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Jesus Creed

This week we are looking at the first of three global crises we face — security — and how Jesus’ message of the kingdom addresses such a crisis. Today we look at the two chps on the military story we find ourselves in in Brian McLaren’s Everything Must Change. [Brian is lecturing around the USA now and here is a set of notes by Helen from last night’s lecture here in the Chicago area.]
Few of us, he reminds us and warns us, “live consistently and purposefully within Jesus’ framing story” (165). We find ourselves instead “within a framing story of redemptive violence.”
So, what does this redemptive story of violence cost us and what does it look like?
Here McLaren enters the world of numbers and stats and figures:
1. Since 1940, the US alone has spent $5.48 trillion developing nuclear weapons. The “strategic sufficiency” — words of Kissinger — continues in an arms race. We can now destroy ten planet earths.
2. The US spends $100 million per day “to keep its weapons poised and ready for use in a preemptive strike” (166).
3. 20% of our fiscal budget is for military.
4. Half of our US national debt is military-related ($2.9 of $5.6 trillion).
5. In 2003 the US military budget exceeded the next fifteen nations combined.
6. US spends 2 billion dollars per day on military.
Weapons are also a business; violence therefore becomes a industry. We produce lots of weapons in order to sell them to countries, most of whom are not democratic. “The purpose of the US security system is to maintain the inequity of US prosperity” (168).
If we invested 10% of the military budget in foreign aid and development, we alone could cover the basic needs of the world’s poor. He enters then into the Shock and Awe program and sees us therefore in a war not on terror but in a war of terror.
In the 20th Century … 43 million military personnel were killed in war; 62 million civilians.
How should we then live? Has the development of weapons escalated or toned down war? How should Christians participate in the military machine?

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