Contact Us    
And on Earth, Peace

Among Those with Whom God is Pleased, That Is.

by Barnabas
December 25, 2002

Bookmark and Share

And on Earth, Peace_Barnabas-Among Those with Whom God is Pleased, That Is.
“War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good.”
—Jimmy Carter’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech
How very sectarian is the God of the Bible, to be pleased with some people and not with others! But we could also say, “How very ethical is the God of the Bible,” or “How very realistic is the God of the Bible.” The more accurate translation of the angel’s words to the shepherds stands on its head the familiar line of the King James Version, “Good will toward men.” Instead, the line is a prediction of peace among those who please God. While Christians and others quarrel over who pleases God, it is certain that those who do Wrong—however that is defined--do not please him.

Now that war is threatened on every newscast and front page, we are going to be getting and sending a lot of Christmas cards with the “Peace on Earth” theme. Their message is not deep. What I get from it is something like this:

Peace on earth, but leave us to the enjoyment of our wealth.

Peace on earth, but leave our prejudices intact.

We are content with our wealth, so why shouldn’t other people be content with their wretchedness?

The former President nailed the answer to the question in his Nobel speech: “. . .the most serious and universal problem is the growing chasm between the richest and poorest people on earth. The results of this disparity are root causes of most of the world's unresolved problems, including starvation, illiteracy, environmental degradation, violent conflict and unnecessary illnesses that range from Guinea worm to HIV/Aids.”

Peace comes at a very high price, but except for a couple of shining moments in the history of Christendom, we have been more willing to pay the price in blood than in generosity or diplomacy. Yet in Christian terms, the blood price has already been paid: according to St. Paul, Christ has torn down the dividing wall between the peoples of the world and made peace “by the blood of his cross.” To Christians, this is a central affirmation of faith. But even to unbelievers, these words may show that peace is a costly achievement, not a natural condition of humankind. It is always won by sacrifice.

Nothing in the sacred literature of the West (the Koran is from the East) requires blood sacrifice as the first strategy in making peace; Christ has made that offering once for all. Yet, both before and after Christ, in east and west, in every major religious grouping and none, civilization has routinely assumed that blood sacrifice, or the threat of it, is the only course available. President Carter’s “necessary evil” has been routine.

It is not more routine now than it ever was, except that our killing has become much more efficient. We continue in this hellish mode, even though it cannot be historically documented that war addresses Carter’s root causes by feeding people, enriching the environment, expanding literacy, reducing hostility, and curing illness. We honor the sacrifices of those who have fallen or been grievously harmed in battle, but we are not required thereby to honor the policies that led to battle.

I am not suggesting that we can end all war by sacrificial generosity. We may be at war soon, perhaps a “necessary evil.” That is not my call to make. But Christians at least are required to required to recognize that the world doesn’t need any unnecessary evil. That is why it is unnecessary!

Post a Comment

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*

Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.

Please type the letters you see above.


Bookmark and Share

Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
And on Earth, Peace
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Barnabas
Barnabas Says Goodbye
Moving on, not moving out.
by Barnabas, 1/19/05
Seats on the Fifty-Yard Line
Yet another American value.
by Barnabas, 1/12/05
Ethical Endgame
When children become sexual slaves.
by Barnabas, 12/15/04
Eighteen Years on Death Row
We have redefined 'speedy trial' and 'cruel and unusual.'
by Barnabas, 12/8/04
Hard on Drugs, Soft in the Head
Legalizing marijuana.
by Barnabas, 12/1/04
Wesley and Wal-Mart
Destructive competition as a stinky enterprise.
by Barnabas, 11/24/04
The Mandate to Govern
Third party time.
by Barnabas, 11/17/04
» Complete List (137)

Recently Published
View Article Remembering a Lesser-Known Carroll
A tribute to Carroll Spinney
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/13/19
A Godwink Defined
Making sense of the coincidences of life
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/6/19
Making Deposits in the Blessing Bank
A grateful heart is a great investment
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/27/19
A Shepherd in Sneakers
Celebrating the ministry of Fred Rogers
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/22/19
Feeding Our Nightmares
The dangerous diet of late night news
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/15/19
Saluting Puget Sound Honor Flights
Pledging allegiance to our Veterans
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/8/19
The Tale of the Flameless Taper
An All-Saints Day Reminder
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/1/19

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.

RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?

Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2019 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top