Category Archives: Middle East

“My Enemies are Men Like Me”: A Dialogue

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This is probably the song that set men against Webb’s political push through song. The tune itself is slow and contemplative – a good fit for the song. By virtue of this, the words are that much more poignant and bruising. In light of the wars in the Middle East – in which the United States is the scapegoat by all those who oppose war, this song hits hard.
I have been thinking about our position in the Middle East – as pertains to war. In so many ways the wars in the Middle East are like hog-tying. We know there is an objective – stop the terrorists. Yet, how do we define the terrorists? What is more how does a nation differ from the mandate to forgive your enemies?

(vs. 1)
i have come to give you life
and to show you how to live it
i have come to make things right
to heal their ears and show you how to forgive them

(pre-chorus)
because i would rather die
i would rather die
i would rather die
than to take your life

Not much to say here other than the bitter irony of the cross. Jesus came to give us a more abundant life by being slain at the hands of Roman soldiers. The abundance does not come by way of Lexus or gold. The benefits rendered by the Cross would be diminished if they were equated with such paltry wealth. The blood of Jesus is trampled upon by men like Creflo Dollar and cronies who make the Christian life a parade of materialism rather than a procession of death (2Cor 2.14-16).

Let it be said that the Christian life is much more than majority evangelicalism in the United States lives. It is more than being good throughout the week – if good is defined by avoiding sin merely. The Christian life is going out to the highways and by-ways and compelling the drunkards and prostitutes to come to the banquet spread for them – though they have done nothing to deserve it. It is realizing that we are not the physicians. We, indeed, are sick men who must have an intravenous supply of Christ welling up in our hearts through his Holy Spirit. Broken vessels we are. Fragile clay pots.

What is more…a Christian realizes that God has every right to take his life. He is not his own. Not only did God have every right to smite us with sickness – due to our rebellion. But also, God continues to bear that right since we were bought at a price. Those who belong to Jesus realize that he died in our place. On the cross, our sin was crucifixed with/in him.

(chorus)
how can i kill the ones i’m supposed to love
my enemies are men like me
i will protest the sword if it’s not wielded well
my enemies are men like me

As Christians we must protest the sword if it is not wielded well. The Lenin-Soviet Union, Hitler’s Reich, Mao’s Massacres. Yet, the sword is still in the hands of the government. When Jesus commanded his disciples to turn their cheeks, he was speaking of forgiveness – not a literal turning and invitation to smite again. Jesus himself did not offer the other cheek in such a staunch interpretation. He rebuked the one who slapped him: “Why did you hit me?” He had done nothing wrong. We must forgive. How? More on that in another post (I want to write another post that explains how and upon what basis Christians forgive).

We are to kill the ones we are supposed to love when they kill. That is, I don’t kill by my own vigilante justice. Rather, the governing bodies above me dictate where justice should be meted out. This is due to sin that reigns in men’s bodies. God has given us institutions like government as a gift of common grace to guard from hell-ward justice.

(vs. 2)
peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication
it’s like telling someone murder is wrong
and then showing them by way of execution

Not exactly. Peace is brought about when injustice is squashed. The wars we see are foretastes and foreshadowings of the final battle that will cleanse the earth of sin and distribute perfect justice. True righteousness will only reign when God’s enemies are decisively put underneath King Jesus’ feet. In other words, without men being given justice in this life we can expect no peace.

Imagine, if you will, the Hussein brothers being asked to stop raping and torturing women. Ridiculous! They were representations of evil in this world. The only way to bring about beauty is by wiping off the filth.

(bridge)
when justice is bought and sold just like weapons of war
the ones who always pay are the poorest of the poor

This is sadly more true than I would like to believe. Economically speaking, the rich get richer. Venture capitalists and middle class Americans who love cheap gas are the ones who love to hear of wars and rumors of war.

This is why the church must be more than a country club. If it is true that the poor get poorer. The church must come alongside these poor and show them how to make ends meet. If we are the church constituted by the Lord Jesus, and evidenced in the book of Acts, we will share with all those who have need.

May God grant us the grace to live life like Christ…

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Friday Foto


East & West

Taken in Lebanon this summer.

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Photos of a Temple to Ba’al


While on my trip to the Middle East, we went to Ba’albek, Lebanon. This is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world. It is a massive center with three temples: Ba’al (converted to a temple to Jupiter after the Romans took control of the area), Bacchus (Phoenician god of fertility), and Venus. Check out my photos of this site here. Also peruse the other albums as I added more photos to them (since they pertain to those respective subjects). You can also subscribe to my flickr account to see when I update it. I spent a little more time making comments on the photos in hopes that it will help with your study of archaeology and biblical history. For more information go to this site.

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Some More Photos of My Trip to the Middle East


For those of you who have enjoyed the fotos I have put up, you can go here to view some more from someone who was in my group. There are definitely some beautiful shots of the scenery…and a few of me mooching some chips off one somebody. Enjoy.

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A Political Rant

Okay, more of a question. I like to throw out some political stuff every now and then because I figure by doing so I can:
1) Learn more humility by revealing my inability to discuss such matters
2) Get some feedback from others to see where my thinking is off
3) Hopefully get at some essential issue to theology and its place in this matter
4) Learn more humility

I was listening to Anderson Cooper tonight as he interviewed a Republican from Georgia (not very articulate, but passionate) and Kucinich from Ohio. Kucinich made a pretty good point in the fact that Iraq made no attack on the United States. Therefore, according to international law, the USA should not have initiated war with Iraq.

With that said, my question has to do with the fact that don’t we (as an able-bodied people) have some obligation to right wrongs in other countries. That is, it is a known fact that Saddam Hussein was tyrannical and torturous to his own people. A horrible dictator. It reminds me of Nazi Germany in many ways. They were exterminating people within their own political boundaries. World governments were criticized for not doing something earlier than they had.

Does this not fit the same mold? Some may say: Why not go after North Korea? Why not a number of other countries? The United States just wants oil?

First, the third question delves into the area of motives. Who are you to judge a man’s motives. You have to deal with what is actually done and said. It is thin rationale, indeed, to say that you “know” that the reason for x is based on someone’s motive (when that has not been stated…ever). Second, who is to say that other countries will not be held accountable by the other world governments. Third, granted, I do not like the fact that the troops in the Middle East are predominantly from the USA. But does the fact that a few countries are pushing this ahead preclude the necessity of those with the means to do something about it?

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Some More Fotos From Damascus


Here are a couple of my favorite places I visited in Damascus…

PS – I think I am becoming a flickr fan. Please feel free to leave comments!

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Fotos from Damascus

I just uploaded some fotos from my trip to the Middle East. I will try to post updates in chronological order. For now visit my Damascus Album and I will be posting more when I get time. Feel free to make comments on my flickr site.

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