God in a Foxhole

It’s Good Friday again and I’m totally not feeling it. Or wanting to feel it. I’ve spent years struggling with the centrality of crucifixion in my Christian faith, and I know I’ll continue to. Instead of talking about it, here’s what I’ve got today:

Yes there are atheists in foxholes
And if there’s a god
Then God is there too
Breathing and bleeding
Cowering and killing
And wishing to die
And dying alone
And crying for home
When there is no home
Because bombs broke it up
And there’s no one to go home to anyway
And sometimes not even God believes
In the mud of a foxhole
In the arms of despair
But if god is there
Then God is there 

Baby of Bethlehem

I wrote this song in 2008, but it never felt finished until I rewrote the last verse yesterday. Peace to you and yours, to neighbors and strangers, allies and enemies, to all of us everywhere.

Lyrics:

Belfast and Belgrade, Beirut and Beijing

Baghdad and Bosnia filled with broken things

Tanks plow the streets

Bombs sown like strange seeds

Give them the baby of Bethlehem

 

El Salvador, Saigon, Sudan and Syria

Sierra Leone and Somalia are weary of

Fat cats and their dogfights

Nightmares in broad daylight

Give them the baby of Bethlehem

 

No crying he makes, no death or disease

What child is this who’s broken to be our peace?

 

Littleton, Newtown, Facebook and Hollywood

Pine Ridge and Ferguson and Bedford-Stuyvesant

We’re scared and suspicious,

Anonymously vicious

Give us the baby of Bethlehem

More on War

What if politicians had to actually fight the wars they waged? And what if we honored actual heroes – both military and otherwise – instead of proclaiming anyone in a uniform, and no one out of one, a hero? Good questions from the authors of the following two pieces I came across since writing my Veteran’s Day post.

In this piece, Frederick Buechner asserts that things might be different if the actual people in power, the ones making the decisions that push young soldiers around like pawns, had to fight too.

And here, David Masciotra asks us to reserve our hero worship for actual heroes, within and outside of the military.

Veterans deserve care and respect from their nation’s citizens, and sometimes – many times in recent years, I believe this includes citizens speaking out against the endless wars that produce so many veterans – and flag-draped coffins – in the first place.

The White Cliffs of Dover

I am pro-peace, and pro-veteran.

Veteran’s Day has often felt awkward and ambiguous to me, because I don’t support so much of my nation’s military action. But this old World War II song got stuck in my head last year, and it seemed fitting to make a video for Veteran’s Day this year.

Sifting through thousands of public domain images of veterans throughout America’s warring history, I pushed the politics aside and saw the faces and bodies of humans who have put themselves on the front lines for their people. I don’t always believe in their cause, but then, I expect that they don’t always either – which makes doing their job that much more difficult.

What I do wholeheartedly believe, is that war wounds soldiers. And so, I wanted to sing to them today.