Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

A look into the mind of one of the most random, crazy people in all the land.

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Location: East Peoria, Illinois, United States

A Lutheran seminarian eagerly awaiting the return of Our Lord. Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves

The title of this post is taken from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans (15:1-ESV), and is the subject for an ideological/theological/practical discussion concerning something that seems to be lost in academia and sadly in the ecclesia, the Just War Theory.

To begin, the main idea I am proposing to defend is that the fifth commandment which states "thou shalt not murder" is in reference to premeditated acts of violence or ill will towards another human being, and not in general for self-defense and/or the defense of others from physical violence to themselves. What constitutes a just war is indeed a gray area and the major issue that the Roman Catholic Church seemed to have with the Iraq war is its preemptive nature. Similarly the Orthodox Church has a fuzzy theory on war. It can be argued from the fathers that it is allowed in times of defense, or that it is allowed and the person who fights is barred from the sacraments for three years because of his unclean state from the shedding of blood (Did these fathers forget that Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees for screaming at Him and the disciples for eating unclean food? Jesus told them that it was not what entered the body that made a man unclean, but what emerged from the spirit of man.). These fathers must have also not entirely understood the healing power of the sacraments, for surely a man who is unclean needs the sacrament more than the man who is don't wash your clean car over your dirty one. Lutherans (Mo. Syd) have not openely commented on war, they leave the decision on the justice of war to the individual Christian as part of their Christian freedom. However, they do, and indeed we all should pray for a quick end to the hostilities and that peace and justice reign.

Indeed, the current situation about Israel and Hezbollah has left me shaking my head with sadness. Here we have a known terrorist group attacking a nation with rockets indiscriminately after the nation that is being attacked withdrew from the Gaza strip which many liberals were claiming would end Israel's troubles.....that is until more land was desired by the more radical Muslims and terrorists who operate in that area. Why can't people just leave the Jews alone!? Haven't they gone through enough!? The world is claiming that Israel should show restraint.....when they clearly are. They are attacking military targets only in retaliation and defense while Hezbollah is sending rockets into the streets of Israel hoping to kill anyone at all. Collateral damage is minimalized to an extreme degree by Israel, while collateral damage is the name of the Hezbollah game! That's what we like to call genocide ladies and gentlemen. That's what the UN was initially set up to help prevent....from their inaction in Sudan, Rwanda, and now Israel....they're doing a bang-up job at sucking.....way to go UN! Boy, wouldn't it be interesting if some rockets from Israel landed in Germany or France.....and then Israel told them to show restraint......yeah, that double standard would be openly shown, but the current one is invisible.

And what of the Christian church? The Roman Catholic Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, who I have great respect for and who until now has batted a thousand in my book, claimed that Israel should show, Pope? The people whom the savior of the human race came from are being annihilated by terrorists.......or is this to cover the Vatican's butt for messing up with the Crusades (which could be debated somewhat)......apparently their innaction during World War II to help the Jews is being repeated. Where is the Pope Leo I who with faith approached Attila the Hun and asked him to spare Rome? Why is St. Peter's successor not standing up for the oppressed and murdered with the same faith, humility, and power that the holy apostle himself showed when he asked to be crucified upside down because he was not worthy to die in the same way Christ was? The Vatican seems to have become an impotent center for being stepped on by every group who they now seek to agree with!

What of the Orthodox? I have heard nothing but cries for peace and in some ways anger at Israel for defending itself (Greece-though the nation, not necessarily the patriarchate). It wasn't until I came across this gem that I thought no Orthodox theologian could begin to develop a theology of the two kingdoms from the holy fathers. Apparently Israel is in this with the US and possibly Britain....whoopee.

I hope the hostilities end soon. I really want there to be peace in our time, but we must never forget that true peace is not the absence of war but the presence of justice. I would like for all of you to pray for the people in the middle east, be they Muslim radical or Muslim moderate. Be they American Jew or Israeli Jew. Be they Christian pilgrims or Christian citizens. Pray for Ben Katz if he is there with his synagogue, and pray for George Saraf and his family who is in northern Lebanon (away from the hostilities somewhat).

A quick and minor side note, many might claim that war and self-defense are not allowed because Christ said "Turn the other cheek," but the context is in reference to personal indignations, of which a slap to the face was considered the ultimate insult. The idea is that you are not to insult the other person back. Jesus did not say that if someone comes at you with a knife, turn your back to help him end your existence. Also, within Romans, St. Paul does not tell Soldiers to quit the military.....instead he tells them to continue their work, for they work for an authority given by God (as long as the country doesn't make their citizens violate God's rules).



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