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Amidst the War in Iraq and the Koch bros, it is a great time to follow Jesus
Barack Obama used the phrase “network of death” last week to describe his new enemies, and I wasn’t the only one who thought it sounded eerily familiar to George W. Bush’s “axis of evil.” After hearing it, my stomach turned. It turned like it did when Barry the Bomber made his argument for attacking Syria the first time. It turned again when he started bombing Iraq. Then tried to convince us, again, to bomb Syria, this time not because of Assad’s brutality but because of the Islamic State (IS) and how it wants to control the area formerly known as the Levant. The administration uses the term “ISIL” because it wants to expose the imperial intentions of IS. It’s a good fear-mongering tactic, of course. If they are going to take over the Levant, what’s next? Europe? The United States?
Barack Obama is using the same fear-mongering that his extremist detractors use when they accuse him of being born in Kenya, or worse, that he is a radical Islamist. The drone president has been such a let-down and has a foreign policy is so similar to Bush's, our eyes should be open to the fact that it doesn’t really matter what puppet we have on stage, the U.S.’s foreign policy is influenced by bigger forces that the tantrum-throwing Congress and this floundering administration.
One friend of mine thinks that the CIA has exacerbated the situation in Northern Iraq to provoke the war it failed to start a few months ago. The Saudi Prince thinks that the U.S.’s campaign is really about removing Assad from power—and he says that so matter-of-factly, it’s painful.
The situation is even worse when we look at the landscape of U.S. income inequality—look at this chart about the distribution of average income during periods of economic expansion. Check out what the Koch Brothers and their secret empire are doing and, rightfully so, we should be a little frightened. Couple that with the less-than-secret empire of Jeff Bezos and we can really see how the landscape of the U.S. and the world is heinous.
I am distressed at the state of affairs and sometimes I am helpless to respond to them in a way that is quite practical. I was teaching a class on radical Christianity at Koinos and it isn’t just me that doesn’t know how to respond to the “network of freedom” that Barack Obama is perpetrating right now.
It can be so overwhelming when we think of all the evil that is happening in the world. But my story of faith in Jesus is uplifting for me and gives me hope.
I remember feeling very isolated as a Christian when the War in Iraq started in 2003. All of the Christians I knew in my hometown were vehement supporters of the conflict. So I really thought that Christians, in general, were war hawks and if I was going to be a peacemaker, I just wouldn’t be a Christian. Even though I thought Jesus was calling me to make peace and advocate for peace in the world, because I didn’t know any like-minded followers of Jesus, I was ready to bow out.
Circle of Hope and the people there saved my faith. I finally found Christians that saw Jesus how I saw Him. They responded to what Jesus was saying and actually answered the question, “What if Jesus really meant what he said?” I’m thankful to be in this community of peace makers and justice lovers. We make a difference.
Christians need community to function. They need community to ‘stay hot,’ just like a burning coal needs other burning coals to stay hot. Christians also need community to change the world. We need to do it together; because it is so hard to look at the prospect of the war president and the overlords of capitalism and actually do something that can tangibly help. I think we need to start small and not think we need to be in the once percent of world changers, just because we are fighting the one percent.
In some sense, making a big deal of the crisis is important because it is a great time to become a Christian and join the resistance. Jesus is leading the greatest mutiny ever, so I think we can help people follow him by showing them the alternative he creates amid the chaos. And not only that, we can help people follow him because of the antidote to chaos his hope is.