Sunday, October 30, 2005

Analysis for week 10-31:

I cannot think of a more important issue that has been so severely ignored in the churches that I have attended, than that of a Christ-follower’s response to war. In fact, it has rarely been discussed in my classes here at Fuller Seminary. I did take an ethics class, in which the subject of war/pacifism was briefly addressed because of time constraints. However, the teacher quite responsibly offered us a bibliography for our own personal use after the class regarding pacifism/war. Therefore, the bibliography for this week comes from one that I received from Ethics in a Secular Society taught at Fuller Seminary by Elizabeth Phillips. It was actually her encouragement for us to take a closer look at these issues that sparked my interest in joining this group. But outside of her brief commentary on the subject, as mentioned before, this subject has rarely come up, with a few exceptions, in my education.

Possibly the reason for avoiding the subject is because Christians are becoming more polarized over the topic. However, in my mind, that requires all the more that we open up the tables of discussion in order to maintain a sense of unity, to challenge one another to move towards Christ, and simply to work on our listening skills.

It is for this reason that I introduce this bibliography this week. I have found all of the books to be incredibly insightful and helpful in my journey to coming towards a better understanding of the various Christian perspectives on the topic. However, if I were to suggest only two books for someone to read, they would be “The Just War: Force and Political Responsibility” by Paul Ramsey and “Nevertheless: The Varieties and Shortcomings of Religious Pacifism” by John Howard Yoder. The reason that I suggest these two is because I believe they both do an excellent job at looking at their views critically. Yoder’s book in particular offers an excellent overview on the topic of pacifism. He describes the broad spectrum that people take on the subject and still hold to pacifism. The same is true of just war. It would be irresponsible to say that all people who believe in just war believe the same things. These two books are extremely helpful in coming to step into the shoes of both sides, allowing the reader to take a critical look from the inside.
Resources for week of 10/31:

This week, I am incorporating a bibliography that I received from a course called Ethics in a Secular Society taught at Fuller Seminary by Elizabeth Phillips. In the class, we didn’t have time to go over the issues that arise when trying to take a stance on war/pacifism as a Christ-follower. At the end of the course, she gave us a bibliography for our own use later on. It was actually her suggestions that sparked my interest in joining this group. Here are some of the references that Elizabeth Phillips suggested.

1. Introductions to both Just War and Pacifism

Dale Brown. Biblical Pacifism. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Publishing House, 2003.

Lisa Sowle Cahill. Love Your Enemies: Discipleship, Pacifism and Just War Theory. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994.

Richard Miller. Interpretations of Conflict: Ethics, Pacifism, and the Just War Tradition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

Glen H. Stassen and David P. Gushee. Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003. See chapter seven, “Just War, Nonviolence and Just Peacemaking.”

2. Just War

Paul Ramsey. The Just War: Force and Political Responsibility. New York: Scribner, 1968.

Richard Regan. Just War: Principles and Cases. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1996.

John Howard Yoder. When War is Unjust: Being Honest in Just-War Thinking. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1996.

3. John Howard Yoder on Pacifism

The Politics of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994.

The Original Revolution: Essays on Christian Pacifism. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 2003.

Nevertheless: The Varieties and Shortcomings of Religious Pacifism. Scottdale, PS: Herald Press, 1992.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Resources for week of 10/17:

Nederveen Pieterse, Jan Globalization and Culture: Global Mélance Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2004. This book discusses globalization as an historical process that can be viewed from various fields and vantage points.

Isaiah 34- this is perhaps one of the bloodier and more violent descriptions of the God that we serve. There are interesting questions that rise up out of this chapter. Are these literal images? If so, what does that say about God? Are these metaphorical images? If so, why are they used? What do they stand for?

Isaiah 2:1-5; 11:1-9- these seem to be visions of a future time when peace will reign and warfare will cease. What is our responsibility as Christ-followers in light of passages such as these? Are we to enter in this coming Kingdom of peace here and now and aid in the ushering in of these visions? Or are we as Christ-followers about standing up for justice of the oppressed, even if that means taking up arms? Is there a circumstance when that is called for?

Numbers 31; Jeremiah 50- these are two instances when God commands the Israelites to enter into battle and to kill every last one of their enemies. Is God a pacifist? A proponent of just-war? Somewhere outside of those two?

Matthew 5:29; Luke 6:29- Jesus gives us a command to turn the other cheek; when someone harms you, rather than retaliating, we are to offer more of ourselves to them. Is Jesus a pacifist? A proponent of just-war? Somewhere outside the two?

Matthew 5:38-42- in a similar vein, Jesus also commands us to offer kindness to evildoers. What does this say about entering into warfare in order to usher in justice?

