2,436 Hours to Good Use

February 6, 2008

I’ve been trying to be quieter in the mornings.  Not in a polite “unselfish” way – to keep from waking my family or something- but in a soul kind of way.  And while I’m sure I will blog about my journey of “silence” in the near future, this post is about a piece of mail I found on my kitchen table during said “silence”.


It was an army recruitment mailer addressed to my little brother (still in highschool).  I sat at the table with my coffee and stared at the advertisement, trying to understand my anger and pain over this simple piece of mail.  If you are not saddened/frustrated by this picture, please look again…really look.  Those are four men standing in the cross-hairs, four people, four lives God created, and our government is telling my brother to put his Xbox skills to good use and kill them.  What dark side of humanity is this appealing to?  The ad shamelessly makes killing look fun…better than a video game if you ask them.  Let me ask this, how horrified would we be if we found an Ad in the Middle East with Americans in the cross hairs?  Telling Arabs to put their skills to “Good Use” and kill Americans.


            My girlfriend called me a hippie the other day, and I’m mostly okay with that.  About a year ago I found an old book in the Quad C library called “The Kingdom of God is within you” by Leo Tolstoy; not knowing what it was I started reading and since then I have been on a continuing journey to discover what Jesus really meant when he told us to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, repay evil with good.  I think Jesus was serious about those things, and I want to be too.  I cannot help but think that God loves the men in the cross hairs as much as the Americans behind the gun. I cannot help but think that God isn’t very interested in the Kingdom of America and is a bit more interested in His own kingdom. Which makes me wonder…is the Kingdom of America worth killing for? Is it worth dying for?

            I know where I stand on the issue. But I also know war and violence are complex international issues and the answer is more complicated than just, “lets be nice and not shoot eachother”.  But, maybe, being nice and not shooting eachother wouldn’t be a bad place to start.


3 Responses to “2,436 Hours to Good Use”

  1. Courtney Says:

    I feel a bit shocked over that mailer. I think it is absolutely an irresponsible way to recruit young men into a life of real war. It is appealing to a part of our population that is usually immature and overly in touch with their violent side (no offense to the gamers out there, but if you have spent 2,436 hours in front of the tv playing ANY video games, you really need to go outside and get some fresh air)
    All of the stuff that has happened in Iraq has really messed with the way that I think about what our country chooses to do with our military. And since I have a close family member who just returned from Iraq last week, I know that a lot of people IN the military are pretty messed up about it, too. I saw him go in extremely excited, patriotic, full of zeal and energy, and he has come out on the other side several years later (after two terms of a year each in Iraq) disillusioned, disheartened, and cynical.

    This was a great post Mike. I agree…God is not so interested in the Kingdom of America. Great thought.

  2. I didn’t know anyone else had read “the kingdom of god is within you”!? It challenged me at so many levels. I just finished reading it through for the second time, because I felt I was only brushing the surface the first time through.

    I really wrestle with Jesus’ call to non violence. It seems pretty clear… But so different than what I was raised believing.


  3. Joel Says:

    If the invasion of Iraq has changed the way Americans understand the military and war, then maybe it hasn’t been a complete waste after all–not that that makes it a good thing. But somehow despite the evil God can mean it for good.

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