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My Favorite Soldier Turned his Back on War


After Canadian Remembrance Day on Nov 11th I remember the words of the soldier I respect the most: Christina‘s Opa. He fought for the germans as a patriot and later turned his back on violence and became a powerful advocate for peace through Mennonite Central Committee.

He always quoted Amerian General William Tecumseh Sherman when he spoke to large audiences and this quote resonates deeply with my experience as a peace builder in the Philippines…

“I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting — its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers … it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation…WAR IS HELL.”

On Remembrance day I thank many soldiers for their willingness to give themselves in service for others. I disagree with their method, but for some I trust their intention was good. My time peace building in the war zones of the Philippines has shown me that trying to build lasting peace through war is like trying to put out a fire with a gas can. The fire gets bigger and in the same way fighting armed struggle with armed struggle only makes the impact of the struggle last longer into the succeeding generations.

949491_10151578652231211_1637427816_oWhen my generation says “Lest we forget” & “Never again” we must learn to mean that we will choose exhaustion on journey of peace and understanding out enemies before we choose to fight. Reconciliation is the only way to lasting peace and transformed conflict. Sadly, in history, the path of peace has never truly been exhausted.

We will continue to work for peace. It is Gods will and the most practical course of action to ending violence.

  • Sheryl-Blessings to you. I’d just like to clarify seihtomng that I believe you are missing. The distinction that Shane Claiborne is trying to teach, is that witnessing cannot happen until we have developed a relationship to the person. This is seihtomng basic that any study in communication will also support. For example: if I were to encounter a total stranger on the street, and asked them to talk to me about their family (or any deeply personal issue), i would be met with resistance. If, however, I have shared experiences with this person beforehand, and their opinion of me was positive; I would receive little to absolutely no resistance what-so-ever. Shane is putting a total faith in the idea that by fleshing out the kind of life Jesus and His Disciples lived, people will be DRAWN to us and the message of the Gospel. This is in no way blasphemous, and is irrefutably the way in which the early Christians lived and understood the approach. I do not mean to offend, and if my words have come across as hostile I sincerely apologize.