Today is Pearl Harbor Day. I have always celebrated it as a day to remember the absurdity of war and how much humankind needs a Savior. I usually get in trouble with someone when I do that – or even say it (like I just did again). I have not so totally hidden myself in the margins that someone in the mainstream will not find an opportunity to remind me that “brave soldiers saved me so I can have my naïve faith in the land of the free.”
The first time I got into trouble for being a peacemaker was when we were teaching The Cost of Discipleship to the high school kids.(Gwen and I have never lacked for ambition). Bonhoeffer was making plain sense of the Sermon on the Mount, which clearly says “Love your enemies.” If you only love those who love you, you are not a follower of Jesus, who is God-with-us gracing the righteous and unrighteous.
As it turns out, I found out I was teaching the daughter of one of the men who had been part of “the great escape” from a Nazi prison camp in World War 2. He did not take kindly to a whippersnapper casting doubt on his heroism. His daughter went home and told him I had said, “I can’t imagine Jesus wearing army fatigues” – and she was not lying.