To say one doesn't always think war is sinful doesn't mean one is enthusiastic about it. Anyway, I digress! :)

I am intrigued by your question, I shall attempt to answer it. However, I'm not sure if you answered my question: what would it actually look like for a Christian leader to do as you suggest? Theoretically it sounds appealing, but how would it work out practically? I need you to describe it to me. This is my main discomfort with pacifism - it's great in the relational realm, but when it is applied to a large group like a nation, how would a world leader adhere to these principles and still protect and lead their country? I'm curious to know your (or other's) thoughts on this. Also, this topic can get people very passionate and so I entreat people to let their words be seasoned with grace, humility, and respect to all views.

I think that if George Bush decided to forgive the terrorist for killing thousands of Americans in cold blood, many people could accept that. The problem is in what his active reaction would be. If he proposed to do nothing to the terrorists, he would have been removed from office. Why? Because people demand both justice and protection. If the head of the terrorists showed real remorse and repented, maybe (and I mean maybe!) a Christian leader could survive in office without seeking any sort of major retaliation. But in the face of an unrepentant enemy, the people would demand that those who wronged them be brought to justice. The people would also demand protection. Just like people expect police officers to protect them, and when necessary by using force, it is the same with governments. We expect them (in fact we charge them) with protecting the nation. Anyway, this what I would think would happen. George Bush would be villifed as not beign able to protect his own people.

Forgiveness must be practiced, but we must not forget about wisdom and justice. Should a wife being abused by her husband forgive him? Absolutely. Should she just keep letting him beat the crap out of her? I don't think so. She should protect herself. Neither should Christian nations allow themselves to be abused. Inconvenienced and insulted; yes. But brutally abused? No. I think it is different for one man to let himself be slapped or inconvenienced to honor Christ then for a leader to let their entire nation be the easy targets of terrorists.

Well, at least I think so!

Well, that my two cents, take it for what its worth. Anyone else want to (respectfully) weigh in? Thanks for the viewpoint Rod!