I was sitting in my first theology class at seminary when someone popped in to tell us that the World Trade Center had been attacked. We gathered in a central meeting area to watch events unfold.
For a while I was just numb and unable to process what was happening. What did this mean? Why did this happen? To this day I think we’re still trying to figure this out.
Is this the clash of civilizations? Do the terrorists fear western culture? Is this about Israel? Are the terrorists just looking for someone to hate?
Questions, Questions, Questions
At rock bottom, we have thousands of widows, widowers, and orphans.
Aggressive and militant policies have a way of spiraling out of control. Pretty soon it doesn’t matter who fired the first shot. All that matters is we keep shooting.
I don’t know what our government does overseas. I don’t know if the terrorists have any legitimate complaints. I don’t know if our policies are misguided.
I can see suffering on both sides. Will calling a truce help? Maybe not. I’m not a 100% pacifist. I don’t know if that’s even possible. But I do think if any one needs to take a hit and not punch back, it’s probably America. We can afford to let our pride suffer a little.
If we can at least offer a pause in the cycle of violence, if we can preserve the lives of fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, if we can at least try to initiate some kind of movement toward a diplomatic peace . . . then why not? Why did we rush into war? Why did so many of us support it? Why didn’t I speak out against it?
Striking back feels gratifying. We think we’ve dislodged part of the problem. But have we really? Can we ever succeed? What is success here anyway? Complete annihilation of our enemies?
My prayers are with those who have suffered so much as a result of the 9-11 attacks. I also grieve for those widows and orphans who have to hear the death of a loved one as the rationale behind excessive violence. To hear 9-11 recalled as the reason for torture, invasion of privacy, and the invations of countries is a heavy burden to bear.
Reading a list of names is not quite enough. We need to remember that each name is bound to a network of devastated loved ones. The tragedy of 9-11 touched thousands upon thousands.
I pray that we can be an instrument of God’s redemption and healing in the world.