Matthew 26:52- in this passage, Jesus is confronted by soldiers. He seems to know that his hour has come. Instead of accepting his disciple’s help, Jesus maintains that those who “live by the sword, die by the sword.”
Analysis week of 10/17:

Nederveen Pieterse, Jan Globalization and Culture: Global Mélance Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2004. This is one of our required readings for this class, but it does have some relevant information to for our group to consider. One of the important points that this book makes for our war, militarism, and terrorism forum is that globalization is an uneven process. Even though the divide between newly industrialized nations and the super-powers is narrowing, the gap between non-industrialized nations and industrialized nations continues to grow. This raises significant questions, particularly for terrorism. What is the response of those nations who are left out of the globalization process? What are they left to do, as they attempt to fend for themselves in an ever-growing world of power, of which they have no opportunity to partake? Is this not a breeding ground for terrorism? Also, the question of hybridization and various cultural clashes that happen in that process are important for us to consider. There is always a danger of cultures clashing, in terms of religion, values, money, and power. Competition always arises in these settings. It has been shown over and over again throughout history. This is important when discussing war and militarism.

The rest of my research this week results from looking at Scripture as a resource for Christ-followers as we ask these questions about War, Militarism and Terrorism. I have only scratched the surface of the wealth of material on these subjects in the Bible, but it is just some preliminary information to act as starting blocks for a deeper conversation.
I definitely misunderstood the assingment for the recap of class-time. You can ignore the previous posting. I believe the assignment was to write a bit on what we learned from the time at the seminar on evangelization to Jewish people and how that applies to what we are discussing in class. I think what struck me as most relevant for our class were the ideas that Dr. Dauermann was presenting. He saw the gospel as good news for all the Jewish people in that God has a specific plan for those people. Instead of abandoning their beliefs and customs that are deeply rooted in who they are, those beliefs should be affirmed and reinterpreted in the light of Jesus. This does not mean that they must uproot from their own community in order to join in the body of Christ, but rather the body of Christ joins them where they already are.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I just read that we were supposed to write a little something about the discussion from Tuesday's class for lunch on Thursday. However, I was sick on Tuesday and wasn't at class, so I don't have much to contribute at this point. My questions aren't so much regarding the technical side of things as they are about the structure of the class as a whole. It might be nice to talk about that tomorrow at lunch.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Analysis for Week of 10/10:

This week, I focused my resources to information concerning the war in Iraq. It is a poignant example for our project on War, Militarism, and Terrorism because of it hits the nail on the head on each of these three topics and is also a current topic that everyone around the world can relate to. All nations were drawn into the debate as the UN gathered before the war to figure out what to do with Saddam Hussein. Therefore, the scope of the debate is far-reaching.

First, it is a current example of what War is. The War in Iraq automatically brings images into our minds of what War is. Whether it be a sky lighted by “shock and awe”, a limp Jessica Lynch being carried to a helicopter, or video clips of Iraqi prisoners being publicly abused and humiliated by U.S. troops, images immediately come to our mind. Perhaps this makes it a powerful case study alongside other Wars simply because of its proximity to our context.

Second, the Iraq War also provides superior examples of Militarism from two different angles. Whether it be in the United States with the flag being raised and proud reports concerning our troops, or Iraqi insurgents who are desperately grasping for control, the same thing is happening. There is an ideal that unites individuals beyond themselves to a larger cause. There identity is intertwined with their militant actions, making them willing to die for their cause- on both sides.

Third, Terrorism also comes into play in this war over Iraq. The insurgents have been named terrorists who sneak in roadside bombs and sniper attacks in order to remind the U.S. troops that they continue to be a force worth reckoning with. Not only that, but it continues to reinforce the stereotype in the United States that a terrorist looks like a person of Middle-Eastern descent. This raises all sorts of pertinent questions regarding foreign-policy, racism, and what we describe as the causes for terrorism and our responsibility in that, if any.

I found some excellent current resources this week on the War in Iraq. It was interesting to me that this week was also the first time that a poll was taken and the majority of those polled opposed our continued presence in Iraq. I found it difficult to find internet resources that shed a positive light on the issue. That is the reason why the White House webpage on the Iraq War is so useful right now. It provides current insight and defense from the administration for the War.

This was also the week when Iraq drew up and voted on its Constitution. There were some excellent articles, including the one on NPR’s website that described the draft of the Constitution in a way that translates some of the cultural insights that we might not understand as foreigners. Furthermore, the articles from the BBC and NY Times were also extremely insightful in considering what life truly looks like in a country that has been “Democratized” in a post-war state.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

This week, I will concentrate my resources on the War in Iraq, since it is such a current example of War, Militarism, and Terrorism in our country. These are all internet resources because of the nature of the topic.

1. This article by the BBC News website is helpful in that it gives factual information regarding what life is like in the aftermath of the Saddam Hussein regime. It is helpful because it gives us an insight into real-life for a country that has been bombarded by war.

2. This is an important article because it reminds us that the war continues on strong in Iraq and the surrounding area. It is easy for us to think that the war is over, now that Saddam Hussein is in custody and facing trial, but just today, 28 civilians were killed in bombings.

3. The new constitution for Iraq has been drafted. This is an excellent brief explanation of its different facets, especially noting that the constitution must address three main people groups within Iraq- the Kurds, the Shia and the Sunnis.

4. This audio news clip from NPR describes how the Sunni sector feels skeptical about the new constitution for Iraq. They fear they will not receive the same benefits as the other sectors of the nation will.

