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Remembrance Sunday Thoughts

medium_poppyday.jpgMy Dad saw active service in the British army in World War II (he was a lot older than my Mum, though ironically nowadays would be a fairly typical age gap from me)

My Dad's brother was a conscientious objector and spent World War II in jail somewhere round Birmingham, and was employed painting camoflage for buildings.

My Mum's Mum was a Jew, and the family fled to Scotland at the outbreak of war, fearing for their safety.

In my time, I have worked on defence contracts in the submarine industry and also on contracts concerning public safety due to military installations.  One of my brothers served briefly in the army, the other for a while worked at Bletchley Park, now one is a police officer and the other works to upgrade signalling on the railways.

This year, a young lad who lived a few steets away was killed on active service in Iraq and several young men have died on the roads around here.

All of these factors shape my views on Remembrance Sunday.  I have long since come to recognise the bravery of my Dad in going to war and of his brother in taking a costly stand against it.  I recognise the courage of my grandparents - and their fear - and know that had no action been taken I would not be here to type this.  My time spent on defence work was done in good conscience, as what that to assess public safety, and neither without careful forethought.

I have from time to time been criticised for the decisions I've taken, because 'Christians don't' (or do), usually replying that I'd defend their right to disagree with me.

War is far from good, and violence rarely justifiable, but I at least have to accept there are no simple answers.  Intuitively I believe that the pen is mightier than the sword, theologically I assert that love is stronger than death, practically I live with the tension of being part of a disordered world where both sin and finitude impact our experience.

Today I will remember - and having remembered, will live.

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