FORGIVENESS

by Will Fuller, Kairos-Milwaukie UCC, Milwaukie, OR

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:24

elephant blind menThey know not what they do
Six blind men in a village come across an elephant. One touches the trunk and thinks he is feeling a snake. Another touches a leg and thinks it is a tree, and so on. Each one touches a different part, tells a different story, and argues that his story is the truth.

Like the blind men touching an elephant, those who crucified Christ thought they were killing a dangerous radical, not knowing they were fulfilling Scripture for the resurrection of a savior.  Christ called on God to forgive them.  But who is “them”?  Is it the crucifiers casting lots for his robe?  The Hebrew elders who condemned him?  The Romans who ruled?  The crowd who cried out  for Barabbas?  The larger crowd who are our forebears?  Is it us?  In the gracious forgiveness of god, it is all of us -we know not what we do.

Has War Become Dysfunctional?

By Jeanine Elliott, Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ

Just-Peace banner smIn 1971, Robert Moss, then second president of the UCC, wrote in the United Church Herald, “In our kind of world, war has become dysfunctional. We now need to put as much effort into defining a just peace as we have done in the past in defining a just war.”[1]

Today we don’t even know what a war is.  On any given day, we can list conflicts between nations or peoples that result in death and injury of civilians and military alike.  This day we see Kiev, Bangkok, Syria, Central African Republic, Caracas, Iraq, and Afghanistan in conflict. Next week we may have a different list. We know our political leaders and those around the globe must wake each morning to see what parts of the world are on fire. At the same time, civilians in those areas may have no idea the anxiety, pain, and suffering the day will bring for them.  Most of these conflicts are not defined as wars.  Civil unrest hardly seems a big enough term to describe them.  Armed conflict may not reflect the imbalances of power.

HOPE FOR THE MIDDLE EAST

by John Hickox, Dufur, Oregon
palestine stampAre you ready for good news about the Middle East? It’s here! For the first time since 1948, it’s okay to boldly speak out in support of the Palestinian cause. Even Thomas Friedman is doing it! A link to his recent New York Times column follows:

The Third Intifada,  February 5, 2014, Wednesday

The weapons of this uprising in the Middle East are nonviolent.

One of the surprising, even shocking, things Mr. Friedman says:

It’s obvious that a Third Intifada is underway.  It’s the one that Israel always feared most–not an intifada with stones or suicide bombers, but one propelled by nonviolent resistance and economic boycott.

Friedman is right.  Benjamin Netanyahu (and Ariel Sharon before him) was happy when the opposition was defined by suicide bombers. Every bus explosion translated into millions of dollars from members of the American Jewish community.