Today I am corporately mourning the events of 9-11-01 alongside every American. The pain manifested from that horrible event can be and should be shared by everyone in this country. Today, it is more than appropriate to remember the victims, honor the fallen heroes, and support those who are still dealing with the very real pain of having a loved one taken from them. I suspect the wound of losing someone who possessed a piece of your heart never fully heals – much less after ten years. These people need our unyielding prayer and support.
But this is only a fraction of my mourning.
This is one of those bitter realities of human nature: For those of us who did not directly suffer from the events of 9-11, we choose one day of the year to corporately reflect and mourn on behalf of those who directly experienced pain. But come tomorrow morning, the hubbub of life and chaos of a new week will kick in and the emotions of the day before will largely fade into oblivion. I suspect this is normal and acceptable.
But the mourning and discontent I’m experiencing will bleed over into tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that…
The theme of my mourning is particularly evident on a day like this. At a 9-11 tribute today, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said in his speech,
“From this place of wrath and tears, America’s military ventured forth as the long arm and clenched fist of an angry nation at war…And we have remained at war ever since, visiting upon our enemies the vengeance they were due and providing for the American people the common defense they demand.”
At the same tribute, Joe Biden vowed to keep fighting, “until Al-Qaeda is not only disrupted, but completely dismantled and ultimately destroyed.”
And then the Navy chorus sang “Amazing Grace.” Because nothing wraps up a speech about wrath, anger and vengeance quite like words of Amazing Grace.
My mourning is derived from my Christian perspective, but much of it is simple common sense. Many of my atheist friends see the faulty logic as well. A war that was sparked by a terrorist attack that killed less than 3,000 has claimed more than 1 million lives.
And ten years later, we’re still spouting off about vengeance and anger.
Now, I can understand how someone who isn’t a Christian can adhere to the logic (even though it’s wrong) that you must make war to have peace. But for those who are followers of Christ, there is no excuse. Jesus emphatically preached non-violence. You can’t argue the fact. You can’t get around it. Jesus’s teachings go directly against the War on Terror. And if you are one of the many Christians out there that have mixed your nationalism with your religion and believe that the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives is somehow God ordained, you’re grotesquely perverting the Gospel of Christ.
Truth burns like a hemorrhoid sometimes.
So this is my mourning: I’m mourning the deaths caused by the 9-11 tragedy.
I’m mourning the American and Muslim deaths caused by this ridiculous war.
I’m mourning the deaths of thousands who die from starvation and disease daily that could have been saved with money that was spent for bloodshed instead.
I’m mourning our country’s financial situation that can’t afford this war.
I’m mourning Christians who feel uneasy about this violence but have been taught that asking questions and going against the grain is wrong.
I’m mourning Muslims and Christians who have been brainwashed by their pseudo-religions into thinking that this violence is the answer.
I’m mourning Atheists who have never been shown the real Jesus, only a fake one who is a warmonger.
I’m mourning for the broken heart of Christ.
I’m mourning for those who have lost someone in this violence that has been sold a false hope by our government that says healing comes through vengeance. Healing never comes through vengeance, it comes through forgiveness and reconciliation.
And those of you whom I have offended should know that I am also mourning my own hypocrisy. 3 years ago I would have been on the other side of this proverbial fence and argued that we need to bomb those godless bastards into submission. I still deal with my own violence every day. But I realize that my own warring nature is a result in a lack of trust in a God who showed the ways of peace through Jesus.
Today is a day of mourning. Tomorrow will be as well. May we all mourn until that day where we finally become intent on reconciliation and peace and not bloodshed.