"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Friday, August 24, 2007

This Too Shall Be Made Right

On the theme of present evil and God's sovereignty, I submit for you a song Derek Webb wrote titled: This Too Shall Be Made Right. There is a free live mp3 version available for download here. (If you like it, buy one or all of his albums here.) Derek Webb wrote it in response to others making the case that war in and of itself is a good thing based on:

(To everything there is a season)

A time to kill, And a time to heal;

A time to break down, And a time to build up;

A time to weep, And a time to laugh;

A time to mourn, And a time to dance;

Derek Webb juxaposes the present reality of Ecclesiates 3 with the future hope that killing, weeping and mourning are not good things and will some day be made right aluding to Rom 8:19-24 and Rev 21:4. No matter if we support a particular war as necessary, it is also terrible, heartbreaking and a thing to mourn and hate. Here are the lyrics with the Scripture below:

This Too Shall Be Made Right:

people love you the most for the things you hate
and hate you for loving the things that you cannot keep straight
people judge you on a curve
and tell you you’re getting what you deserve
this too shall be made right

children cannot learn when children cannot eat
stack them like lumber when children cannot sleep
children dream of wishing wells
whose waters quench all the fires of Hell
this too shall be made right

the earth and the sky and the sea are all holding their breath
wars and abuses have nature groaning with death
we say we’re just trying to stay alive
but it looks so much more like a way to die
this too shall be made right

there’s a time for peace and there is a time for war
there's a time to forgive and a time to settle the score
a time for babies to lose their lives
a time for hunger and genocide
this too shall be made right

I don’t know the suffering of people outside my front door
I join the oppressors of those who i choose to ignore
I’m trading comfort for human life
and that’s not just murder it’s suicide
and this too shall be made right

Romans 8:19-24
19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?

Rev 21:4
4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”


Aaron said...

You just posted this to get me going didn't you! His main point is sound. Right on this too shall be made right. But just because war sucks and is part of the curse does not mean I should not do it. Toiling to tend the earth is part of the curse too, but farmers need to do it. Gen 3:19 Derek is a smart guy and very talented. I love him. But he is so illogical on war in general. I can sum up his views here from various interviews I have read with him.
1. Despots have the right to wage war because God put them in charge. In a Republic people chose their own leaders so they do not have the right to wage war. What?!
2. Derek once said if he were to commit and act of violence to protect his family he would need to repent of it. He said the only thing we should do is put ourselves between the perpetrator and the victim. All this does of course is get two people killed. I am sure the victim can say, “Gee thanks a lot”.
Without getting into a scriptural discussion about "Just War" I will say that Derek's views on war are more hip then they are scriptural. They make him controversial and welcome in the cool coffee houses. I would prefer he just hug a cop or a soldier and say thanks for walking the beat and keeping us safe from evil. I am so glad John the Baptist did not give that Roman soldier (Luke 3:14) the same pompous speech we continually get from Derek Webb. But of course that Roman soldier worked for Caesar who had a God given right to wage war. Thank God that Rome did not stay a Republic! God love him of course. When he is complaining about things I dislike then I am all with him. Have to be honest, I am pompous too! This too shall be made right.

Jared Nelson said...

Much is true there. But sometimes our choices are between evil and greater evil. We are still responsible for our evil actions even if it was the lesser of two evils. [i.e. why I think Wesley is all wet with his perfectionism garbage.) It is a terrible state we are in when there is in fact "a time to kill." Derek Webb was asked about Bush and said "He was President at a tough time and frankly I am glad I did not have to make the decisions he had to make."

Those who put themselves in vocations where those type of decisions are made are admirable (not necessarily presidents but soldiers/police). But I think most soldiers would say war is evil. I worked with two veterans at Barnes and Noble (one from WWII and Korea, and another from Vietnam). Both said they did not regret serving, but that war is never "great."

We should watch "Band of Brothers" together sometime. It has the wonderful effect of seeing the virtue of being a soldier, not because war is great, but because war is so evil and they are so brave to face it.

Aaron said...

Right. I basically agree but I don't like the way it is framed. Should I ask someone to fight, kill and die because it is the lesser of two evils? Should I tell him he is an agent of evil, but hopefully less evil then his enemy? Chesterton said the true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him but because he loves what is behind him. Fight for the good, fight for those who can not fight to protect themselves. Fight out of love... but only when you have too. Guess it is just a matter of emphasis. But with Derek I doubt it. If it was simply a dialog of how to love our enemies it would be better. But it really is not. He goes farther then that and gets pretty snide. We could show him how we love our enemies and treat them as honorably and humanly as is safe to do so. I really believe we do.
We could swap stories of soldiers all day I guess. They are a diverse crowd with many opinions. I was mentored in my job by a Vietnam vet. Marine. Great guy. He was also an Elementary special Ed teacher at one point, but it did not pay enough to support his wife and daughter. He told me a few stories of how the war quickly sobered him, especially when he was risking his life to retrieve the dead body of a fellow marine. This was a few years ago and I asked him then what he thought we should do about Iraq. The pain seemed to fade into the back ground of his expression and he said with a smile, "Oh I'm a hawk!" Yeah, and a true soldier. I am not one quarter of the man he is.

