July 1, 2014: Why do we love WAR?

Posted on : Jul 1st, 2014 | By | Category: Still Speaking

This week we commemorate two major events in our history: The America Revolutionary War which concluded with America’s “Independence Day” and the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. Ironically, both events use the same language to mark their beginning: “The shot heard round the world.”

The “shot heard round the world” is a phrase referring to several historical incidents, including the opening of the American Revolutionary War in 1775 and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914. (Wikipedia).

Personally, I’m tired of war. In the last 100 years the United States has engaged in World War I, which was (supposed to be) “the war to end all wars,” World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, The Afghanistan War and the War against Iraq.  Bottom line: we haven’t won a war since World War II! So, why do we love going to war?

One person who offers an answer to that question is Andrew Bacevich, a West point graduate, class of 1969.  His son was killed in 2007 by an IED, an improvised explosive device. I was surprised by his answer; you may be also. His story is below.






When Illusions Fight
Donna Schaper“Do not believe in every Spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” – 1 John 4: 4

Do you know anybody who died in a war?  Or refused to serve in a war?  Or experiences post-traumatic stress syndrome?  Once again, in a time of “No good choices” in Iraq and Syria, we are all “droning” on about war.  We are all being patriotic in our own ways.

Like a lot of people, Andrew Bacevich, author of The Limits of Power, is wondering about renewed American involvement in Iraq.  Bacevich is a West point graduate, class of 1969.  His son was killed in 2007 by an IED, an improvised explosive device.  Bacevich says we are fighting a war of “illusions.”  The illusions are that we can reshape the world our way. When illusions fight, wars persist.

How about one punch out of the body bag of powerlessness?  That punch is to recognize that we like our power and are terribly unsettled in it.  It is to actively test the Spirit that permits war.  Is it from God?

When we sense that we are powerful and powerless at the same time, O God, come to us with a genuine Spirit.  You promise peace and you even intend that we will be the ones to make it.  Help us.  Amen.

Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems.



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