I enjoy war movies.
Probably because I’ve never been in a war. Now, I’m no fanatic. But every once in a while, I can go for some Saving Private Ryan, or some Band of Brothers miniseries.
To me, these movies are more than the ‘splosions and guns. What makes a great war movie is the camaraderie and loyalty forged between soldiers as they battle a common enemy. That kind of friendship makes civilian friendships seem feeble and weak by comparison.
I used to think that kind of loyalty and brotherhood could be found in the church. When I was eight years old, before I knew how politically incorrect it may have sounded, my favorite church song was Onward Christian Soldiers. Here I was, shoulder to shoulder with my brothers in Christ, decked out in our armor, weapons in hand, ready to charge the battlefield. We had a visible enemy, Satan and all his minions. I had the same gusto for taking down Satan as the soldiers of Inglorious Basterds had for killing Nazis.
It’s been a long time since I compared Christianity to a great army. But it wasn’t until I saw a random tweet last week that made me realize the one thing that no military force in the world does except the Christian army…
Christian Soldiers Die from “Friendly Fire”
The term “friendly fire” is somewhat ironic, since it doesn’t much matter to the injured soldier who shot him. American, Russian, German, Iraqi bullets all feel the same.
I’ve seen so many good Christian “soldiers” shot down by their own brothers and sisters, the ones who were supposed to have their back. If the church really was an army, it would have the worst record of “friendly fire” of any military. And our spiritual flak jackets seems to not protect us from all the flak we get from other Christians.
Seriously, how many Christian soldiers are injured by church? Enough that a lot of people would rather defect than risk getting shot themselves. People know they have less chance of injury by joining the enemy ranks.
Come to think of it, maybe the analogy of “friendly fire” doesn’t even hold up in the Christian army. “Friendly fire” implies an accidental shooting. Like Dick Cheney shooting his hunting buddy in the face. That was “friendly,” of course. But the Christian army seems to be so consumed with finding the spies and saboteurs in our midst, that we direct a lot more ammo at one another than at the enemy.
It’s like we’ve been infected with the “Red Scare” all over again. Anyone could be one of Satan’s commie minions! Your spouse, your parents, anyone could be one of them!
Maybe the church isn’t an “army” anymore. Maybe that illustration is a little outdated and insensitive sounding. Maybe it just invites controversy, not to mention the whole “friendly fire” thing. What’s a more positive thing we can compare the church to?
Sounds pretty good. Even little girls like horses, which is more than can be said for war. A church is a place where champions are bred, raised and groomed to “run the race” of faith. So far, so good. The better and faster we run, the more everyone cheers for us. The fastest among us get the biggest venues to race. And because everyone likes a “sure thing,” how about a drugstore handicap of Jesus-flavored positive thinking every week?
And then, during one of the races, one of us falls and gets horribly injured…
…So we shoot him.
Oh well. I guess I’ll have to keep looking for a positive way to illustrate the church.
What do you think? Does the church have a problem with hunting our own when we have bigger foes to face? Or is the church really being brought down by saboteurs and enemies from within? What is the biggest challenge or “enemy” the church faces?