Author Topic: September 11 - redux  (Read 7587 times)

exegete77

  • ALPB Forum Regular
  • ***
  • Posts: 209
    • View Profile
    • Believe, teach, and confess
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #60 on: September 09, 2016, 03:06:49 PM »
Open laptop; shut laptop - several times, yet still feel compelled to write.  I simply loathe making 9/11 into a political football.

Can we just, once, not politicize a tragic event in the history of our country.  Yes, perhaps this country has things to confess and yet that sounds a bit sanctimonious.  What is "this country?"  It's the people.  We all have sin to confess.  As does every person of every country in the world.  What was done on that day needs to be confessed before God. We cannot take the blame for demented men who would hijack a plane and fly into a building. 

It is healthy to look at what we've done around the world where consequences were not what we'd hoped for - as can be seen on another thread concerning Putin/Russia/the former Soviet states. That we also do much good is probably for another thread.   But on this day - this time of year - when we are carried back to the day of these tragic attacks can we simply remember those who went to work, or to school, or rushed in to save others only to lose their life and leave it there, saving the politicization of 9/11 for another time and place. 

My job in the days and months following was to tell stories.  I met with members of our synod who suffered loss and told their stories in synod publications.  One of those stories was about Erika and her infant daughter and toddler son.  Erika called me six months after the date at 6 a.m. and said, "They found a piece of Michael's bone, we're going to have a funeral."  Another story was of Dan Nigro, elevated to Chief of Department on the spot when Chief Peter Ganci was killed.  Dan, a member of one of our MNYS congregations, had at least one funeral to attend every day between December and April.   He was at these funerals in an official role and often spoke.  I'm sure there are pastors on this Forum who have presided over 300 funerals in their ministry - but think about doing that every day for five months.  There were still funerals after April, simply not every day.

Can one imagine what it was like to work in a trading room on 9/11?  I was buying cash and my turret went down when immediately there came the clanging of a news story - plane flew into World Trade Center.  Each year after that day, traders observed the moments of silence.  Can one imagine what it is like in a trading room where shouting is normal to have complete silence - no phones - people crying over lost colleagues? 

Can you imagine what it is like to be a chaplain who gave care and counsel to firefighters and police? Can one imagine a chaplain called up to duty once we went to war and cared for soldiers returning?  One of our MNYS pastors was called up and did just that, being with returning soldiers,men and women trying to find their way back into their families, the jobs. 

Today will be spent with a friend whose so died.  They never found him.  It took months before she would even consider a memorial.  It doesn't get easier for her. 

I probably could go on, but won't.  Except to say, please - let us have a time to remember.  As I'm writing this, I just received an email from a former colleague.  All she wrote was, "Ei, always think of you...why doesn't it get any easier."

 
Eileen, I seldom comment on here. But your post is one of the best ever. Thank you for this perspective, for all who have worked unseen and unnoticed in the trenches. Blessings to you, Dave Benke, Steve Unger, and many others who were there, cared, and still live with it.
Rich Shields (TAALC)

Blessed to be a blessing; forgiven to be forgiving
believe, teach, and confess

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7124
    • View Profile
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #61 on: September 09, 2016, 03:09:51 PM »
Open laptop; shut laptop - several times, yet still feel compelled to write.  I simply loathe making 9/11 into a political football.

In all honesty, Eileen, that is sort of how I felt when I read Ch. Gard's post.  9/11 was politicized in this country the moment the first twin tower fell and those politics were used to perpetuate the same kind of evil that was wrought upon us.  Certainly it is appropriate for us to remember the tragedy and to hold those who were most affected in our prayers.  But, we also use such remembrances as opportunities to forget that we also are sinners and fool ourselves into thinking that, when we cause tragedy, we somehow are doing good. 

I understand and appreciate that we we have honored the fallen in the responses to 9/11 that you and Dr. Benke described.  However, our response to 9/11 was not limited to those kinds of activities.  And, I can't forget that politics was use to generate a greater response that failed to honor the fallen because it only perpetuated more tragedy.

Are those who died on 911 in Purgatory?  Do they need us to make Atonement for them so that their time there will be shorter?