Jared Nelson said...

I suppose the distinction must be made in:

The evil of war vs. The evil of doing war.

So it is good to look forward to a day when labor is not painful and war is no more, even if it is necessary now.

Aaron said...

Yeah that's what I was thinking too.
Other nonsense, when I thought of him saying "Oh I'm a hawk" with a grin I thought of a Churchill quote;
"I like a man who grins when he fights."

Derek would find Churchill to be quite the barbarian; Churchill would consider Derek a fool. But that is how it is done I guess. When the stand must be made you can not wring your hands over it you must be like Churchill, "We will fight them on the beaches and in the streets..." He was a man Chamberlain and perhaps even Derek could have followed.

Aaron said...

Also look forward to the rule of a just king so people will not yearn to be free, or war for the just cause of self government.

Jared Nelson said...

Self-government is a just cause for war? When? The United States is encroaching quite a bit on Texas' self-givernment, Texas encroaches on Dallas' self-government, which encroaches on DTS' self-government, and DTS encroaches on MY self-government. And God REALLY encroaches on my self-government. Self-government was a just cause in the minds of Adam and Satan to rebel... :)

Aaron said...

Bah... I don't know. Your point does not fit on a flag to wave as well as "live free or die". But... I don't know...

Reminds me of the neutral planet on Futurama. "Live free or don't." "Sir we have a beige alert." Classic episode...

What were we talking about again?

Anodos12 said...

Why so quickly come to the conclusion that Derek holds his views in order to be hip in coffee houses? Do you know why he says what he says? I can't see why we shouldn't assume Derek has thought about the issues and says what he says because he believes it. He has a record of doing that.

True, it's popular to hate this war. But the real question is whether people are right to hate this war, and for what reasons. Also, one could grin and fight with Churchill and remain unconvinced of OTHER wars. Simply saying Churchill would consider him a fool is mere rhetoric. Churchill did what was necessary in his own day. It is a matter of debate what he would do in ours.

The question being asked is whether this war is a just war. The fact that WW2 was a just war doesn't mean all wars are just wars. Unless that is what you are arguing - that we should, as Christians, give vocal support to whatever war our government happens to wage? I could see arguing that we should stay out of it, they're going to do what they're going to do and our kingdom is not of this world, but I can't see taking a "hawkish" stance in every case. What if you're a Christian in North Korea?

If you acknowledge that the question could in fact be raised as a Christian, on what basis would a war be just? Do you reject Augustine's discussion out of hand? Is it too ancient?

If we can raise the question at all, why not in this war? Pragmatically, we might have been in some danger from Iraq. We also are currently possibly in some danger from Iran, N. Korea, China, Syria, Lebanon, etc. etc. etc. In the case of N. Korea and Lebanon we do in fact KNOW, not just presume or think we know, that they have or are in the process of making WMDs. Should we immediately go to war with all these countries? Would we be just in attacking all of these sovereign nations? Is it ok for a country to wage war whenever she likes so long as it is in her best interests? Her protection, even if no threat is imminent?

How should we wage war? Is it ok to go to war and remove a country's government structure with very little plan for how to restore the country? Should we care about civilians? Should we torture people for information? Should we as Christians support a double standard, demanding Geneva convention treatment for our POWs while refusing it to those we capture?

I can't see how these questions are simply hip things to talk about in coffee shops. Perhaps you think they are all easily supported from a Christian perspective. But surely you will acknowledge that as God's people who care about justice and mercy we should be open to people who ask them.

Aaron said...

All good points and questions. My main problem with Derek as I stated in my first post is he is illogical in his approach. It is sin to use violent force to defend your family? All we can do is stand in between so we both get shot down? A Republic does not have as much right to wage war as a monarchy? Yeah, Churchill would do more then role his eyes at such nonsense. The merits of this war are different matter. But his foundation is flawed from the beginning.

Also being the cynic that I am I will always question motives, but also hopefully give the benefit of the doubt as well. I think you are right to question mine and suggest I also give him that benefit of the doubt.

Otherwise all good points. Thanks! Also I am a big Derek Webb fan. I still listen to him. Met him at a show and he was a swell guy. Fun to talk to. He has the only cool tatoo on the planet. The five solas!

Anodos12 said...

Yeah, I agree with your first two points. War is not ideal, but it is not always sin. God does it and Jesus does it. Also, I'd lie, cheat, steal, and use violence to protect my family, though I'm not sure if killing someone to protect my family is necessarily a Christian ethic. Not saying it isn't, but I'm not sure that it is. Jesus had a lot more to say about letting people walk over you then standing up for your rights; is standing up for your family the same thing? Not sure.