The Civil War and the Kingdom of God

The Civil War, in all of its ridiculous idiocy, is a powerful example of the meaning of an individual being caught up in something bigger, more important, than individual survival or comfort or pleasure.  

The kingdom of God, and the non-violence which is essential in its expansion, does not take a central place until we as individuals commit to being caught up in something larger, more important, than individual survival or comfort or pleasure.  

Confession:  I still feel a sense of admiration for the courage and valor of Generals Stonewall Jackson and Lee and their men, and on the other side, the 20th Maine Regiment shown on Little Round Top at Gettysburg.  I am convinced my sense of admiration is my depraved, rebellious self still to be redeemed by God.

Just some reflections I had while watching Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary in History Class today.


4 thoughts on “The Civil War and the Kingdom of God

  1. Many military personnel exhibit a number of good character traits – bravery, dedication, etc. There is nothing wrong with admiring them for that, but we have to separate that from our view of what they were engaged in doing.

    I have often thought of how great it would be if we could harness the dedication and commitment to service exhibited by large numbers of soldiers to constructive pursuits.

  2. Bill,

    Your point is true enough. Courage is courage; what we employ it in doing is the thing to dispute. I’m just at the point in my journey where I’m seeking to unhook from the violent narrative as completely as possible to gain perspective in order to re-enter with integrity.

    I was just floored by the commitment of the soldiers, particularly at one point in the Battle of Fredericksburg, where a Confederate soldier journaled that they were so inspired by the courage of the Union Irish brigade charging their line that the Confederate men cheered, forgetting they were the enemy. It is so messy watching this documentary, hearing of great courage while simultaneously feeling sick from the depravity of warfare. The Union Irish brigade charged the Confederate line and were killed by Irishmen. A Confederate officer destroyed a Union warship and came aboard at Galveston, TX before they scuttled it to find his son with mortal wounds dying on the ship’s deck. Just absolutely sickening.


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