Friday, March 23, 2012

23rd March 2012

Yes, I’ve had another nice day out with my son. This time we visited the museum at RAF Cosford where I caught my ‘little’ boy reading up on Spitfires. The place was certainly engaging with a variety of displays designed to applaud the bravery of the few who got to fly these amazing machines. I never served in the military but from where I stand, those who do are incredibly brave, and always an inspiration when facing personal hardship or danger. But ignoring the perils of war, just flying in any of the machines we saw today would be way past my personal spirit of adventure. And actually there were quite a few I don’t think I could even climb into, the cockpits were so small and awkward to get at. It’s a young man’s game for sure.

One display brought back some old memories. An early Mini Car sat there waiting to be peered into, and I’d forgotten how small they were. Yes it was in the early seventies, as I remember it, that I could be found driving such a machine around the mostly southern coastline of England. There were three of us who decided to explore every coastal road from Bristol, all the way around to Lowestoft in Norfolk. It was fun as we put our tent up in Butlins’ asphalt car park in Minehead… it was dark, out of season and we didn’t realise where we were! Then, possibly the UK’s steepest hill at Porlock demanded that two of us got out and pushed. I lost my beloved tennis racket as it fell off the roof rack somewhere between our Crystal Palace campsite and the Marquee Club in Wardour Street. I can’t recall whether it was Yes or King Crimson who entertained for that night but we drove a thousand miles in 10 days in the tiniest of underpowered, unheated cars! The day after we returned home it failed it’s MOT test, being totally unsafe with serious corrosion, and was immediately scrapped. Yes, I enjoyed every mile of that journey being totally unaware of any danger; so not for a single moment did it demand bravery. But there are those who walk a very different path through life.

Of course the morality and validity of a call to take up arms against one’s fellow man demands serious questions, and the national debate belongs to government. Individuals always have a personal choice. Whilst the threat against our country’s security is very real, and of course we need our armed forces, I have grave concerns about many foreign interventions. For example in recent times we’ve been involved militarily in several countries, attacking armed forces that often caused civilian casualties and property damage. So, a simple question… if, upon engagement we ‘knew’ that a like for like response would be unavoidable within the boundaries of our own nation, how readily would we rush into war then? Maybe our interventions are truly justified, but really I just don’t know any more who’s speaking truth. The always confusing web of propaganda, which accompanies every conflict, never reveals the full story and the eventual war inquiry can do little to relieve the grief of thousands. War and the destruction of so many lives is the ultimate evil. Today I stood beside a presumably empty 9 foot long cylinder. An early atomic bomb. But try as I might I just cannot conceive of any circumstances, in the world we see today, that would morally justify using such a thing. And I certainly don’t trust any politician to make the decision to push the button either. Don’t get me wrong, I fully recognise that there are times when war is unavoidable and fully justified. It’s just that one twisted election promise and one illegal phone tap too many have rather brought out the cynic in me. After following both the Iraq War and the Leveson Inquiries that’s not likely to change anytime soon either… my nice day out got rather serious. Sorry.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.’ (NLT)

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