My friend Thomas (with whom I was at one time the rhythm section of a band, believe it or not) over at Everyday Liturgy has linked to this Emergent podcast on social justice. There are many fascinating comments–some with which I agree, many with which I take issue.
An interesting conversation was with TJ, a soldier who had regained his faith through some Emergent writings while serving in Japan. He’s now headed to Iraq on what will be his final tour (he does not plan to reenlist).
TJ has become increasingly aware that his identity as an American must take a backseat to his identity in Christ. I empathize; I have squirmed in various pews during patriotic displays on Memorial or Independence Days. How can we celebrate the anniversary of our founders refusing to “submit to the governing authorities,” as per Rom. 13? For a while, my inner Anabaptist surfaced, and I refused to say the pledge or salute the flag. I still don’t, but I can now celebrate Independence Day in the same way that I can celebrate the birthday of a friend conceived out of wedlock.
TJ spoke of the difficulty of coming to terms with his responsibility to defend his comrades and country (whether the Iraq War can be considered “national defense” is debatable), contrasted with Jesus’ command to love enemies. Can a Christian be a soldier or police officer?