Thursday, April 20, 2006


"Christ teaches us to love our enemies, do good to those who harm us, pray for those who persecute us. He calls us to accept suffering before we inflict injury. He calls us to pick up the cross and to lay down the sword.

We will most certainly fail in this call. I did. And I'll fail again. This does not change Christ's teaching that violence itself is the tomb, violence is the dead end. Peace won through the barrel of a gun might be a victory but it is not peace. Our captors had guns and they ruled over us. Our rescuers had bigger guns and ruled over the captors. We were freed, but the rule of the gun stayed. The stone across the tomb of violence has not been rolled away."

- James Looney, Christian Peacemaker Teams member

you can read his entire "EASTER REFLECTION" which was published in the Toronto Star about his 118-day captivity by Iraqi militants and rescue by British special forces troops.


Anonymous said...

Amen! excellent post.

St.Phransus said...

thanks wayne. yeah, i read it and was absolutely floored by it.

John said...

I guess these "Christian" "Peacemaker" Teams (no sarcasm quotes for that word, as they do work in teams) would prefer that we withdraw from Iraq and let it collapse into bloody chaos. It would, of course, be more Christian of us to let more people die.

Can you carry a cross and a sword? Their fallacious thinking comes from thinking that the means justify the ends. If pacifism leads to horrendous suffering, they couldn't care less.

Actually, that statement is too generous. Of all the nations of the world, who is the focus of their greatest attention? America and Israel. Terrorists are slaughtering innocent Iraqis, yet the CPT cannot spare the words to condemn them -- nor the numerous other despots around the world who are the antithesis of 'peacemaker'.

Whose cause is bolstered by their protests? The terrorists. Yet they have no shame for the evil that they advance. They are no more Christian than the Lutheran pastors who justified Hitler in the 30s.

St.Phransus said...

"Terrorists are slaughtering innocent Iraqis, yet the CPT cannot spare the words to condemn them -- nor the numerous other despots around the world who are the antithesis of 'peacemaker'."

1. The Eastern Congo: the effects of the Rwandan genocide has spilled into Eastern Congo where it is estimated that five times the number of persons have been killed as were killed in Rwanda.

2. Kenora Canada: Kenora is town of 16,000 people located in northwestern Ontario. As with many towns in Canada's north, racism is a significant problem. So the CPT works on race and reconcilliation with the community.

3. British Columbia: In B.C. there is a frustration by resource users, harassment, threats, arrests, some violence, and the denial of Aboriginal rights. In this brief visit, CPT introduced itself, gained some understanding of the issues involved, and has been asked to be "on alert" in case the situation deteriorates and human rights monitors are needed.

4. Columbia: Colombia is home of the longest running insurgency -counterinsurgency war in the world. The death toll since 1964 is over 200,000. Of roughly 30,000 people murdered each year, about one in five is known to be killed for political motives; of these, two-thirds are civilians.

5. PALESTINE: CPTs now have a presence in Palestine and are researching the human rights violations.

6. USA: In the United States, CPT has worked at violence reduction in urban settings and in support of a Native American community.

7. AFGHANISTAN: After spending much time meeting with representatives and locals, CPT accepted the invitation of Afghans to come work with them at reducing violence and building a peaceful future.

8. MEXICO: CPT Mexico functioned as a violence reduction presence within the low-level conflict that typifies Chiapas. Like all CPT projects, they worked to engage systems and policies of oppression with truth and nonviolent action. The team was established in May 1998 and operated out of the southern-Chiapan city of San Cristobal de las Casas.

9. PEURTO RICO: Since February 2000, CPT has sent several emergency delegations to the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, which the U.S. Navy has used as a training ground for the last fifty years. The practice maneuvers, including live bombing runs, have had devastating effects on the environment, the economy and the health of Vieques residents.

10: IRAQ: support the UN Weapons Inspection Program as an alternative to war; put a human face on Iraq, helping people in the U.S. understand that Saddam Hussein was not the only person living in Iraq; stand alongside Iraqi families; assist Iraqis in gaining access to loved ones in detention; support a variety of new and old Iraqi human rights groups which suddenly found themselves with space and freedom to operate; CPT’s persevering presence and establishment of trusting relationships throughout the shifting sands of circumstance laid the groundwork for today’s exciting partnership with Iraqis committed to forming a “Muslim Peace Team.”.

I don't know John, it seems like CPT is all over the world and are maybe doing a lil bit more than either you or I. So I'm a bit slower to criticize. Plus I think after researching them more, you'll find like I have that their work over there and their perspective has come from the local families and people that have shared their stories and experiences.

Thanks for your comment.

John said...

6 of the 10 places you list are related to the US, Israel, and Canada (of all places!). There are far more violent regimes in the world than those three. China comes to mind. Or North Korea. Or almost all of the Middle East and Africa. Yet their efforts are focused almost exclusively on the most civilized nations on earth.

Take a look at their statements on Iraq. They give moral support to the terrorists by verbally attacking the US 24/7. Who does that help? Whose cause is emboldened and aided by their efforts in Iraq? Iraq's or the terrorists'?

Their obessesion with critiquing the US and Israel is not absolute, and they do spend time elswhere, yet the bulk of their energies is devoted to attacking two nations with fantastic records for human rights, while the worst offender are ignored.

I'm not fooled by their pseudo-Christian rhetoric. They are giving aid and encouragement to the forces of evil and blasphemously doing it in the name of Christ. They deserve the hottest spot in the lake of fire.

St.Phransus said...

"They deserve the hottest spot in the lake of fire."

So do I, John, and so do you. Thank God that God can imagine the best in us enough to be willing to allow us to be in relationship with Him. We'd all be in trouble if God didn't.

thank you for your comments and continuing to help me think through tough issues.