Magazine article The Christian Century

Heavy Hearts

Magazine article The Christian Century

Heavy Hearts

Article excerpt

PASTORS OFTEN experience all uncomfortable tension between trying to be both a truth-telling prophet and a caring pastor. That's the case these days as I, like most pastors, take in the news of ghastly terrorist violence in the Middle East, the ongoing violence in Iraq, and the regular reports of civilians and U.S. soldiers killed. When it comes to speaking out on such matters, the parish minister is struck by the reality that the congregation includes people with vastly different perspectives.

Sitting together in the same pew may be outspoken opponents of U.S. military action, who look to their church for theological grounding and moral support for their views, which seem to them a simple refection of the Sermon on the Mount; parents of a young soldier in Iraq for whom the war is a nightmare and every ring of the telephone an occasion for heart-stopping anguish; and a retired military officer who regards every criticism of U.S. policy as a sign of lack of support for the troops.

So I read with interest John w. de Gruchy's review of a recent book by Stanley Hauerwas about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian and onetime pacifist who was involved in a plot to kill Hitler (p. …

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