North Korea and Our Christian Witness

North Korea and Our Christian Witness June 15, 2018


To be honest, I am so confused by the responses to the summit with North Korea and its bringing up all the thoughts and words and feels.

When President Obama made efforts to connect with our adversaries, he was a traitor. He was repeatedly accused of degrading America and being too nice to other countries. He wasn’t strong enough, not Pro American enough.


Real talk – We just witnessed President Trump shower a known dictator who has committed some of the most atrocious human rights violations of our time with flattery.  He didn’t go in and play hard ball…he didn’t even mention the hundred thousand people he is enslaving and torturing. Instead he went on to say that Kim Jong Un has a “great personality” and is “very smart.” He said that it was an honor to meet him, that he trusts him, that his people love him. This is so out of touch with reality.
 
If Obama had said ANY of these things about a foreign leader, especially one seen as an enemy, there would have been hour long specials about how he is unpatriotic and more loyal to foreign powers.
 
I’m not here to defend Obama or simply to bash Trump. If actual peace comes from this, then I will give props where props are due. BUT I am concerned we are getting some things twisted.

First of all, there is the obvious hypocrisy of Trump supporters who were the exact same people criticizing Obama. So, so much hypocrisy. Does it exist on both sides, of course…but it seems a little extra right now.
“America is number one…we don’t negotiate with terrorist…blow them all up…Obama is so weak”

OR

“We should be making peace…let’s work with known dictators…let’s build relationships…Trump is a true leader”

Which is it friends? Obama is a traitor or Trump is a hero? I can’t figure out how it’s both.

Second, as I have grown in my understanding of peacemaking (shout out Global Immersion Project), I have been challenged to think about it what it looks like to contend for all people, not only the ones I see as marginalized or oppressed. True peacemaking looks like contending for the flourishing of the oppressor and the oppressed. So when I think about Kim Jong Un, I can’t help but wonder if we are mixing up peacekeeping and peacemaking.

What I saw this week was Trump’s attempt at peacekeeping. He made every attempt to make Kim feel comfortable. He was more than complacent in the face of deep injustice for the sake of civility.  Peacekeeping is shallow. It offers no real transformation. It often does more harm than good.

PeaceMAKING requires confrontation. You can’t usher in peace without truly dealing with the conflict creating the chaos. It’s hard work. It takes risk. Contending for the ongoing crisis and danger that is North Korea has to include an invitation for Kim to be transformed. Without that, it’s not real peace, rather an inauthentic facade of peace.

Also, can I just remind us that defining peace as North Korea denuclearizing so we’re safer is so blatantly self centered. Real peace would be focused on stopping the incredible injustices and oppression that’s happening to North Koreans. We should not be satisfied until true justice is achieved…not just for us.

Like I said, I could be wrong. Maybe this is step one in a multi faceted plan to transform North Korea. If it ends up that way, I will eat my words and give Trump props. However, I am deeply concerned that this was just an elementary attempt at peacekeeping for the sake of personal accolades and notoriety on Trump’s part. I’m even more concerned that people are just eating it up…like we’re so starving we will eat anything in front of us and call it food.

Most of all, everyday I become more and more heartbroken for the church in America…the church that I am apart of…the church that I love. All of this matters for the Church because our reputation is on the line. Whether we like it or not, our identity as Christians is tied up with Trump. Non believers are watching and scratching their heads. They see the side by side clips of conservative Christians blasting Obama and praising Trump for the same things. They see us willing to get political for the right to life for unborn babies but saying, “the Church should stay out of politics” when it comes to children being ripped from the arms of their parents at our borders. They see us celebrating this summit as if it were the definition of true peace while they remember how we criticized Obama for his attempts at diplomacy.

Let’s stop selling the world a watered down version of peace and a militarized version of Jesus. It’s not a good look and it’s turning actually human beings away from a relationship with Christ.

So here’s my challenge to all of us. Before you comment on this post (or on facebook), will you take some time to ask God to point out your blind spots? Your hypocrisy? Will you ask God to show you how that’s hindering your witness? I commit to doing the same thing because I know I am not exempt from this.

Let’s deal with the log in our own eye before we go around trying to get the speck out of other people’s eyes. I think there is something in the Bible about that.

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • This article cannot be improved any further…it hit the nail squarely on the head and drilled it deep into its core of current hypocrisy by those blindly enmeshed in Trump simply because he caters to their bias and fears…

  • “I’m not here to defend Obama or simply to bash Trump” Yes you are. That is the point of your blog.
    “So when I think about Kim Jong Un, I can’t help but wonder if we are mixing up peacekeeping and peacemaking.” Ask the people who might be exterminated if Kim uses one of his weapons and see if they understand what Trump has done.
    “PeaceMAKING requires confrontation.” You have no idea what you are talking about. Nothing in the past 30 years has worked until now.
    “Also, can I just remind us that defining peace as North Korea denuclearizing so we’re safer is so blatantly self centered. Real peace would be focused on stopping the incredible injustices and oppression that’s happening to North Koreans.” This is seriously flawed thinking. Do you want to stop his nuclear threat now while we have that chance or tell Kim what else he must do. A dictator without nukes is infinitely better than a dictator with nukes. For a lesson on human rights just see what Ambassador Haley told the UN Human Rights Council.
    “Maybe this is step one in a multi faceted plan to transform North Korea. If it ends up that way, I will eat my words and give Trump props. ” Get ready.
    “Before you comment on this post (or on facebook), will you take some time to ask God to point out your blind spots?” It’s not about us. Geopolitics is way beyond individual criticism.

  • I think Trump frightened Kim into stop testing bombs. I think we were all frightened of Trump or Kim starting a nuclear war. I was relieved when Kim started making peaceful overatures. I’m sure South Korea and Japan are ecstatic.

    I think it is interesting how American companies and diplomats are okay with China’s oppression but now we shouldn’t make nice because of North Korea’s atrocities. What about middle eastern countries we’ve been friends with for many years. But China and other repressive countries help us make money. It always comes down to money. Dictators don’t care if we want them to be good to their people. Change needs to come from within each country. And when it does there is usually a ruler who is just as bad or worse than the previous one.