The Gift of Peace: Christmas and the End of War

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“This is a war universe. War all the time. That is its nature. There may be other universes based on all sorts of other principles, but ours seems to be based on war and games. All games are basically hostile. Winners and losers. We see them all around us: the winners and the losers. The losers can oftentimes become winners, and the winners can very easily become losers.” — William S Burroughs

 

War is not a gift. War does not make great men, nor does it make humanity great. War is destruction, and there is no glory in it. In the most just cases, it is unfortunate necessity, a lose-lose situation. War is not a game. War is not fun. War will end.

 

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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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When Love Speaks

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“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” — Jesus

Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, 2001. I remember exactly where I was when I found out: walking into US History class, if you believe me. While this blog mainly focuses on European affairs, I would be amiss to neglect the importance of this day for our modern world. September 11th opened the 21st century; what had the promise to be a century of peace has quickly become in the subsequent years one of wars and unrest. they attack; we attack back. We attack preemptively to defend ourselves against “real and present” dangers. But in doing this, have we departed completely from Jesus’s challenge to those who would follow him: love your enemies? What would happen if love speaks a softer word to our world?

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