The fourth of July joins Memorial Day and Veterans day as the three times a year I feel out of step with the rest of American culture. While I’m grateful for my country’s freedoms and opportunities, and I want to mourn with those who mourn the losses of war, I cannot participate in rituals that glorify war.
One of the notable features of the Obama administration’s foreign policy has been its disavowal of the locution, if not necessarily the policies, of the “war on terror” declared by George W. Bush in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
On the broad track of rock and dirt that runs through Cegrane, the largest refugee camp in Macedonia, a woman labors to push a wheelchair carrying a young boy with cerebral palsy. Nearby two young men join arms to form a human litter on which perches an old woman who is unable to walk. They are the vulnerable among the vulnerable.
May Christians ever endorse or participate in war or any form of military action? To that perennial question, Christians have generally given two answers: "No" or "Sometimes." The debate goes on not only between those two principled positions, but also between people who can't agree on whether the case at hand is one of those times or not.
Friedrich Nietzsche observed that the human capacity to forget is not solely the result of inertia: "It is rather an active and in the strictest sense positive faculty of repression." According to Nietzsche, we forget not merely because we have to but because we want to—and we forget selectively, picking and choosing what we remember in order to construct the world in which we choose to l
Via Rose Berger,
the summer issue of Portland magazine
includes an essay by Portland editor
and Century contributor Brian Doyle,
in which he quotes at length a conversation with a young U.S. war veteran named
Jackie. She paints a striking picture.
There isn't a tidy way to write about forgiveness. It's the whole gospel, for sure. But you've got to deal with the sin that preceded it and the damage that won't go away no matter how much reconciliation follows it. You've got to deal with the stop-start nature of relationships, the silence and paralysis of pain and shame, and the fact that we fail at least as much as we succeed.