Monday, March 27, 2006

Lots to Say Today Pt 2: CPT Hostages

DISCLAIMER: My knowledge on this subject is sketchy. I know that Sharon Stone has an IQ of 154 -it's true, I read it in a legitimate newspaper- but I'm not 100% clear on the whole Christian Peacemaker Teams hostage situation.

What I do know is that the two Canadians, and the British man, are free. And that the American hostage didn't live to see his freedom. He was killed. Ironically, these people who didn't want to deal with any military, were rescued by some secretive British force: if you want details, you'll have to look it up. All I know is that no shots were fired, which made the hostages feel better about the whole thing. But the American guy was killed. I'm assuming just for being American. That's so tragic: one, because every single American I've ever met has been a total delight, and two, because he had an honourable goal. He was moved by the attacks in Sept 2001 to make a difference. He wanted to stop the war.

I have heard a few speeches from representatives of Christian Peacemaker Teams. A couple of times they have come to our church. For the most part, we cautious Mennonites have sat on our smooth wooden benches, sneakily checked our timex watches, shuffled our sensible shoes (except for a few of us girls who are wearing high heels because it's the new century and we can wear whatever we want as long as we buy sweatshop-free) and wonder to ourselves if these people are true revolutionaries of peace, like Ghandi, or say, Jesus, or, are these people Completely Nuts.

Being part of an pacifist faith, I can't bring myself to believe that killing people can solve problems. It's against my religion to kill people. Violence creates violence. However, I've heard of this thing called World War II. I can't get past it. Without that war, things would be very different and I don't think in a good way. The military has its place.

Now this war in Iraq: I don't get it. I don't understand it let alone agree with it. I disagree with it.

The Christian Peacemaker Teams have a mission which they state as Getting In The Way. They believe that they will go and be the voice of non-violent resistance. I'm all for that. They have the best intentions. I question how they go about it though. Maybe the ultimate show of love is to die for someone else, but I didn't ask them to die for me. (Somebody else did that for me about 2000 years ago, thanks.)

If it were up to most Mennonites I know, we'd try to end the war by inviting those in power to come over to the church basement, where we would all take off our shoes and socks and wash each other's feet. I'm not kidding about this, we actually do this at Easter. I never realized how incredibly weird it was until I moved away for a few years. It's very symbolic and powerful. We are each other's servants. People wanted Jesus to be an untouchable king but he insisted on washing the dust off of his travelling companion's feet. It's hard to feel high and mighty this way.

Afterwards we would all sit down to a potluck consisting of three different kinds of hamburger noodle casserole, potato salad, pickles, brown bread, real butter, and whatever our warmongering friends have brought. Once everyone is all full up, we'd get singing; some hymns of course, as well as some songs that our new friends would like to teach us.

It would be so great. And sadly, that's why we Mennonites will most likely never rule the world. I can't understand why people would rather fight than eat, but while the rest of the world is fighting, we'll be there bandaging, and praying, and cooking, and carrying water.

So, the three remaining hostages were freed with no deaths or injuries. Good for them. By trying to stop the war, they caused the potential for more trouble, and their colleague lost his life. I don't know if their way is the answer. I do know that burying your head in the sand is not the answer either. That's about as hot-potato-political as I will get around here. It's all a great big grey area, and I HATE grey areas.


viktor lazlo said...

it's too bad the C.P.T.'ers weren't interested in "getting in the way" when Saddam Hussein was busy ordering his generals to murder 200,000+ Kurds in Northern Iraq.

genocidal dictators - ok. democratically elected presidents deposing genocidal dictators and installing a democracy - bad.

interesting logic there. just as perplexing, i'm confused how christianity has anything to do with politics? when Jesus was tempted in the desert, he rejected the opportunity to establish himself as king, thereby providing a means of establishing the Kingdom of God. but moreover, he rejected the world's utilitarianism.

from my perspective of the gospels, I am completely perplexed how anyone can think christianity has anything to say about governing a nation, unless we actually think the "Kingdom of God" is something that can be established via a political means.

Heidi the Hick said...

My theory is that, like many things, christianity is a good idea that got screwed up by humans trying to make it do what they want it to.

Heidi the Hick said...

My theory is that, like many things, christianity is a good idea that got screwed up by humans trying to make it do what they want it to.