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Sunday, March 19, 2006
Tough Questions on a Sunday morning
So today I got up at 7:00 am to answer a few questions from Sally about Christian Peacemaker Teams. I was actually less nervous about the interview than I had been about previous interviews. After all, it was radio, not television and I should be fine. But as I should have learned by now, radio interviewers have to make up for the limitations of their medium by actually asking real, challenging questions. And while I was ready to explain about Christian Peacemaker Teams and tell a bit about our work in Iraq, I was not ready for Ronnie, a smooth talking Catholic PR man. Very nice chap, and quite affirming of CPT's general aims. However, Ronnie is concerned that CPT is portraying Christians as pacifists and he felt it important to point out that many Christians actually believe in just war. I must say I wasn't prepared for the giving Christians a bad name by claiming we were only peace folks and had nothing when asked what pacifists have to say about Nazi germany. My only excuse if 7 am on a Sunday morning. I mean, really...

So I spent the whole trip home in the taxi thinking up what I should have said, and since its still too early in the morning to do much else, I'm going to inflict those answers on you. Maybe you'll find them handy someday:

1. First of all, given what the two of the most powerful Christians in the world are up to these days, is there really any danger of CPT or any other pacifists "misleading" the world into believing that Christians have to be pacifists? Don't worry, Ronnie, you're not alone.

2. We too want to get beyond the image of Christians as passivists. We want to remind people that Jesus called us to be active and engaged with the world and working for justice, peace and love and all that improbable stuff. Christians are not called to be passivists.

3. In 1930's Europe, part of the problem, the treaty of Versailles aside, was that people were stuck in this dualism of war or appeasement. The whole point of CPT is that we're about active resistance. What would have happened if the Christian church in Germany had joined Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the confessing church and actively resisted the rise of the nazis. Stood by the Jews on Kristallnacht and made sure their story was heard by the world? CPT is about exploring these "What ifs".

Anyway, that's enough of a rant for now. Keep on praying for Norman, Jim and Harmeet. And in memory of Tom, let's keep on imagining a different world, no matter how much people think we're naive do-gooders.

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