Wednesday, June 16

Thoughtful Thursday: Children of War

I met with some folks this week and we were talking about society a bit. Most of the people in this particular group were baby boomers / silent generation folks. They were probably children born right before WWII. I noticed a prevalent attitude (paraphrased):

The statement was made that they knew war their whole lives (WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War), and people today don't know what that was like.

I look back upon my children's lives. My youngest child was in kindergarten when 9/11 occurred. He essentially does not remember a time when the US was not at war. He is 17 now. Actually, this year, we have been at continuous war in the middle east for 10 years.

And our children don't know what it is like for a nation to be at war.

Is this true? Do we live life in such a way as to deny the reality of war to our children? The financial burden alone is astounding. The total cost of wars to the US since 2001 is about $1,464,406,000,000. That is one big number. And it is continually rising.

And our children don't know what it is like for a nation to be at war.

I have also heard it emphasized, this week, that our "spiritual but not religious" (SBNR) folks were narcissistic and shallow. (I know this is a big swing from our children to the SBNRs, but hang with me a minute!). I will go out on a limb and say that the SBNRs are primarily of the millennial generation.They are my children. (Those kids born between 1980 and early 2000s.) So, are these young people. They are called narcissistic and that is born up by some research done by the University of Michigan.

And our children don't know what it is like for a nation to be at war.

In addition to war, during the millennial's youth, the biggest economic crisis since the 1920s occurred. The. Biggest. Now we call these young people narcissistic because they don't enroll in the army, they are very concerned with wealth, have less concern for the environment, and have less concern for politics (that is what the study says). Hmm. Imagine that. They are a product of the decision makers that led us into war and into continued economic crisis and recession. And we blame them.

And our children don't know what it is like for a nation to be at war.

As far as I can tell, we have been at war forever. I am recalling the Reagan era and the beginning of the war on drugs. The language of war has been so overused and overwrought that no wonder we deny the reality that our children are products of war and economic crisis in ways no other generation has experienced. We deny the reality of war by using this term on every single thing. War on Christmas. War on traditional values. War on drugs. War on terror. War on poverty. *head*desk*

And our children don't know what it is like for a nation to be at war.

Maybe it is time that we recognize that our children have lived lives affected by war, even though the news is very good at keeping it off of the television. Maybe it is time that we recognize that our children have lived in one economic crisis after another, even though the news is very good at keeping the results of economic sequestration away from our doorsteps. Maybe it is time to recognize this generation for the gifts and talents that it can bring and to realize that we have let them down in ways beyond measure by the narcissistic economic and policy behavior of those in leadership that are solely focused on short-term solutions.

Lack of concern for others does not necessarily connote narcissism. It can connote helplessness.

Maybe it is time that we returned to the center, admitted our failures, and started again. Slow down, begin again.

Wow, it feels like a prayer of confession is appropriate here.

Good and gracious Divine Love,

You seek the lost and the lonely, the last and the least

And you provide comfort, love, strength, and mercy.

We know that you have called us to be your hands and your feet in the world, doing your work of loving one another and we confess to you that we have fallen short.

We have not put the last first. We have not lifted the least among us up. We have not searched for the lost. We have not comforted the lonely. We have forgotten to be your strong and tender hands in the world.

Forgive us, renew us, and strengthen so that we may accomplish the task of loving all.





Shalom and Amen.



A reminder about what Thoughtful Thursday is:

Theos – God, Logos – Words

So, literally, theos-logos, theology, is words about God. These are some of my favorite thoughts! I ask myself what is my relationship to the Divine? What is the Divine’s relationship to others? Other people? Other things? Other components of the world? Other components of the cosmos? How can we stretch our thoughts to be more, simply more?

What are your theos-logos? What questions would you ponder?


#thoughtful #theology #findingGod


(c) 2013, essay, prayer, and photo, Terri Stewart


  • You know what some of it might be? In previous generations, the whole nation felt the effects of war a lot more stringently than they do now. I became part of the military family halfway through the wars, and my understanding of war before and after is vastly different.

    But still–you are right. we have been at war for a long time. It’s not a true statement that we do not know what it is like.

    • I do agree that we have done a great job of containing the results of war to military families and to the geography of where the war is. Instead of being urged to practice austerity as in other times of war, we have been urged to spend, spend, spend! That will show those terrorists that they cannot win! Well, maybe something like that. I just might be a tad jaded. 🙂

  • bthomas

    The children of today are ignorant of war. They are completely and totally ignorant, except for those who fathers are in combat. Otherwise, they have no knowledge at all except for what they receive sanitized via the msm.

    Costs? They will be paid by those who blissfully live their lives ignorant of the realities of war. Only surrender would be more expensive or devastating. And worse that even the costs of war, these children will have no choice but to live with the consequences of out of control federal spending for social programs that have become the bread and circuses by which the political class clings to power.

    It is time to free the children of today and the children of tomorrow from the burden of paying for our lifestyle of tax and borrow and spend, spend, spend. If we have to do without, fine. Our children and grandchildren have no obligation to pay for our years and years of excess, living like Aesop’s grasshopper expecting the ants to pay the price of our fling.

      • bthomas

        The children of today have no concept of war. It is that plain and simple. What is more, their parents are just as ignorant. What little they know comes from watching t.v. and playing video games. They have no personal experience with body bags, prostheses, etc. As to 9/11, it is about like the death of JFK, the Vietnam “conflict,” the bombing of the Marine barracks at Beirut, etc., of immediate but not enduring relevance. Those are the hard politics of life.

        • In reality, very few of us have ever dealt with body bags.

          Perhaps I see a different p.o.v. because I work with youth affected by gang activity. They tend to experience more murder and mayhem than the average bear. Plus I am very aware of the political reality as are my children.

  • steve

    We are all children of war.
    Timothy McVeigh comes to mind. Who was his teacher?

    We pay for weapons of all kinds with our taxes. We vote for or tolerate ‘leaders’ who promote war and destabilization of other countries which, arguably, pose no serious threat to us. We send weapons to others who use them to kill. We support regimes which engage in torture. We have sent others to be tortured by those regimes.
    Our drones kill militants (patriots?) and innocents almost daily.
    Our nation maintains a nuclear arsenal large enough, some say, to destroy all life on the planet.
    May God have Mercy on McVeigh’s soul, and ours. We are no better.

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