violence and idolatry

When I first thought about blogging, I thought that it would be a place where I could sort of think out loud (virtually), and secondarily it would be a place where congregational newsletter items would find a home. It has turned out that Facebook has fulfilled that primary function, and that’s OK. But I DO want this blog space to be a place where I can connect with people who don’t do Facebook, but also who arent’ exactly the instagram crowd, either.

With that in mind, here’s my first cross-over post. I put this on my personal FB page this morning.

A few years ago, Dubuque’s Imam (whose name I regrettably no longer recall) invited Sheikh Jawdat Said to come to town and speak. Someone at the seminary invited him further to talk to our learning community. Sheikh Said is a noted Syrian peace preacher. Most of his works are untranslated, so I’ve not read anything he’s written, but working through his interpreter that evening in Dubuque, he instructed us on the idolatry of those whose security comes in the form of violence. He said these people are worshipping the guns and missiles and bombs as gods in order to get their way instead of relying on God for their security. Very much in line with Luther’s definition of a god as that upon which you place your trust for life, security, and all the good things in life (very rough paraphrase). That came to mind as I read my morning devotional out of “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.”

From Psalm 16 (vv 1-4)

Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in you;
     I have said to the LORD, “You are my Lord,
     my good above all other.

All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land:
     upon those who are noble among the people.

But those who run after other gods
     shall have their troubles multiplied.

Their libations of blood I will not offer:
     nor take the names of their gods upon my lips.

For all those who rely upon violence for their security, for those who use weapons of violence and destruction to secure political ends, we pray.

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