Tuesday, October 10, 2006
This past week during chapel we had two opposing view points on Just War and Pacifism. These talks were delivered by two members of the faculty. (One of them being my philosophy professor.) It's interesting to note that the week directly after these talks were presented, North Korea announced their test.
Flash forward to this morning. Chapel was based soley around this issue. The speaker was a well known business man who "encountered" the true message of Jesus late in his life. (I say the "true message" simply because he denounced, in so many words, the American dream being linked to the Gospel. I.E., this quote.) This transformation began in 1993 with an opportunity to work on the front lines during the war in Bosnia. I can see how that experience could change someone's life.
For the past nine years he has been making trips to North Korea to help with humanitarian aid. So he told his story. A story of a dark land with seemingly no hope. A story of a propaganda driven government intent on keeping its citizens in the dark. A story of a land whose economic structure has collapsed causing 3 million people to die of hunger in the past three years.
This man's call was not a call to arms however. It was not a "war cry" of injustice, but a word of prudence and caution. He urged and pleaded not to "demonize" the individuals in North Korea, but to remember first and foremost that there are 24 million "people" that live there. People who laugh and cry as we do. Sons and Daughters...Mothers and Fathers. It is very easy to allow fear to set into out hearts. To immediately condemn.
This man continued his story of North Korea. It's true that yesterday there were rumblings underground. Rumblings of a destructive sort, but it is also true that there is another type of rumblings. The underground church has been present in North Korea for over 60 years. "The closest thing to the New Testament church that I have seen," he proclaimed. An underground explosion of another kind where scripture is read, prayers are said and songs are sung to the tunes of military marches but with different lyrics meant to subvert the current empire.
So we prayed. We prayed for prudence and caution. We prayed that justice would be done. We prayed for our enemies and peace to reign. We prayed and were present.
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbors and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love you enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his rain to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more then others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as you heavenly father is perfect."