We Pray for Peace as we Revel in War

Whatever happened to the rifleman?
I’ve got a job for the rifleman.
He really knew how to settle the score
When mercy knocked on the Devil’s
When I pray for peace and revel in war.

– Steve Hindalong

I thought of these lyrics this morning as I read comment after comment from people who claim to follow the Prince of Peace condemning President Trump for pulling U.S. troops out of Syria.

I could go into a multitude of political reasons the U.S. government shouldn’t keep killing people in the Middle East. I could talk about the extraordinary cost in both lives and treasure. I could explain how past interventions led to new interventions that will lead to future interventions in a perpetual cycle of violence.  I could explain the concept of blowback and how foreign intervention and occupation actually makes Americans less safe. But there are a lot of people out there who can make those arguments far better than I. For a start, I recommend this recent interviewTom Woods did with Scott Horton.

But as a Christian, I reject the U.S. warfare state – and every other warfare state, for that matter – for a more fundamental reason. I submit to a king who claims the title “Prince of Peace.” He rules over a kingdom that promises to beat swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.

How can I revel in war?

Isaiah 9 offers a glimpse at the coming kingdom and the king who will rule over it. The prophet proclaims, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

This implies a new kind of kingdom – a kingdom of light – a kingdom where “every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.” 

This kingdom of light is a kingdom of peace. Earthly kingdoms founded and maintained by force and violence spin forever in darkness. They exist in the shadow of death. Jesus came to establish something new – something contrary to the kingdoms of the

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