*This week marks one year of my first book, Reborn on the Fourth of July, being available in print. This week and into next I will be posting and reflecting upon videos from the initial release.
First out of the hopper is Brian McLaren. He and I met at a house church meeting in Southern California with my friend Ryan Sharp, and before I left we chatted about my history. He gave me a small pin i cherish to this day, it is a replica of a statue on the grounds of the United nations in New York city, of a pistol whose barrel had been tied in a knot. It was poignant, since it was not zealously destroyed, but playfully made inoperable.
When the book first came out, he had this to say about it;
If we want to truly ‘support our veterans,’ we can’t put them on a pedestal where they have to pretend all is well, nor can we look at them with suspicion born of political disapproval, nor can we push them aside and consign the reality of war to secrecy. Instead, we must listen to veterans, making room for them to speak freely and let us know what war was like for them and how it has marked them. If you don’t have experience with that kind of listening, reading this book with an open heart is a great way to start. Logan Mehl-Laituri opens his heart in these pages and helps us better understand not only the veteran experience, but the American experience–and the Christian experience too.
Here is what he said in an interview set up in conjunction with its release one year ago at the Wild Goose Festival
I think Brian is spot on with wrestling with our identity. The questions of “What it means to be a ____” are very important and we shouldn’t stop asking them. As we do, we will find, with the apostles, that we mess it up; we put flag before cross or we prioritize our own wants over the needs of others. It happens, we’re human. We shouldn’t minimize our faults or hide our scars, for they make us human. For if we have weaknesses, then it means we also have strengths. Paul taught us to boast in our weaknesses, and I wonder if it was in part because it reminds us as well as others that we have also have many strengths. On the fourth of July, let’s not be afraid to if not boast, then at least confess our weaknesses as members of a complex and corruptible nation like the United States of America. If we can do that, we can certainly celebrate our strengths too.
To read more about my journey from patriot to pacifist (and back again, kinda); check our Reborn on the Fourth of July: The Challenge of Faith, Patriotism, & Conscience