Via Rose Berger,
the summer issue of Portland magazine
includes an essay by Portland editor
and Century contributor Brian Doyle,
in which he quotes at length a conversation with a young U.S. war veteran named
Jackie. She paints a striking picture.
There isn't a tidy way to write about forgiveness. It's the whole gospel, for sure. But you've got to deal with the sin that preceded it and the damage that won't go away no matter how much reconciliation follows it. You've got to deal with the stop-start nature of relationships, the silence and paralysis of pain and shame, and the fact that we fail at least as much as we succeed.
Unmanned drones have become the weapon of choice in the Obama administration, which launched more drone attacks in nine months than the Bush administration did in three years. When it comes to attacking al-Qaeda, said CIA director Leon Panetta, drones are “the only game in town.”
There was once a time when most people assumed that the question of whether to wage war was to be decided by princes and kings, but in a democracy this moral responsibility ultimately rests with all citizens. In Who Would Jesus Kill? Mark J.
Nine days after announcing that he would send more troops to Afghanistan and set July 2011 as the start of a gradual withdrawal, President Barak Obama gave a similarly nuanced speech in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.
Obama condemned religious-inspired violence, so-called holy wars, but also offered a defense of the just-war tradition in the face of “evil” in the world.
Most Western observers of the Christian scene have learned to take African developments very seriously. They know that Africans will make up an increasing share of most denominations. The thriving churches of Nigeria and Uganda have become familiar to Western journalists through the activity of their leaders in the current Anglican schism.
In May, representatives of 109 countries met in a soccer stadium in Dublin, Ireland, and agreed to support a treaty to ban cluster munitions. I was present as a member of a delegation from the World Conference of Religions for Peace, and was one of nearly 300 accredited lobbyists in the Cluster Munition Coalition.
Those who watched the The War, a documentary about World War II by Ken Burns which aired on PBS this fall, could feel the horror of battle with a foot soldier from Mobile, Alabama; understand the pressure on a newspaper editor in Luverne, Minnesota, who worked as if victory depended on him; and feel the anxiety of a mother coping with the government’s rationing program.
From 1995-2005, 2 million child soldiers were killed and 6 million permanently disabled or injured. An estimated 300,000 children (younger than 18) are currently serving as soldiers. Some have joined voluntarily out of economic desperation or for their own safety; others have been forcibly recruited by rebel forces. Still others have been by recruited by recognized sovereign governments—and eight of the nine such governments receive military assistance from the U.S.
I love looking at old photographs; it’s the closest thing to time travel that I know. I find myself staring at century-old black and white photos taken on the streets of large cities. I look at the people. I search their faces, wondering what was going on in their minds. Often they are turning toward the camera—an item that was much less common then—with a shocked expression.