That's what I hear (15 years later) when we talk about confessing "our" sins.  It sounds more like you are inviting us to confess the sins of those murdered that day.  This seems to suggest that the Law still accuses them, even after death and that we need to repent and do penance for them.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 03:21:42 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

MaddogLutheran

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 3639
  • It's my fantasy football avatar...
    • View Profile
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #62 on: September 09, 2016, 03:12:19 PM »
I find this all very ironic in a bizarro world kind of way, because the usual suspects, such as you and John, totally deny that amendment of life, in the case of someone who has engaged in homosexual acts, includes forgoing such acts in the future.


We might consider that if, in the case of someone who has married a divorced person, you insist that they cannot have sexual relationships because that would be committing adultery.
Show me where I have.  That is something YOU, in the wooden literalism that you actually don't believe, are trying to assign to others.  It has been pointed out to you that this is not the totality of the Biblical take on this issue.


And Leviticus and Romans are not the totality of the biblical take on homosexual relationships.



To stir us back to this topic, "an eye for an eye" and "turn the other cheek" are not the only two biblical responses to terrorism.
I have not suggested any of those.  Once again you are imputing things onto others that they have not said.  In fact, I have not said anything about what a proper biblical response to terrorism might be, other than to disagree with Mr. Mundinger's generic repentance call for all of the sins he perceives America has committed.

Personally I don't see why, being attacked in violation of the laws of war, resulting in the killing of innocent people, requires America to do anything like repent.  Since we believe, for example, that nothing a women does can possibly justify her being sexually assaulted by a man (dressing provocatively, going to a bad place, drinking too much, etc), I don't see how America being attacked on September 11 is "our fault".  Contra Jeremiah Wright's "the chickens have come home to roost".

It was a complex sequence of events, with the key pivot points being the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA's covert support of the mujahadeen, and then Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.   The latter motivating Osama bin Laden to create Al Qaeda because of his hatred for the infidels in Saudi Arabia in its aftermath.

The people who died on 9/11 didn't "deserve" it.  Not at the hands of those who committed the atrocity.  It's never unreasonable for a free people to try and protect the innocent. Sometimes we fail and hurt other innocents in the process.  That's a time when we should be seeking forgiveness.

Sterling Spatz
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 03:15:29 PM by MaddogLutheran »
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

JEdwards

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 744
    • View Profile
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #63 on: September 09, 2016, 03:24:59 PM »
Perhaps our remembrance of 9/11 should be as much about confession of our nation's sins as it is a memorial to those Americans who lost their lives on that day.  In response to that tragedy, many more innocents died as a consequence of military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Those lives were no less valuable than the Americans who died in the attacks on our soil.  The grief experienced by the survivors who lost family is no less than that experienced by 9/11 family members.

C.S. Lewis' essay "The Dangers of National Repentance" is as timely as ever:

https://thomasachord.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/dangers-of-national-repentance-lewis/

When I was confirmed on November 3, 1985, according to the rite in the LBW, I promised "to live among God's faithful people; to hear His Word and share in His Supper; to proclaim the good news of God in Christ in word and deed; to serve all people, following the example of our Lord Jesus; and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth."  I think it is fair to say that none of us has given his utmost, always and everywhere, to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.  It is fair to suggest that this is a legitimate area for examination of conscience.  But to be more prescriptive than that, especially if the generic "we" who should be repenting includes people you don't even know, risks dressing up a political diatribe as a pious exhortation to confession.

Peace,
Jon

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12446
    • View Profile
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #64 on: September 09, 2016, 03:35:41 PM »
"Such an escape from personal repentance into that tempting region
Where passions have the privilege to work
And never hear the sound of their own names (Wordsworth, The Prelude)"

Exactly what we see hereon. Thanks.
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

JEdwards

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 744
    • View Profile
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #65 on: September 09, 2016, 03:50:14 PM »
And Leviticus and Romans are not the totality of the biblical take on homosexual relationships.

True.  There is also 1 Timothy 1:10 to consider.

