Growing up, there was a season when I often woke up to hearing screams in the middle of the night from my father.

He served in WWII, Korean Conflict (War), and Vietnam. He was a Master Seargeant, a tank commander, and a part of the 82 Airborne. He saw a lot during his 22 years in the Army, and what he saw scarred him for life.

After one of the nightmare nights, I asked him if there were particular memories that haunted him.

He told me of a time when his troops were doing a “clean sweep” of a seemingly deserted city in Vietnam. Out of the rubble, a little boy approached them.

Probably no more than 7, other soldiers began asking to spare the little boy. Yet my dad’s commanding officer had given strict orders, “no one left alive.” So my dad killed that little boy.

Others were aghast. But when they went to retrieve the body, they found multiple grenades in his possession.

Killing justified killing.

War is horrific. Truly the worst way that humanity can exist together on a planet.

War is driven by power, greed, fear, anger . . . pretty much anything but humility, mercy, and love.

Depending on your source, you can find lots of different perspectives on why the war is occurring right now in what we know to be “the Holy Land.” One thing we can know for certain . . . this war has roots millennia old. And, some of those roots are tied to humanity’s understanding of God.

Last night I saw a news story about the beheading of babies.


Who can do that?

Not that I am skilled, versed, etc. in killing, but it seems to me that it would be one thing to pull a trigger. That can be done from various distances. But to behead someone . . . you have to be right there . . . that is ghastly.

Who would kill babies?

And it made me think of my dad . . . and that story of his killing a 7 year old little boy in Vietnam.

My father was not a killer, yet he killed.

It’s some messed up stuff.

The question is, “What makes that messed up stuff end?”

Unfortunately, the answer probably won’t be found in our lifetime because it would involve people not needing to have all those things mentioned above.

Power. Control. More. Ego.

Last night, after I heard the story about the beheading of babies, and I was pondering “who would kill innocent children” I remembered this passage –

Exodus 11:

4 Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: At midnight I’ll go throughout Egypt. 5 Every oldest child in the land of Egypt will die, from the oldest child of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the oldest child of the servant woman by the millstones, and all the first offspring of the animals.”

If you read this literally, God sounds like a killer.

Because a group of people (his people) were being persecuted, “he” was going to wipe out all the firstborn.

Does that understanding of God reconcile with one’s understanding of God as revealed through Jesus?

We will talk about this on Sunday as we conclude, “Deconstructing Religion” at West.

This concludes this meditation series. I sincerely thank you for reading these. It’s my hope we all live a little kinder, gentler, and more loving because of something you’ve read.

Grace and Peace,


If you missed Sunday’s message or would like to share it with a friend, please click here to watch.