The EU and Terror

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How to defeat terrorism? Don’t be terrorized. Don’t let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared. — Salman Rushdie

It is a complicated history, one that stretches back to before the outbreak of the first World War. In seeking a genesis of terrorism, in seeking to understand what drives terror, the West must admit that it is partially responsible for its genesis. We are bound up in a network of power relations that are now turning against our citizens. We are reaping what we have sown. We have sown fear, we have sown war, we have sown desperation. We reap what we sow. How do we relate to this history and to modern terrorism that is now found in the streets of Madrid, London and Paris, as well as many other places? What, if anything, can the EU do about terror?

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Jesus and Green Energy

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It is impossible to understand the world properly as creation without a proper discernment of the sabbath. In the sabbath stillness men and women no longer intervene in the environment through their labour. They let it be entirely God’s creation. They recognize that as God’s property creation is inviolable; and they sanctify the day through their joy in existence as God’s creatures within the fellowship of creation. — Jürgen Moltmann

To anyone else, does a wind turbine look like a cross? Especially as they line the horizon, under the light of sunlight, perhaps three across? Or does the reflective screen of solar planes sparkle similarly to gilded icons? Does the thought of tidal power strike anyone as a sort of walking on water? This is not to claim the iconic status of alternative energy, but it drifts in that direction — for Jesus can be seen here.

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The Reign of Peace

They ask me where I’ve been,
And what I’ve done and seen.
But what can I reply
Who know it wasn’t I,
But someone just like me,
Who went across the sea
And with my head and hands
Killed men in foreign lands…
Though I must bear the blame,
Because he bore my name. — Wilfred Gibson, “Back”

A century.

A century. In geological time, it is not that long. In cultural time, in the time of the hidden movement of our collective moral unconscious, it is less than moment. The ready-made graves of the trenches do not appear distant, like the fallen walls of Troy, but they are present. They are present in our abilities to make war on the same technological scale that the First World War initiated. We’ve just gotten better at it. The trenches are present, filled with their dying men and boys, in our faces and our names and our languages. We are the hollow men, still and always.

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Europe’s Scapegoat?

“The most daring provocations and the most shocking scandals have lost all power to provoke and shock. That does not mean that violence is no longer a threat; quite the contrary. The sacrificial system is virtually worn out, and that is why its inner workings are now exposed to view.” — Rene Girard, “Violence and the Sacred”

Are we unfazed by violence? When the news comes in from around the world and from our communities, we hear about the death of hundreds from war, the continuing destruction of ecological systems, the abuse of children, the implosion of marriages, and the struggles of the migrant, the disposed, and those in poverty. Are unfazed by this? Are we stirred to life? To action?

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Discipleship and the Supra-State

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“There is a wrong way of staying in the world and a wrong way of fleeing from it. In both cases we are fashioning ourselves according to the world.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

What makes for a good disciple? What makes for a good citizen? In my earlier post, I commented on the nature of the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of the world. In this post, I want to narrow down the focus and try to describe discipleship that is occurring today, in light of the growth of the EU and its implications as a supra-national organization. I hope to explore the questions I’ve just posed, as well as a third: which identity comes first?

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The Ecumenical Project of Europe

“We are called to bethink ourselves of the Christian basics of Europe by forming a democratic model of governance which through reconciliation develops into a ‘community of peoples’ in freedom, equality, solidarity and peace and which is deeply rooted in Christian basic values.” — Robert Schuman

There are arguments for and against the “Christian” foundation of Europe. I am, for one, a supporter of the understanding that ‘Europe’ as a concept and as a project is deeply rooted in, as Schuman said, Christian basic values. Without the Judeo-Christian history unfolding in Europe, spreading itself across the continent and then the world, would such a unity or Union even be thinkable? But perhaps another important question, first addresses us: what is meant by Christian, since there are so many forms of Christianity across Europe itself?

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Permission to Speak (and Write!)

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“…Recognising their identity and their specific contribution, the Union shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with these churches and organisations.” — Article 17 TFEU

I pray for the EU. I pray for its leaders, its member states, its people. I pray for its role on the world stage. I hope and work for its betterment. I pay my taxes. I abide by the laws. True to St Peter’s intentions: I fear the emperor(s).

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