We cannot bomb our way to peace. What is imperative is that we don’t lose sight of the civilians and families whose homes and communities in Syria and Iraq bear the brunt of these never-ending proxy wars fought between the US, Iran, Russia, Turkey, and others.
As professors—one a politically-engaged theologian and the other a theologically-engaged political scientist—we admit that this situation leaves us concerned and scratching our heads. In our current American context, we wonder: what does it mean to live an authentic life of faith?
Our country is aching to see the strength it takes to accept responsibility for more than our own individual acts. To be wrong, and admit it. To be the first to apologize. To accept the hard truth that we’ve sown bitterness and are reaping violence. Violence doesn’t start in our fists, it is born in our hearts.
I am concerned that, for all our brave talk of the Gospel, there is a part of us that is still tempted to find our own way toward the knowledge of good and evil, knowing better than God what is good for us (see Genesis 3). That there is a prideful instinct within us that assumes that we can, perhaps even have, designed the political system and philosophy that will lead us into the promised land of peace, prosperity, justice, and rest.
Some individuals who have fled countries internally disrupted by bloody violence have warned that what they see taking place in the U.S. is troublingly similar to what they saw happening in their own countries. Warning lights are flashing
Jesus disrupted the pseudo-peace to expose it for what it was; a weapon of the state to maintain the status quo.