Friday, May 20, 2011

Why I’m no longer a pacifist:

This may come as a shock to some of you; indeed I'm a bit surprised myself. Nonetheless, I'll no longer be referring to myself as a pacifist and would ask you to refrain as well. This does not represent a change of affiliation but a change ascription. I choose the biblical term "Peacemaker" for the following reasons.

  1. Jesus used this term in Matthew 5:9 for those who aspire to the title "sons of God." That's me. Moreover, it is juxtaposed to other attributes essential to the process: mourning, meekness, longing for righteousness (social justice), and being persecuted.
  2. Pacifist is too often confused with passivism—doing nothing. This could not be further from my intentions. I want to be zealously engaged in the process of creating and sustaining peace interpersonally, politically, and internationally.
  3. Pacifism is a divisive term in Christian circles (as well as among pagans). It has long disconcerted me that a label stands in such paradoxical contrast to my true intentions.
  4. Pacifism is too narrow. It too often raises the question of just war (something I've not witnessed in my lifetime) and whether I would use lethal violence to rescue my wife from a rapist. Ok, enough already. Though I have a modicum of appreciation for such theoretical questions, I'm rubbed thin with hypothetical situations hijacking the practical and immediate implementation of Jesus' mandate to live a life of self-abnegation or in Jesus' own vocabulary, "taking up a cross."

Peacemaking encompasses one's interpersonal relationships, political posturing, priorities in funding mission work, driving habits, rearing children, media consumption, consumerism, environmentalism, spiritual disciplines, casual conversations, volunteerism, etc. I'm through with a narrow conversation that disallows Yahweh and his Blessed Messiah eternal and unilateral rule in our lives.


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