Monday, July 31, 2006

resonating with mike todd regarding the silence over lebanon and israel

Today I read in my Washington Post the article "A Refuge that Became a Place of Death":

"Cradled in his arms was the 27th victim pulled from a partially buried room that had sheltered 63 people in the southern Lebanese village of Qana. The victim's name was Abbas Hashem, and he was 1 year old. His blue pacifier still dangled from his green tank top


Twelve-year-old Hussein Hashem was removed, curled in a fetal position, his mouth covered in dirt. He was rushed to an ambulance, the jostling making him look lifelike.


Then Abbas Hashem, the baby, emerged, his frail body held above the crowd. A purple bruise covered his forehead, his tongue hung out. He was coated in dust. At one point, a rescue worker gingerly wiped the dirt off his cheek."

One of my co-workers is Lebanese - a 1st generation American born in DC. I asked her this AM if she had any people there. She said that she did but that - for now - they're ok. I told her that I would pray for them.

I posted a few days ago on the morality of modern war. Not one comment. I was surprised when the post hardly received any traffic, compared to other posts.

I really resonate with mike todd's complaint as to the church's silence on this issue.

kudos, however, to Christianity Today who has been posting a variety of viewpoints on the situation.

I repeat, I don't believe our response to this is just to debate just war theory versus pacifism. One of the things that made me proud of the American (and Canadian) church had been her response to Katrina - I think I am only aware of one church that didn't send someone down to practically help. So surely there are some practical steps we can take to address this situation, including blogging about it as mike has done. I would love to see a discussion break out about what those steps are and then see some of us taking those steps. I'm open to suggestions. Please make suggestions.

With regards to the Israel-Lebanon conflict, there seems to me to be some no-brainer ethical violations going on here on both sides of the conflict. Israel is our ally (US) so I think we have the most influence with them to work very hard to protect innocents. I was encouraged to read about the 48 hour cease fire, even if it was limited - though now it seems that's not going to happen (reports seem confused). But I fully realize that Hezbollah needs to be held accountable too.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I do not know much about any church's involvement or stance in this situation. My opinion rests solely on this conflict itself. Both sides need to be held accountable for the deaths they caused but to me, if Israel truly wanted peace, she/he (i really don't know nor care) would negotiate. Not say such inane things such as "we will take lebanon back 20 years" that was the PM Olmert. Is that the kind of statements someone who wants peace in the region would say? Their war is with Hezballah?
This is just an accumulation of decades of Israel's abuse and domination in the region backed by the United States. What really irks me is my having to actually question who is in actual power here the U.S. or Israel between them? the Israeli lobby (which disgusts me that one such exists in our DOMESTIC government affairs) is one of the most powerful lobbies in the country. Doesn't that disturb you a bit?

Stephen Ingraham said...

Hi Steve,
You know me from faithmaps. This past Sunday, when the elder of the day stood up to pray, he asked us to pray for the situation in Isreal and Lebanon. He said, "We know God is going to bless Isreal...and Isreal's friends. We are Isreal's friend in this." I thought seriously about asking him, after the service, what a friend would do who suspected his friend was doing evil...but I thought of Watchman Nee's words: "What delight should I take in proving my brother wrong." Maybe that is just me avoiding conflict, but I didn't say anything in the end. His wife did pray for the innocent lives being lost on both sides.

The thing is, I don't think there is any way to protect the innocent/civilians/non-combatants in war...that is not the nature of war as it has ever been fought, as I read history, much as we might like to think otherwise. When was there ever a "civilized" war?

What can we do? We can pray. We can add our voices, one at a time, to those calling for an end to this conflict, but I don't honestly see how we can do that without calling for an end to all such violent conflicts, including those we are actively pursuing, and those we sponsor.

Now, what might make a difference, is if we could agree as churches to demand an end to war as means of resolving conflict, one congretation at a demonination at a time...until it is all of us together.

Can you imagine if the whole church in America stood up at once and said: "We don't study war no more!" Wouldn't that be a sound.

But I don't see that as likely anytime in the near future. Do you?

vna2re said...

I enjoyed reading your post and I agree, however I do have a question:
How come the world is standing silent when for years bombs are blown up on the streets of Israel and innocent are dying, but as soon as Israel does anything everybody seems to care, all of a sudden.
p.s. I am russian, so excuse my bad english please.

josh said...

i think any time orphans and widows are created, we have a serious problem. beyond politics and posturing. i'm like you. i'm absolutely and utterly speechless. i don't know how to act or where to act. other than to write some stupid posts or make some trivial comments. and that seems so freaking arrogant to me. but i feel like raising awareness is the only thing to do at this point. we need to rethink how to prevent situations like this from happening. because once they happen, it becomes much more difficult to navigate.

Stephen said...


my religion teaches forgiveness, so i wonder if at some point we have to just begin from scratch, irrespective of the past. surely revenge creates an endless cycle.


again, with respect, i understand and respect those who want to (and pardon my definitely counterintuitive pun) "go for the jugular" and angle for full pacifism. perhaps I've been inspired by yoder when he wrote "Just War: Being Honest in Just War Thinking" when he was hypothetically adopting the presuppositions of the just war theorists with whom he disagreed and called them back to their own principles. i'm asking pacifists to - if they can - do this. but i understand and empathize if they cannot.

my russian friend:

i truly care but isn't it true that at any point we wake up it can be asked, "why did you sleep so long?"


i empathize and could almost write "i am nothing" but I just heard...i think it was ortberg....echoing willard's teaching about how we each have a kingdom - a sphere of our own control. i think this is sound biblically. God has given us some power and some influence and some strength. so i'm not brilliant but i wonder if a bunch of us who aren't brilliant might be able to make a difference in some way.

Finally, thank you all very much for caring and commenting.

Stephen Ingraham said...

Hi Stephen,

I'd like to differentiate between being anti-war and pro-peaceful alternative solutions on the one hand, and being a pacifist on the other. In my thinking they are not necessarily the same thing. I see war as a specific disease, as the world's way of continuing to solve conflicts that God has already provided the full solution for in Jesus Christ. I have a feeling that God wants us to apply that solution much nearer the root of these conflicts, perhaps by direct intervention in the cycle of injustice and oppression and agression that got us all into this state...that is to say in spreading the gospel of Jesus in word and deed among the individuals involved in this conflict, giving of ourselves to promote healing of individual hearts...and prehaps only by providing an example of how a people of principle, moved by the spirit of God in Jesus Christ live and work together and solve conflicts.

I am not sure any of that made sense...but we are reaching for what we have not yet seen, but can hope for in Jesus...we need the creative solution here...the one only God can pull off...and, yet, at the same time, we want to be involved too.

Stephen said...

no, i think that makes sense, stephen. one doesn't have to be completely pacifist to be against war whenever possible. and the gospel of jesus christ is the most powerful incentive to peace

Mcat said...

It is interesting to note that while Israel specifically apologizes when it hit civlians by mistake...

Ehud Olmert - "I deeply regret the civilians – adults and children – who were killed in Kafer Kana. We did not seek to harm them, we did not want their death. They were not our enemies and they were not the target of our aircraft. "

Hezbullah is celebrating in the streets of Beirut whenever civilians are killed in Haifa.

I think there is something very wrong here. A very interesting story was told by the Christians residents of Ain Ebel village who were forced to leave thier homes due to the bombing.

came to Ain Ebel to shoot its rockets,” said Fayad Hanna Amar, a young
Christian man, referring to his village [in South Lebanon]. “They are shooting
between our houses.” “Please,’’ he added, “write that
in your newspaper.”

I have it all on my blog