Killing Is Your Life Work
by Laurence M. Vance
I don’t know who first said it, but the aphorism “Join the Army, travel the world, meet interesting people, and kill them” has been around as long as I can remember.
The primary job of the soldier is to kill people and destroy property, not to clean and paint equipment, refurbish aircraft, march in formation, attend technical schools, play war games, take rank tests, go on maneuvers, practice on the firing range, restore basic services, rebuild infrastructure, spread goodwill, promote good governance, or provide disaster relief.
At issue is not the question as to whether the U.S. military should be defending the country, but whether the U.S. military should be killing people and destroying property overseas. This is the question now, in regard to Iraq and Afghanistan, and it was also the question before, during, and after World War I.
Long before the “What Would Jesus Do?” (WWJD) fad, Congregational minister Charles Sheldon (1857-1946), in 1896, wrote In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do? Based on a series of sermons, In His Steps, which became one of the best-selling books of all time, is the story of a minister who challenged his church members to not do anything without first asking “What Would Jesus Do?”
Although most Christians in America have probably heard of In His Steps, few have probably heard of a similar book by Sheldon in 1931 called He Is Here. Like his first book, in He Is Here Sheldon presents in story form the things that he thinks Jesus would say and do if he were now here among us.