Peace,
Jon

Daniel L. Gard

  • Guest
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #66 on: September 09, 2016, 04:22:33 PM »
Open laptop; shut laptop - several times, yet still feel compelled to write.  I simply loathe making 9/11 into a political football.

In all honesty, Eileen, that is sort of how I felt when I read Ch. Gard's post.  9/11 was politicized in this country the moment the first twin tower fell and those politics were used to perpetuate the same kind of evil that was wrought upon us.  Certainly it is appropriate for us to remember the tragedy and to hold those who were most affected in our prayers.  But, we also use such remembrances as opportunities to forget that we also are sinners and fool ourselves into thinking that, when we cause tragedy, we somehow are doing good. 

I understand and appreciate that we we have honored the fallen in the responses to 9/11 that you and Dr. Benke described.  However, our response to 9/11 was not limited to those kinds of activities.  And, I can't forget that politics was use to generate a greater response that failed to honor the fallen because it only perpetuated more tragedy.

Please allow me to re-post my earlier post (on a different thread).  How you took my words as political is beyond my comprehension. I am dismayed that you have chosen to take a thread that simply allowed people to tell their stories and make it into what this new thread has become.

I choose not to engage you in your political diatribe about the kingdom of the left and decry as sin the decisions reached by the elected leaders of the United States after 9/11. This is your political issue, not mine.



I am in a reflective mood. This is rare, but it does happen.

In three days - on September 11, 2016 - I will pause to remember what happened 15 years ago. My world was changed that day as I received orders to report to the Pentagon as part of the rescue and recovery operation. I will remember. I will pray. I will be thankful for Jesus' presence in all the polarities of time...and for eternity where there is no more hate and war..

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. (Eccl 3:1-8 KJV)

gan ainm

  • Guest
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #67 on: September 09, 2016, 04:23:41 PM »
And Leviticus and Romans are not the totality of the biblical take on homosexual relationships.

True.  There is also 1 Timothy 1:10 to consider.

Peace,
Jon

And 2 Timothy 4:3

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 5016
    • View Profile
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #68 on: September 09, 2016, 04:55:57 PM »
While it is impossible to separate national events from political overtones, 9/11 represented an unparalleled attack on the US, and at that, innocent victims in the sense that they were not engaged in any aggressive actions against those who sought their death.  The victims at the Towers were non-combatants, thus quite separate from any military engagement before or after.

Unprecedented how?  Only because it was a tragedy experienced by Americans on American soil.  On a global scale, it was hardly on unprecedented.  We are more used to inflicting that kind of tragedy on others than being the victim.

Is there ever warfare without "collateral damage"?  Surely it is awful and regrettable.  While we can mourn for those who die in war zones through no fault of their own, can we ever engage in military strikes without the possibility that non-combatants will be injured or killed?  I suspect that at the root of it all, it is war itself that you object to.  And if that is so, then you seem also to hold any citizen of the nation that engages in war responsible for any atrocity committed in that war.  That is an incredibly broad brush with which to paint.  As a parallel, Paul was an admitted citizen of Rome.  He even appealed to Caesar based on that status.  Did he take personal responsibility for many of Rome's atrocities, especially against the Christian church itself?

There is never warfare without "collateral damage".  However, that is no reason to rationalize it just because the blood is on our hands.

In my opinion, the real problem is that we are too prone to engage in military conflict without legitimate reason or purpose.  We have done that at least twice in my lifetime.  Many of us supported the decision to engage those wars.  The church was vociferous in its silence.  All of us paid taxes that funded the effort.

