Friday, December 17, 2004

An Open Letter to the Troops

Thanks for the Memory to Lord Spatula at The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

SlagleRock has fired up his second annual Christmas Letters to the Troops campaign over at his Blog, the Slaughterhouse. I think it's a great idea. Here's how it works:

If you're a blogger, write your letter to the troops as a post on your blog, then trackback to Slagle. If you don't have a blog, post your letter as a comment to Slagle's post. Keep it addressed generically to any serviceman. He'll print out all the letters and they will be delivered by a friend of Slagle's who is being deployed.

I am turning off comments for this post only. If you like this idea, then go to Slagle's and post a letter there. If you don't like the idea, well, I don't want to hear from you to begin with. The deadline is December 17, so get cracking. This post will stay at the top of my blog until that day. And now, without further ado, MY letter:

Dear U.S. Soldier, Sailor, Marine, or Airman,

I don't know whether I should begin by thanking you or by wishing you Happy Holidays, because you deserve both. It is the season to celebrate Christ's birth, and that is the reason for this special letter. But without the extreme efforts of men and women like you over the last 230 years, I would not be free to write this letter, and so thanks are equally in order.

I will not speak long of the deprivations you voluntarily suffer for the sake of my freedom, because you know them all too well and I have no way of understanding them. Instead, I will address my hopes, wishes, and above all, prayers for you.

I hope that you know you are not forgotten. I hope you realize that those who truly appreciate freedom hold nothing but honor for you in our hearts.

I wish you didn't have to be over there this season. I wish that everyone would pay you the honor you are due.

I pray for your safe return. I pray that you and yours would be blessed by God for your service.

Keep your heads down while over there, but hold them high when you return. And in the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and a Happy Hannukah.

God Bless,

Brian B

I've Got a Job for the Rifleman

Whatever happened to the Rifleman?
I've got a job for the rifleman.
He really knew how to settle the score,
Mercy knocks on the devils door,
when I pray for peace and I revel in war,
but I always wanted a shirt like Mark wore.

- The Rifleman, a song by The Choir

Thanks for the Memory to B.C. over at the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

The song I quoted above was one of my favorite Contemporary Christian Music songs back in my college days. It explored the dichotomy between the Biblical admonition to forgive our enemies and what the songwriter viewed as a cultural obsession with personal vengeance. At the time, I was contemplating becoming a Christian Pacifist, much in the same vein as most Quakers (my mother was first introduced to the Faith at a Friends Meeting House). eventually I resolved these issues by coming to an understanding that vengeance and justice were separate things, and that my response as a Christian towards those who persecute nme for my faith, and the response of the state towards that same individual did not have to be the same.

Now comes a story that really stretches my ability to delineate between personal vengeance and public justice:

Amber Alert issued after fetus removed from mother's body

(CNN) -- Missouri authorities issued an Amber Alert for an infant who may have survived after a woman was slain and a fetus removed from her body.

Bobbi Jo Stinnett, who was eight months' pregnant, was killed Thursday afternoon in her home in Skidmore in northwestern Missouri, the Nodaway County Sheriff's Department said.

The initial Amber Alert said that "the fetus was extracted from the victim."

A statement from the sheriff's department said the fetus was removed by the same "person or persons" who killed Stinnett.

Authorities said Stinnett was killed at around 3 p.m. (4 p.m. ET).

The alert said that the suspect "has blond hair and [is] possibly driving a red vehicle."

It advised people to look for bloody clothing or towels and said the infant could have health issues and would have a freshly cut umbilical cord if alive.

Authorities said that Stinnett was a white woman and the offspring also was believed to be a white female.

My heart is breaking. I mourn for the woman killed, and I pray, with what little hope is left, for the safety of the baby (that's right, I call it a baby, not just a Fetus). I also extend my condolences for the family of the victims.

But beyond that, I'm feeling emotions I don't like at all. As the husband of a pregnant woman, this his close to hime. This has me in a dark, deadly mood. Of course in theory I should say that I hope the person who did this is caught and brought to justice. But my gut-level reaction is to hope all sorts of cruel and violent retributions upon him, things I can't begin to fathom, let alone elucidate. I have a hard time even viewing such a villain as human, I question whether such an individual could possible have anything left for a soul except for some fetid, shrivelled offal. I desire retrubition, punishment and eternal damnation for such a wretch.

Yet I know that my Saviour teaches me that even such a soul is not beyond his power to redeem. I am just as separated from God without Christ, and this criminal is just as reconcilable to God with Christ.

But I can't help hating this person. I'm not that good a Christian yet. and the fact that this event makes me see that, just makes me resent the scum all the more.

Now I know what Paul meant when he called himself a wretch.


The baby's been found alive(Thank God for that!), and they have suspects in custody. (Thanks for the Memory to Darth Apathy)