Thursday, September 5, 2013

My ponderings on Syria

As I write this blog post, I am aware of the challenging and complicated political issues within Syria. From what I read and hear, there is no question that President Assad’s regime has been brutal to the citizens of Syria and this brutality needs to be addressed by the world community. Standards of respect for human dignity and decency need to be upheld. The killing of citizens needs to end. These horrific actions against humanity cannot be ignored, whether they are done by Assad’s army or the rebels. Syria is a complex and complicated political reality, and of course resolution to this violence involves more than Syria. And yes, the choices the world has in responding are also complicated and complex. As I think about Sunday’s Gospel text (Luke 14: 25-33) I cannot help but think about how complicated and complex following in the ways of God have always been. This text lays out that following in the ways of God are risky and requires pondering deeply, conventional convictions that might seduce us to seeing the world through old patterns of behaving. It seems that the text is saying that there are no easy roads to follow; no pathway that does not include risk, rethinking, courage and imaginative thinking. And yet, we do have choices in how we behave. Bombing Syria as a “first step” in ending the abuse there seems counter intuitive. Have the more difficult pathways of diplomacy been traveled. Will more violence breed more violence? I am holding the world and the United States’ political leaders in my prayers, as they ponder making more war. I pray the peacemakers will emerge that will point toward the pathways toward peace. John

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