Sunday, 10 March 2013

Blood at boiling point in Church today

He prays it every week when he is at Church:  “For the safety and success of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan”.
I have no problem with the “safety” bit.  But I am not sure what “success” means.
That’s probably because former President George W. Bush was never able to articulate why we were at war in those countries.  He inferred that it had something to do with “the war on terror”, but we never knew what he had in mind as to  what could or might happen in those countries once we had won that “war”.
In the meantime we are bailing out of Iraq with no clear sense of “mission accomplished”, and we are (off the record of course) negotiating with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
President Obama has been no more successful than former Pres. Bush in articulating a rationale for our war loving ways.  Indeed he has upped the ante with his enthusiastic endorsement and engagement in a war from the skies via American drones.

How in heaven’s name do we measure “success” in those two lands?
Neither Bush nor Obama has been able to address this question.

 When the man prayed his prayer at St. Boniface this morning I began to get very agitated. For it seemed to me that his prayer was so one-sided. 
How can we as gospel people pray for the safety and success of American forces without also praying for the victims of American violence?
I wanted to follow his prayer with words such as “We pray for the little children who have been killed by missiles fired from American Drones, and for their grieving parents”.
My gut was groaning. But I decided not to voice that prayer lest our prayer time become a battle ground for duelling beliefs.

Some of my gut groaning had to do with the fact that my Church advertises itself as being “progressive”.  I doubt that!
Our music is very good, but it is rooted in the 19th C.
Our liturgies are well expressed, but they are “safe”, and never “push the envelope”.
Most sermons are good enough, but they are often so bland and un-controversial.  In five years I have not heard a sermon which made people mad!
Maybe we are progressive because we welcome a score or two of old queens such as I.
But we are regressive when it comes to allowing the challenge of Jesus’ teachings to confront “American Values”.
In five years I have not heard a single sermon which has placed Americanism under the microscope of the teachings of Jesus.
It’s sad to be in an otherwise good parish where Americanism trumps the Gospel.
The parish will not be truly progressive until and unless it knows that following Jesus is more important that saluting the American flag.

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