5. This is a speech by President Bush that outlines his plan to create Democracy and Freedom in Iraq. It discusses that plan in light of attacks that were taking place on U.S. military at the time.

6.,0,3169058.story?coll=ny-leadworldnews-headlines- This article describes one of President Bush’s more current statements on the war in Iraq. He compares Islamic-radicalism to the threat that Communism posed in history.

7. This is an excellent site for those wanting to hear from both sides on the issue of the Iraq war. It is simple and easy to read and understand, giving perspectives from both sides.

8. This is a poignant, straight-forward, and current site that records death-toll facts of the Coalition Forces.

9. This general site for the Whitehouse’s current position on the situation in Iraq is important because it keeps record of up-to-date press conferences concerning the matter.

10. This article describes the general American morale declining in support of the war in Iraq. This is the first time when the tides have shifted this dramatically on this issue in our country.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Resources: Week 10/3-10/9/05
1. This wikipedia entry gives a thorough definition of "Militarism" and considers some of the history behind it. It also provides several links to examples of this phenomenon occurring in history.
2. This is an excellent article on terrorism, specifically focusing on the School of the Americas. It questions the sources of terrorism and considers a response to it.
3. The American Friends Service Committee is a branch of the Quaker denomination, but they also include others that are not from their denomination who are committed to their mission and values. This website is important to our topic because it is a group of Christ-followers who have put thoughtful work into responding to the issues of War, Terrorism, and Militarism.
4. This article is relevant, mainly because it is such a current statement of the situation we in the United States find ourselves in with our continued relationship with Iraq. Our Vice President describes the necessity of ongoing U.S. military presence in order to prevent terrorism.
5. This website is astonishing. I was a little hesitant to put it on here because I have not checked its accuracy. However, it still provides insight into the general sentiments of a portion of our population towards the war.
6. Here we are presented with an historical overview of the just war theory. This article gives a fairly concise explanation of the idea of just war.
7. George Weigel, "Moral Clarity in a Time of War," First Things, December 2002- This is an interesting article, where the author not only defends the just war position, but also challenges the reader to consider how the theory should be put into practice in our context now.
8. This brief article summarizes the position of two different stances that Christ-followers have taken regarding war.
9. This site keeps readers posted on the current status of terrorism and states the risk level that we are undergoing at the time. It lists hundreds of up-to-date articles on the subject.
10. God's Politics by Jim Wallis- Part 3 of this book specifically deals with the topics we are discussing. He considers what it means to be a Christ-follower and how that effects our view on international relations.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

So for starters: an introduction. My name is Jessica Murie (pronounced like the dog's name on Mad About You, not "Marie" like most other girls) Perkins Marcus, but only my mom calls me Jessica. To everyone else, I am known as "Jessi", which started in kindergarten where there were three other Jessicas in my class.

I grew up quite literally in the middle of nowhere in South Western Missouri. My family co-owned an exotic animal farm and my mom was a speech pathologist. Therefore, in school, I was the girl with perfect grammar and a giraffe.

The "town" (if you can even call it that) that I grew up in had a population of less that 20 people. There was only one church, so I went to that one. It did draw upon a larger circumference of surrounding towns, so there were about 150 of us when I was younger. It was a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. We were/are a family. I had at least 3 extra sets of surrogate grandparents. We shared everything from food to gossip, from laughter to tears. We held each other's babies and buried each other's dead. I will never forget what it was like when my sister, at the time a missionary in Hungary, just home for the summer, baptized me in the local creek and the entire congregation gathered around singing Now I Belong to Jesus as I came up out of the water. What a poignant picture of the hands of God those people have portrayed to me.

I moved to Santa Barbara, CA to go to Westmont College when I was 17 years old. There I would be stretched and pushed in ways I had not expected. I spent a semester in Egypt and Israel, and another semester in Sevilla, Spain. My picture of God grew in astronomical proportions. I was surrounded by people who could not have been any different from me. My idea of what it meant to be the church in the world was ever shifting and changing. It was also during that time that I met my future husband, Todd Marcus, an incredibly attractive soccer player. It was only later that I would find out what a kind, sensitive and thoughtful person that he is.

After College, I proposed to Todd and we got married in my parent's backyard the following summer. We lived in Santa Barbara for two years, where I worked for a Construction Company and Todd was the assistant coach of the Westmont Women's soccer program. That was our true passion at the time. Those girls were an intrinsic part of our lives as we learned what it meant to minister to and be ministered by those college students. They still hold a special place in our hearts and we long to be back in that type of an environment. It was during that second year that I felt God tugging me towards Fuller Seminary. Todd was extremely supportive and we upped and moved without jobs!

That first year was a trying time, as we struggled financially and tried to find community. It has continued to be a struggle as we have felt disillusioned by our experience at two different churches in the area. Much of that is our own fault, as we considered this place a temporary move. But the entire experience has raised many new questions for us as we have tried to become a part of two different communities in our three years here. We have questions about what Church is, who we let in, who we leave out, and why.

Herein opens the discussion of our class. I am deeply interested in these questions as we dialogue with one another about the shape of the Church. I am open and ready to listen!