Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
The war between the states. . .
Having been raised in the city from birth to 25, war was a way of showing respect and honour to this country. It was a way of contributing to the freedoms. . . Speaking freedoms. Religious freedoms &c. I grew accustomed to war. My late dad and his brothers were in the military. My great-uncle committed suicide due to the sights he saw of WWII. What about the Civil War?
I wondered about it. I read about it. We were taught in school about it. So I knew something about it. Did I really know about it?
Recently, I have looked back into this war, with a newness of sight of which cometh from the Lord of Light and the Father of all Mercy. I learned and saw the grim, bleak, and black side of this ignoble strife—646,392 soldiers died and well nigh a million suffered wounds and scars for the rest of their lives.
Last year marked 150 years since its beginning. What is the worth of this war? What does it mean to me? Well, it was senseless and tragic, and its meaning is simple: Death. Another dead soldier. In this case it could have been another dead relative. Also, some of my ancestors fought in it, lost their lives.
Now what? Those flags, which stand for this country, I just tolerate it. I don't pledge allegiance, save to the cross of Christ, who said: "If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight. . ." My kingdom, of which I Seek out, is not of this world. All weapons of warfare are carnal. For our True weapons are not, because we wrestle not with flesh and blood. We are to put on the entire armour of our Lord God Heavenly Father. Not bullets or gunpowder, not swords and maces.
The scenes I saw of this dreadful war, were astonishing! The aftermath was heart rending. I find new eyes to see with, which before used to see this as beautiful, now find the same or similar scenes horrible, nightmarish, devilish. Add up the death toll: 646,392 dead 1,000,000 scarred and wounded. A staggering figure is what that is! (I wish I could paste that picture here of the gravediggers at Hanover County, from the battles of Gaine's Mill and Cold Harbor, VA. That one is chilling, for the soldiers are merely skeletons of men!)
Nonresistance. Nonviolence. Non-swearing of oaths. Obedient to the laws of the land, but where those contradict those of Christ, I obey God rather than men. How can this thing of war be beautiful to anyone? I say this—Thou, O Father, keep me fastened to Thee, from this moment to the next, from this day onward. Help me never turn my eyes towards nothing but Thee and Thy Gentle Children. "Thou that rulest both wind and water, Stand by me. . ."
Blessings to ye all, Friends.
"Dear Lord and Father of mankind, Forgive our foolish ways; Reclothe us in our rightful mind, In purer lives Thy service find In deeper reverence praise. . . Drop Thy still dews of quietness, Till all our strivings cease; Take from our souls the strain and stress, And let our ordered lives confess The beauty of Thy peace." John Greenleaf Whittier: 1807—1892
I can certainly believe it. I know two Friends who have Conscientious Objector discharges from the US military. I learned last week what happened for one of them. She was told to retype a list of names (with additions and subtractions, alphabetically) of those civilians in the country where she was based to be killed rather than allow to be captured should any enemy forces invade. She told the commanding officer that she couldn't type this list, fully expecting to be court-marshalled and sent to prison. He called the office where she was regularly posted, and said "this soldier says she can't type," and, looking at her typewriter with a half-typed report still sitting in it, the person in her usual office replied "we could've told you that."
That really sounds awful! I am sorry this Friend had to undergo such a thing. I know that during WWI and WWII the CCC camps and many Conscientious Objectors among Amish, Hutterite, and Mennonite were tortured or persecuted to "make sure," that they were really C. O.'s !! After WWI, when several Hutterites were sentenced to Alcatraz Island Prison, locked, mistreated, beaten, starved, and killed ¾ of all Hutterites migrated to Canada in 1918—1919 or so. There are only the northwestern states that have them: Minnesota; Montana; North & South Dakota; Washington; and Oregon. . .
I don't know how this would have gone during the Civil War. . . Probably worse? I am guessing. I have very little information on that situation. . . Some peaceful groups were probably hounded I can only imagine though I don't know for certain.
I'm glad I never did join up for something and then try to back out of it like that. . . War really just sucks life out of people and leaves the carcases strewn about like something unwanted. Cruelty!!
"Thou shalt not kill." This war, like others, brought death! "If thy enemy hunger feed him, if he be naked clothe him, for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head." Where does that figure in? I have researched this war and found nothing but one fellow that was a murder himself that offered some sort of succor to the fallen.
I recently witnessed the fim "Lincoln", and realized beforehand the central theme was not only the Civil War and Lincoln's Presidency, but the perpetuation of human bondage in a free society, and whether the conscience of a nation could reside in collaboration with slavery and its continuation. I have always been greatly moved by the consequences of that war, and feel the death and destruction of the many lives, while a great stain on Christianity, also speaks volumes of the untimate sacrifice many paid in the service for the freedom for other men. This is what tears at our hearts and minds. Could we today, rest in idleness if the same circumstances were cast upon us, or as was suggested and hoped for by many members of Lincoln's Cabinet, to seek peace and accept the division of the counrty into a permanent North and South ? The Civil War dead will long speak to us in many ways and move us to remorse for the many live's lost, but the freedom obtained by over 4 million slaves must be the legacy revered and honored for those who fought for that freedom. Freedom is never free, it seems. You have chosen a very worthy topic for discussion, Timothy.
Thank thee, David, for sharing your thoughts. Some of the information thee passed along is deep, but potent. Probing questions. . . Freedom is never free. Not at the risk of bloodshed and the destruction of people, animals, creatures, habitats, and this orb this sphere whereon we all live called the earth. One war and 646,392 dead and nearly half a million per "side" wounded and or scarred for life. That is freedom with the surly sudden death knells attached to it. The picture I posted earlier shows some of the gruesome grotesque scene of the aftermath. . . Why would anyone wish to be actively involved in the process of taking life? It is so foreign to my thinking.
It is a sad subject. I weep over the battles I read about. I cannot read a large portion at a time. It is too overwhelming for me! I felt like posting this, since I am merely a seeker. "Seek and ye shall find," it says, so I thought I'd do just that. I really thank thee for thy insights, David.