The centurion’s use of the Jewish elders and his friends to approach Jesus on his behalf makes me think about lobbying and advocacy. When, if at all, are these activities an appropriate part of Christian mission and ministry?
As the president of DIAKONIA World Federation, I had come to Fiji to make a presentation at the DIAKONIA Asia-Pacific conference. “The traditional welcome ceremony will begin soon,” our hostess said, and she ushered me into a lovely room where I quickly showered and changed into a skirt.
As a combat veteran, I find it tragic that election day always falls just before Veterans Day. Every couple years, the nation waits breathlessly to see who will sit in Washington for them. Nobody seems to have any energy left a week later to remember those who sat in foxholes for them.
On Easter Sunday, Jake Tapper interviewed Rick Warren on ABC’s This Week, asking the influential pastor a series of questions on faith and politics. Of particular interest were his comments on soldiers and war (which did not make it into the aired segment but are available here). At the end of the interview, Warren exclaimed, “God hates war, but loves every soldier.”
As a combat veteran, I was impressed by and grateful for Warren’s statement. The Bible makes clear that war is at best a necessary evil--the idea at the core of the just war tradition. And yes: God loves each and every soldier. But I want to look more closely at the latter thought, especially in light of the suicide epidemic that currently afflicts our nation’s veterans and soldiers.