The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'I fear their faith in us has been shattered'

Last week as I prepared for my Sunday school class, I resolved to be as balanced and even-handed as possible. As the students gathered, my own children among them, we talked of the war.

I told them that there was a very bad man in a country called Iraq. I told them that he had done very bad things and that our leaders had determined that the best way to stop him was by sending in troops, one of whom is a member of their own church family. I admitted that I could not say for certain if this is true or not. But I reminded them of what Jesus said — that we are all God’s children and that we must strive ceaselessly to live in peace.

I asked the children to pray that God will look after all who are now in harm’s way. As we bowed our heads, I wondered whether alarm bells were sounding in their heads. Were they wondering if I was just leading them on? Do they question the gap between the values we teach them and the actions we ourselves take? And as they grow, what values will they come to embrace for themselves and what will they dismiss as merely fiction? For however noble our present intentions, the future belongs to them. And for now, I fear their faith in us has been shattered.


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