I really didn't want to engage in a political debate on the merits or demerits of warfare.  I don't believe my intent was to "rationalize" the unintended death of non-combatants in war.  I simply do not know of war without it.  My point from the beginning was simply to allow a day of remembrance for those who are mourning the terrible events of that day that affected so many.  There are other opportunities to mourn the loss of life around the world.  You may think that it is unnecessary or that it is overly politicized.  Perhaps I'm too simple-minded, but it is enough for me for that day to remember the tragedy and how it impacted the people who suffered and the changes it brought about for all of us this country. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 15106
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #69 on: September 09, 2016, 05:29:19 PM »
If "each man's death diminishes me," then each man's action involves me, especially in a nation with our form of government.
So I do not see the big to-do over calling for a repentance and recognizing that I had a hand in the actions of my government.
I actually supported the first Iraq war. But... I still believe that if everything "they," that, is our president, our generals, our intelligence people, our politicians, said about the post-9/11 situation was true, we should have gone to war. Now we know that virtually nothing they said at that time was true... and so.
When the planes hit the towers, my newspaper sent me to New York City, but I didn't make it across the George Washington Bridge before it was closed; so I spent the day on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, watching, talking to people, phoning in details. I barely remember the next two weeks, and have to look at the stories The Record carried to jog my memory as we worked 15-hour days, sometimes longer. One night I slept in the newsroom. And yes, we occasionally prayed in that newsroom, as people heard of friends and neighbors lost.
This year, my parish will remember in prayer all who have died or had their lives violently changed since those days; and that will include prayers for those some deem our "enemies."
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis.

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12446
    • View Profile
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #70 on: September 09, 2016, 05:36:33 PM »
There is never warfare without "collateral damage".  However, that is no reason to rationalize it just because the blood is on our hands.

Just checked. Nope. No blood on my hands.

I've mentioned now and then about my father being in the Battle of Okinawa. He was in the 77th Division. As they battled toward Shuri Castle they fought next to a Marine division. As my Dad's unit came into a village they found US Marines throwing native babies up in the air and catching them on their bayonets. They stopped them and said, "One more baby and you're a dead Marine."

Now, do we all share collective guilt for what those Marines did? Does my father not share that guilt because he helped stop the atrocity? Or is he guilty too because he is an American?
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 44912
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #71 on: September 09, 2016, 07:49:41 PM »
There is never warfare without "collateral damage".  However, that is no reason to rationalize it just because the blood is on our hands.

Just checked. Nope. No blood on my hands.

I've mentioned now and then about my father being in the Battle of Okinawa. He was in the 77th Division. As they battled toward Shuri Castle they fought next to a Marine division. As my Dad's unit came into a village they found US Marines throwing native babies up in the air and catching them on their bayonets. They stopped them and said, "One more baby and you're a dead Marine."

Now, do we all share collective guilt for what those Marines did? Does my father not share that guilt because he helped stop the atrocity? Or is he guilty too because he is an American?


Yes, we share the guilt in atrocities committed by Americans; and we share the righteousness when Americans stop atrocities. One lady told me that she would never by a Japanese made care because they killed her first husband. Were our soldiers at war with the individuals who were fighting against us or was it a war between America and Japan? There is a collective identity - and historically, that is how people were defined - by the group (primarily a nation) they are identified with.
"The church Ö had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

DCharlton

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7124
    • View Profile
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #72 on: September 09, 2016, 08:37:26 PM »
I have a nephew who has an American mother and a Japanese (Okinawan) father.  Whose guilt does he bear? Is his guilt doubled because he has American and Japanese parents?  Or does he split the guilt 50/50? 

I'm pretty sure that in the ELCA and other mainline denominations he would not be asked to repent for his Japanese ancestry, but it is quite possible that he would be asked to repent for his American ancestry (and his Y chromosome). 
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 08:40:44 PM by DCharlton »
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12446
    • View Profile
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #73 on: September 09, 2016, 10:04:21 PM »
Yes, we share the guilt in atrocities committed by Americans; and we share the righteousness when Americans stop atrocities.

On what basis do you come to that conclusion, BPS? So, in the incident stated, is my Dad still guilty of the atrocity because he's an American? Or is he absolved because he released the safety on his rifle and gave those Marines an ultimatum?

On what basis am I guilty?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 10:14:27 PM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 15106
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: September 11 - redux
« Reply #74 on: September 09, 2016, 10:11:16 PM »
Because, DK, "they" are "us." We share in the bane and blessing of those who represent us, whether by election or appointment and whether they carry a cell phone or a K-bar. We carry with us all that came with liberating Europe, all that came with the destruction of Dresden and Hiroshima.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis.