Following Jesus

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Following Jesus

Start Following Jesus

August 19, 2016 by

I first saw the image when I scrolled through the news a few mornings ago. I read the caption below the image, and immediately knew the story. But I didn’t read it, because I didn’t want to be confronted by the grief and by my own helplessness. I have children around the same age as the boy sitting in that ambulance, covered in dust and blood.

Each news site I visited had the image of Omran up, and I tried not to look. Far easier and more comfortable to check out what is happening in Rio.

But this afternoon I gave in and read the article and watched the video. Go and do it. The video is heart-breaking.

Photograph of a young boy sitting in an ambulance in Aleppo. He is covered in dust and blood.

On this site, my good friend Charles Moore has been writing a long blog series about peace, and why Christians should be pacifists. I am going to try the same thing in fewer words.

This is a message for you Christians out there who think that war is OK, or sometimes OK, or sometimes justified: go and watch the video and ask yourself, is it really? Try out your nice, logical arguments and concocted theology while watching it. Watch it a few times if you like. Are you still sure? Are you OK with such trauma and damage being caused to children? This is what you are supporting.

Jesus is the embodiment of peace. A Christian is meant to represent this to the world. So stop supporting war and violence in all its forms, and start following Jesus.

I chose to do that at the Bruderhof, where I can help ensure that every child is treated like I want my own children treated, where every older person is treated like I want my parents treated, where everyone who wants productive work can have it, and everyone who needs care gets it. I chose the Bruderhof because it allows me to live free of the materialism that drives war and conflict. To me, this is peace.

And yet this picture makes me feel broken and that my discipleship is inadequate. But we must still follow the call. How do you follow Jesus?


More about the photograph of Omran.

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  • When I first saw the injured child Omran, I remember my child. It could be my child. Yes this is horrible but the truth is there are more umran in Iraq and we just watch them. There are about 25 000 killed during the war in 5 years. They are innocent and don not know what is happening in Syria. They just die or inhured. We adults should learn to live together and live together in peace. There is no way out. Otherwise more Omrans will die in future. The children get the most punishment of the war. It is not fair. They should play geme with brothers and sisters. They should get their education. They should not die in the wars. Just because of stupid politicians. May God be and protect them . We are not there but our love are with them. Sorry Omran because we let the war happen , sorry Omran we could not protect you.

    Metin Erdem, Turkey
  • I recently simultaneously read two biographies of two men I very greatly admire: Fred Rogers and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Both had been staunch Christian pacifists. Bonhoeffer, as you know, had his theories tested. My heart is broken whenever I consider a child harmed in any way by war, and this boy's so childishly wiping his hand on that seat after he sees the blood will haunt me forever. I would gently and respectfully suggest that there is a legitimate argument that says it is because of this kind of deliberately diabolical act--that we must necessarily consider protecting children like Omran.

    Ellie Dyk
  • Thanks for all the comments. know there are strong feelings on this topic. Maybe we should all go to church, and instead of the planned sermon, ask our minister/pastor/priest if we couldn't have a discussion about war and peace instead. And not get too sucked into talking about the politics of war in the Middle East, but rather how does my life contribute to conflict or contribute to peace. Might make for an interesting Sunday. Race, thanks for your view. I don't want logical arguments or emotional responses. I want to follow Jesus, who ultimately is the answer to this world's problems.

    Bernard
  • Seems to me that you would first have to make a case for Christ enabling the merchants to be in the Temple, before you attempt to justify meddling on the other side of the planet in the name of Defense with John.

    Mark Whittington
  • "This is a message for you Christians out there who think that war is OK, or sometimes OK, or sometimes justified: go and watch the video and ask yourself, is it really? Try out your nice, logical arguments and concocted theology while watching it. Watch it a few times if you like. Are you still sure? Are you OK with such trauma and damage being caused to children? This is what you are supporting." So basically you're downplaying logical argument on a complex topic (and it IS a complex topic) in favor of emotional appeal. Nice. You might want to reflect on the reason WHY we're engaged in that region. While indeed it is unfortunate that children are being hurt like this (unintentionally I might add), we're not over there for thrills and giggles. There's this group, you see, called ISIS who kills kids like this everyday. And their mothers. And their fathers. So, ya know, maybe stop trying to use "hippie Jesus" to browbeat other Christians into pacifism. And while you're stopping that, also look up John 2:15

    Race Hochdorf
  • Bernard. I love God more that I could ever explain to you. I hate war and my heart is in pain with the picture of that poor boy. I just want to hold him tight and make things better. But I only can pray that this will stop. You will probably not agree with me and I have no desire to convince you of anything. I know your heart, I really do. But Muslims and Christians and many others are being brutally murdered with such acts as decapitation. Rest assured, they would do the same to you and all the friends you have if they could. In order to maintain a civilized world, with freedom for all and to place a stop to these atrocities, the only answer is to eliminate the evil as you would a demonic force. I wish I had another answer, I truly do. But while I certainly can't answer the question as to "what would Jesus do", I believe that he would want us to act to stop this horror. God Bless you always. Jerri.

    Jerri