History fans might enjoy many aspects of David Abulafia”s 2011 book, “The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean”‘.
In detail, the author (a professor of history at Cambridge in Great Britain), relates the political, commercial and religious interactions of the many peoples living around that body of water over the past 3 thousand years.
Power struggles, technology changes, migrations and religious tensions, these have been challenges for every generation, not just ours.
Seen from this long view, one feels the futility of all battles that cause so much death and injustice, for temporary wins of ideology or political power.
Instead of asking if we have the will to survive, to “defend our values at any cost”, why not ask if we have it in our national character to take a leap of faith into following another path, a path that looks forward, beyond violence?
In our American experiment with governing for, by and of the “people”, we claim that governments have been instituted among men to secure our inalienable rights, but in truth, no government before ours did this. We were the first. We must revive our thirst for establishing justice, for defining more appropriately for our times what domestic tranquility and the general welfare consist of.
Can we, like the founders, mutually pledge our fortunes on making a more perfect union, one that strives to support each other?
As a Christian, I have no call to support “nationalism”. I have no call to support any particular economic system.
I do have a call to make a leap of faith into loving both the neighbor and the enemy, no matter what political or financial system i live under.
Although we now call his followers Christians, Jesus’s message and ministry were focused on reminding his own Jewish community that in their zeal for law and order, they had misunderstood God’s desire for justice and mercy. The community was lost on a downward path of an ever-tightening noose of solving violence with more violence.
Don’t we find ourselves here, now? Maybe our hope lies in making the leap of faith into his path of good news, of countering past understandings of laws with his statements of “but I say,” that value mercy, forgiveness, peacemaking as the goals, more than vengeance and punishment.
How would a leap of faith into an attitude of not being afraid, of not letting fear guide our daily behaviors or our political direction?
How would a leap of faith into taking seriously his call to not store up treasure for our selves here on earth, added to the call to care for the least of these, translate into making our government, of, for and by the people, create a management style that values restorative justice, learning opportunities and support, and healthcare availability through our national community via government?