Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Fragile, Choking, Small

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Sat outside on my truck tailgate--a truck that will soon be gone, btw, as part of a sweeping plan to eliminate all possible monthly payments before the arrival of li’l H.E. in June—in the rapidly darkening Monday evening, thinking about how vulnerable we are—specifically, how vulnerable my wife is, being seven months with child and all—and, with Audra’s head on my shoulder, found myself dwelling on things that I’d usually rather not dwell on, such as having to forcibly defend Audra if there were a break-in…typical father-to-be stuff, I guess…

I don’t own a handgun or rifle—though I have nothing against those who own such lower-end guns (as much as I want to defend my family, I don’t think I need an AK-47 to do it, but that’s another post)—neither do I know enough martial arts to do myself much good, but you can bet I’ve got “strategic items” placed throughout my house…bat in the bedroom, fireplace poker in the living room, butcher knife in the kitchen…like I said…nice thoughts.

Reminded me of a Rich Mullins lyric:

We are frail, we are fearfully and wonderfully made

Forged in the fires of human passion, choking on the fumes of selfish rage

And with these our hells and our heavens so few inches apart

We must be awfully small, and not as strong as we think we are

Have been talking with a fella my age whose sponsor (it feels so odd to call a guy who’s only a year younger than you your godson!) I am in the Church about Orthodox justification for the use of force; he and I really buy into the idea that there is a justification for it. I personally think Blessed Augustine had a good deal of things—good things—to say about it. His theory of just war, which says that just war must be done:

  • under proper authority. As he put it, "The natural order, which is suited to the peace of moral things, requires that the authority and deliberation for undertaking war be under the control of a leader."
  • with proper cause, from which are excluded "[t]he desire for harming, the cruelty of revenge, the restless and implacable mind, the savageness of revolting, [and] the lust for dominating."
  • with reasonable chance of success.
  • with proportionality. In waging a war, authorities must make sure that the harm caused by their response to aggression does not exceed the harm caused by the aggression itself. Non-combatants must also be shielded from harm. They can never, for any reason whatsoever, be the targets of an attack.

More on an individual basis, though, I see my family as a holy charge given me by the Almighty, and resistance for their sake, done only as a means of defense and not (as far as I could help it—Lord, have mercy) out of vengeance, hatred or fear is justifiable and even expected.

And if, in spite of my best efforts, something tragic happens either to myself or to Audra or our child (God forbid), I—a frail, choking, small man—must hold them with open hands, knowing they were never mine to keep.

Lord, make us all wise, courageous and effective stewards…and thank You for the time and the breath that You have lent us…

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