It is ANZAC day, Aussies and Kiwis remember the wars of the 20th century, with mingled pride and sadness. I'm not a Kiwi by birth and none of my ancestors were ANZACs, but my family is also scared by the Century of War. My father never knew his father who died as a medic in the "Great War" (earning an MC for bravery). He himself was an ambulance driver collecting the casualties (broken and torn human waste) from battlefields in North Africa and the Anzio Bridgehead. As a result of these experiences he suffered a "breakdown" whose consequences were still evident till his death.
My grandparents generation hoped that their war would be "the war to end all wars". It wasn't! My parents hoped that their experiences would make us pacifists. It hasn't - quite. I was glad when the Belgian and French paratroopers came to Kinshasa to protect us from Mobuto's rampaging presidential guard. But I hate war and violence, and was glad before the invasion of Iraq to join thousands of others (in a city of about 1 million, in a country "not involved") protesting the plans. I think NZ has it's military policy about right:
- past - a proud military history of brave and disciplined troops
- present - armed forces whose role is primarily "peacemaking" (currently NZ troops are deployed in peacekeeping and minesweeping roles in about a dozen countries)
- broad public support for such a role, making peace not war, national forces trained and disciplined who can when needed be used to protect ordinary people from armed villains and gangs of thugs!
chapter is more problematic: Deuteronomy 9 can seem a celebration of genocide. Thank God that the Bible is not "God's Word" in the sense that every word of it records God's thoughts! But rather as the record of God's interaction with humanity from which we can learn about the divine desires and plans for us.