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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.