NOTE: I wrote this a few days ago, but my thoughts haven't changed any. I thought they might over the week but it hasn't happened. It's published as originally written.
There has been so much going on family-wise that outside a comment in the sermon on Sunday, I haven't weighed in on the Iraq situation. I'm not sure that anyone is waiting with bated breath for me to do so, but there have been a few thoughts that have stuck with me and I can't shake them. And selfishly it's cathartic to think about something outside the room I'm currently occupying.
Okay, so here goes:
1. This is not a political problem. It's not a religious problem. It's not an arabic problem. This is a moral problem. There is evil in the world and these people are perpetuating it. There is an Evil One in the world and these people are serving him. The more clearly we have that fixed in our minds, the more clearly we can think about addressing the issue. And it has to start with using clarifying moral language: this is evil.
2. Some have questioned whether or not children are being beheaded in Iraq like the adults are. It does seem like a fair enough question since there is a single source to the story. Apparently some Senators have seen more pictures than we have. However, what's not in question is that there are adults dying in gruesome ways at the hands of evil men. It's also not in question that children are dying of starvation and dehydration as they flee the evil men. It is ugly. Moreover, having spent the last umpteen weeks in a children's hospital, my senses are acutely attuned to the suffering of kiddos. Kyrie eleison.
3. Christians have to do more than post about it on social media. My humble suggestions:
(a) Pray for them - that their faith would be sustained and their suffering wouldn't lack purpose.
(b) Give - here's a legitimate list of legitimate avenues LINK
(c) Live - I argued on Sunday that the martyrdom of Antipas in Pergamum steeled the believers in Pergamum, inspiring them to live worthy of Christ. Can these deaths in Iraq do less for us today?
4. What took the U.S. government so long to engage? Would it have been different with a different president? Would it have been different if they had started with oil fields instead of people? Instead of Christians? I'm enough of a cynic to ask...enough of a patriot to hope not.
5. I'm no geopoliticist, but it sure looks like Iraq should be 2-3 different countries, divided by ethnicity. Our own country struggled with this. They have neither a philosophical entrenchment from which to fight for unity nor an Abraham Lincoln to lead that fight. We're way past We are the World and I'd like to Buy the World a Coke.