A couple of weeks ago Joel McKerrow shared an amazing post , “For the Christian part of me…I am sorry“. It is one part of a four-part artistic video series in which Joel confesses to the world for the historical, current, and stereotypical Christian, male, white, and rich parts of him. I very highly recommend checking them out. It is a very inspiring and honest evaluation of the place that the religion of Christendom has led us to today.
Today I would like to stand with Joel. I want to confess not only for the four areas that he did, but more specifically for the heritage that has influenced me the most…
the American part of me.
To start I want to say that I believe America has and still does many good things for its citizens, and others around the world. I am not confessing and saying sorry for those parts, but wish to distance myself from the negative aspects of my nation’s heritage and current actions. I know I won’t be able to mention all of them, but would like to point out the things I wish to renounce in my American heritage.
Let’s begin with, well….the beginning of America. For mainly political reasons (spiritual reasons were used as well) the British colonies in America decided to revolt against England, leading to the bloody Revolutionary War. Instead of following in the way of Jesus (paying taxes, honoring the king, obeying the ruling authorities), our nation’s founding fathers decided to forcefully and violently free themselves from ties with England. For this, I am sorry.
Looking forward to the newly formed nation, we find another very often overlooked and downplayed aspect of our heritage: the greed-filled stealing of the Native Americans land, resources, and way of life. Instead of “living at peace with all men”, our young nation (very often touting OT violent nation of Israel conquering passages) stole from, deported, and murdered MILLIONS of our lands original inhabitants. To the ORIGINAL Americans I would like to say… I am sorry.
For the sake of time I will limit this already limited confession to a final topic. Let us fast-forward 200 years to the present. This final point is the closest to my heart and has impacted my life the most as I am currently living through it. I want to confess for our current “war on terrorism”. I am fully aware that what happened on 9/11 was a terrible, grievous act. Words cannot describe how evil, wrong, and the amount of pain was caused by the acts of a few men on that day. The acts of those few men claimed the lives of almost 3, 000 innocent humans. Men, women, and children had their lives cut short. Many thousands more will forever live without those loved ones. For this, my country(including myself) was very angry. Thoughts of vengeance filled our thoughts and minds. However, instead of responding in the way Jesus calls us to, (by loving our enemies, doing good to those that harm us..etc) America launched what has now become the second longest war in our history. We have sought vengeance and justice against our enemies instead of giving love and mercy. Now, I understand that America, as a kingdom of this world, would respond in worldly fashion. However, as so many other times in our history, those of us who follow Jesus should have been living out his call to NOT RESIST evil, to turn the other cheek, to love and serve rather than seek vengeance and domination. Earlier this week, CNN posted an article on the hundreds of innocent civilians our nation has slain over these last 12 years (more specifically those killed in our allied nation of Pakistan , whom we are NOT at war with). Oh how far we have come from the message and call of Jesus. How sad that we let this cycle of vengeance begin in the first place, let alone overlook the thousands of innocent civilians we have wiped out in our destructive path. To my fellow human beings around the world who have fallen under the sword of this place I call home, to the thousands of grieving family members of the innocents slain, to those in whose countries we now occupy….I would like to humbly, in the name of peace and my lord Jesus, who’s example I wish to follow, say one last time…. I am sorry.
For the American part of me…… I AM SORRY
Matt Young is a U.S. Soldier turned pacifist. An Anabaptist, non-violent, lover of God and people, Matt is a follower of Jesus Christ. He is married to his beautiful wife, best friend, and mother of their newborn son, praying that God’s will be done “on earth as it is in heaven”. You can contact and follow him on Twitter.