Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Resolution on a Peace Church

My thoughts below posted on our Church's Social Justice bulletin board after participating in our Social Justice Committee's retreat.

Every Veterans day our Church acknowledges Veterans. It's good we do. Sometimes we ask them to relate their experiences.

I've belonged to two UU Churches since the 1980s. I grew up in a Liberal Congregational Church. I've never seen any of those Churches assemble a group of Peace Activists to discuss their reactions to War and Peace. To ask why they did what the did, and ask them to reflect back now on their actions.

It's a strange omission and I think a bad one. Reflecting on your Church's past response to War and Peace would help shape your response to this resolution. In the case of my Church the debates go right back to the Civil War when the congregation pitched its abolitionist Preacher. We're not unique.

Those were my thoughts when writing this,
I think the resolution would violate our covenant's call to gather, not as agreeing in opinion, - not as having attained universal truth in belief or perfection in character, but as seekers after Truth & Goodness.

However decided: the resolution would be a clear statement of Truth & Goodness.

Sadly, I think it more a political test of membership rather than a religous test, and quite an insult to faiths such as the Witnesses who see members routinely imprisoned, all over the world and including the United States, over it.

If there is a belief on our committee that our congregation thinks little about Pacifism vs Just War Doctrine, then I think there are better routes to take.

The best book I've read of late has been Joseph Loconte's The End of Illusions. It's a collection of sermons by theologians from 1940 and 1941 in response to Hitler and War.

Loconte inclued sermons from the anti War preachers of the time. Many are long forgotten, and I think they deserve a little better. They were very popular, and especially popular in the midwest. (Sermons also take less time to read then the suggested tomes on Just War).

Rather than read them through, (and we should) I think it's better, for the purpose of involving the congregation in dialogue, to simply ask members who remember: how did this Church respond to past Wars? Invite those who remember to speak some Friday night.

Rev. Charles Lyttle was an outspoken openent to WWII? How did the congregation respond? How did the community?

Similarly, how did the Church respond to the ongoing wars since? I for one remember the anti-war marches from Chicago's Third Unitarian to Oak Park's Unity Temple. It was my first introduction to UU Churches.

We honor Vets on memorial day in the Church. We've never asked those who have been involved in anti-war movements over the years to reflect back on it, and how the Church responded. And how well those responses hold up in hindsight.

I find that a more meaningful process than asking members where they fall on a spectrum of Pacifism too Just War (and I'm not sure Just War Doctrine offers all that much in a day of asymetric warfare).

Instead of asking what we believe, lets ask what our congregation what we did, and what do those responses tell us about what we believe.

Very much along the lines of Lindsey's line of Don't tell me what you believe, tell me how you spend your money, and I'll tell you what you believe.

I think that would be worthwhile and give us some sense of our heritage to boot.

1 comment:

LaReinaCobre said...

That seems reasonable to me.