I Hate War

I Hate War January 7, 2006

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I am sorry to report that I didn’t say it.


I felt I couldn’t say it, really.

If I did, you see, my saying something like, “I hate war” might imply a certain political position, which is something pastors just are not supposed to do. Especially Baptist pastors. Unless, of course, we are kicking people off the church membership rolls for not voting the right way.

(What kind of pastor kicks people off the rolls? Wait. Don’t answer that. I was recently toying with the idea of paying people to put their names ON the rolls . . . who cares who they voted for? Have you ever read Philip Gulley’s hilarious book, Home to Harmony? He suggests handing out lottery tickets to improve worship attendance. Sounds like an interesting option to me . . .).


Nope. Franklin Delano Roosevelt said it.

I know this, not because of my vast and encyclopedic knowledge of American history. No, I know this because I went on a tour of Washington monuments last week while the family was in from out of town, and I visited the FDR monument for the first time (give me a break, I’ve only lived here 2 1/2 years!).

When I saw his comment on war it occurred to me that it takes a lot of guts to be in the public eye and to say something that you believe with all your heart to be true, even if your position is not popular. It’s a brave soul that risks disapproval, loss . . . death, even, to make a definitive, unpopular pronouncement.

I guess that would be kind of like what Jesus did when he said all those crazy things about loving your enemy and turning the other cheek.

This always happens to me! All I was doing was spending an evening out in Washington, seeing the sights with my family. When I got in the car that night I didn’t give it a second thought–my cushy balance-beam-walking “official” position on the war (don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t offend anyone, just pray a lot about peace in the pastoral prayer and hope people notice).

This always happens to me! Right when I am surely justified in my safety and silence I get reminded of Jesus.

Vocational hazard.

I don’t live in the White House, but I do have a captive audience for at least the first minute or two of Sunday morning’s sermon. So, I might have a responsibility to speak up.

Just in case I do, I think I’ll go on record and just say it: I hate war. I particularly hate this war, mostly because I am living through it, watching innocent people die and the chance for a lasting peace evaporate like morning dew on the desert sand. I hate it because it is a raw and tangible example of how we are so desperately unable or unwilling to love each other the way Jesus had in mind. I hate it because it is creating a terrible situation my children will inherit. I hate it because I don’t know the answers and I can’t control the outcome.

So, there. I said it.

I hate war.

BRAVE
The gate is wide
The road is paved in moderation
The crowd is kind and quick to pull you in
Welcome to the middle ground
You’re safe and sound and
Until now it’s where I’ve been
‘Cause it’s been fear that ties me down to everything
But it’s been love, Your love, that cuts the strings
So long status quo
I think I’ll just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
Brave, brave
I am small
And I speak when I’m spoken to
But I am willing to risk it all
I say Your name
Just Your name and I’m ready to jump
Even ready to fall…
Why did I take this vow of compromise?
Why did I try to keep it all inside?
So long status quo
I think I’ll just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
Brave, brave
I’ve never known a fire that didn’t begin with a flame
Every storm will start with just a drop of rain
But if you believe in me
That changes everything
So long, I’m gone
So long status quo
I think I’ll just let go
You make me want to be brave
I wanna be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
Brave, brave
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