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08.09.2017

Fire and Fury | Connecting with Culture

On my twitter feed, the prospect of global nuclear war is sandwiched between the US Open and a video of a puppy.

Technology can rather reflect our priorities, can’t it? After all, as details of North Korea’s nuclear test emerged last Sunday, the story quickly lost the top spot on news websites. Frankly, we’re all more comfortable reading about the new royal baby than we are considering what Trump’s threats of ‘fire and fury’ mean for the future.

Last week I looked around the ‘People Power: Fighting for Peace’ exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. It traced fascinating storylines of peace fighters throughout the last century, from the conscientious objectors of WWI to the 2003 anti-war protests. Positioned right by the entrance there was a huge banner emblazoned with the words ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’.

Jesus’ call to peacemaking and reconciliation is something we must strive for both as individuals and as nations: it offers a glimpse of kingdom values in the middle of our broken mess.

There are, however, many complicated questions to consider and pray through as we wrestle with what that should look like. What happens when the call to be a peacemaker collides with the call to stand up for the oppressed, or to hunger and thirst for righteousness in society? What kind of peace do we consider worth fighting for? And do we believe in peace at any price?

At the end of the exhibition was an interview in which Vanessa Redgrave addresses the nuclear threat. Something she said made me pause:

‘It’s not an ‘it’… it’s us. It’s we that are the problem.’

What an uncomfortable thought: the idea that we’ve made weapons the enemy to take the spotlight off ourselves. We need only look at Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 to realise that hatred and violence have been there from the beginning. We’ve just managed to develop technologies which escalate the damage we can do.

Yes, I long to see a world without nuclear weapons. The root of evil, however, is not the red button, but the brokenness of humanity which prompts us to push it.

So as we lift this tangle of uncertain politics and fear to God, may we ask him to bring wisdom, sensitivity, and insight that’s far beyond human means. In the middle of fire and fury, may we keep our eyes fixed on the Prince of Peace.

Katherine Ladd
Katherine is about to start her final year studying English at Cambridge University. She blogs the odd thought at chatterandscribblings.wordpress.com.

Comments

  1. I entirely agree it is us who are the problem. And some of us are Christians: politicians who are prepared to use nuclear weapons (are at least threaten to use them); business people who make large profits out of selling weapons to countries that have very poor human rights and use them to kill innocent people; politicians who stir up fear and/or hatred of other countries, races, religions.
    There is a massive education needed of Christians as well as spreading the gospel to others.

    By John Segal - 8th September 2017
  2. Thank you Katherine. How refreshing to read something that starts to get to the heart of the problem. I share your prayer for greater wisdom, sensitivity and insight for us all.

    By Ruth Murray-Webster - 8th September 2017
  3. We, have been the problem from the dawn of creation. Life appears to be on a downward slide for centuries. I often wonder which part of the slide is this Century on? ! Indications of political unrest, devastating weather patterns and horrors of genocide should cause us to wake up and seek a better way. We strive for peace by the laying down of arms, when instead we need to lay our hearts at the foot of the cross.
    When world leaders capture “the peace that passes all understanding” and seek wisdom which is God’s alone, then there will be some hope. We will stay on our knees till then.

    By Jean Sheehan - 9th September 2017
  4. Blessed are the peacemakers. Only God’s power can bring that blessing about in our world leaders. So Katherine’s observations are very cogent if you are a Christian. However King George V of Great Britain, Czar Nicholas II of Russia, and Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany who were sovereigns (and first cousins) at the time of the outbreak of the WW1; all claimed that God was with them. The comments here remind me that we must follow God’s command to love our enemies if we are to avoid spiritual imperialism. If Jesus was President Trump’s main advisor would Christians really support his choice?

    By John from Belfast - 11th September 2017
  5. powerful image too

    By Bruce Gulland - 12th September 2017
  6. Agreed!!!!!!
    We need to really work for a world where love, human rights, justice and mercy are predominant – otherwise everything will burn up in warfare , nuclear or otherwise!

    By Dr A R GREENWAY - 15th September 2017
  7. Thanks for this article, Katherine. The problem is both mankind’s fallenness AND the fact that some of mankind now have a ‘red button’. No individual or group should ever have that much power, precisely because we are all sinful and error prone. At Christian CND we are trying to make these links between disarmament and faith, and we would love to see more Christians getting involved. Please see http://www.christiancnd.org.uk and get in touch to do something practical and prayerful for peace.

    By Martin Tiller - 15th September 2017
  8. To me the problem is very simple; if nuclear weapons are good for us, then we should expect all states to want them. How is it just for the UK to have a nuclear capability and deny N Korea the right to have nuclear weapons of its own?
    And Christians in the UK mostly seem to think that it is OK for our government to be prepared to incinerate millions of civilians.
    I am sure many individual Christians are doing great work for peace, but while the Church(es) condone our possession of nuclear weapons then I think we are far away from being considered peacemakers. So yes, it is us who are the problem – is it that we are not prepared to follow the way of Jesus? We are not prepared to go the way of non-violence (as Jesus did).

    By Mick - 18th September 2017

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