The situation with Syria is truly depressing, not just for the obvious reasons of more violence and misery and the likelihood of American complicity in at least some of it if we get involved, but also because it reminds me of all the things that are broken in the world.
We need a news media that accurately educates us on the fact of the matter, so we can have an informed opinion. We need a culture whose first response to moral outrage isn’t to reach for a gun (or a drone, or a smart bomb, or whatever). And perhaps most importantly, speaking as a Christian, we need a church less obsessed with political slight and culture wars and more devoted to developing the ethic of neighbor-love and enemy-love that was at the center of what Jesus actually taught. And we need a culture of vulnerability and self-sacrifice rather than of protection and strength.
Maybe the appropriate reaction would still be to get involved militarily. I don’t know enough of the situation to actually make that decision – maybe love of the people on the ground in Syria means going in and uprooting Assad, or maybe it doesn’t. But because we have such a poor understanding of these issues, both within the church and the culture generally, it seems we slip into war after war entirely too easily, and we do it in a rather uncritical way.
I’m part of the problem. I don’t talk about this issue nearly enough. I don’t think or read about it enough, either. And it’s depressing that I’m not better ready to think about situations like this and act so far as I can. I’d promise to do better in the future, but I know myself well enough to know I’ll probably slide right back into that minutia and false controversy that’s so much more comfortable in situations like this.