The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Barbara Berry-Bailey, wife of an Army National Guard serviceman, Good Shepherd, Oak Park, Ill.

Faith doesn't mean believing my husband will never be put in harm's way. We know bad things happen to God's children. We have seen throughout human history how God has taken what was meant for evil and used it for good.

The question many U.S. citizens now ask is, "Just who is the evil party?" In our human limitation, we can't see God's intentions. No one can, even and especially those who profess to be God's vehicle for vengeance. My faith clings to the belief that despite the falsehoods being portrayed as truth, the Spirit given in baptism will move within and craft vehicles of wholeness, not vengeance.

We in the United States know much more than we want about the "unknowns" of war. We know many innocent people will be killed. I believe that's why we cry out against images of war in movies and television. If we stopped to reflect, we'd discover that we can't endure. I haven't endured well. I take medication for hypertension. I pray, but I find no solace in knowing my country is about to slaughter people who don't look like the majority of people in this country.

Many ELCA members have attempted to console me by saying, "It's too late to stop now." I reply, "It's never too late not to kill people or to stop killing people." In this post-9/11 United States, people are afraid to speak out. We seem more afraid of our government than any foreign threat. It would help the world, not only me, if people would "do" things to decrease the likelihood of war: demonstrate against it, live life in a way that promotes anti-racism, and boycott companies that stand to profit from the war. The most important thing ELCA members can do is pray for peace and live in such a way that promotes the healing of the world


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