Since our last blog entries, we have visited at least eight different sites directly linked to either of the two world wars. Suffice it to say that war is on the mind.
This topic is not an easy one for me. I often come away from these visits feeling horrified. I find myself desiring to say that war is never the answer, that there must be some other solution.
As I left the memorial site that was once the Dachau Concentration Camp, I came across one last information board with something that perplexed me even further. On it was a photograph taken around the time of the liberation of the camp by American troops. The prisoners, gaunt and bedraggled as they were, had gigantic smiles on their faces as they waved to welcome the soldiers. What if those soldiers had not come? Would someone have been able to come up with an alternative solution? One that did not extinguish millions of lives in order to save millions more? This photo made me wonder if there might not be cases where war is necessary. I still have a hard time thinking that this might be the case though. Regardless, the need for creative responses to group conflict is critical.
I also find myself wondering at what my own personal response should be as a Christian. Throughout history, Christian responses to war have run the gamut from pacifism to war enthusiasm. Is one response more appropriate than another? Should I choose a position and stick to it unswervingly or determine as best I can what the best response would be dependent upon the situation?
I don’t have answers for these questions right now, but I recognize them as good questions to be asking. I’m grateful to be seeing the kinds of sites that bring them up.