Q & R: EMC, war and competition

Here’s the Q:

Brian, I just recently finished EMC. It hit me so hard that I decided to go back re-read The Secret Message, which did not nearly have the effect on me that EMC has. I did not grow up in the church but began a relationship with Christ when I was 18…. Most of the first … years of my relationship with Christ centered on fundamentalist teachings and eternal-life-after-death dogma. However, over the course of the past nine years my theological thoughts and beliefs have taken a gradual, yet radical transition. If the primary catalyst for this transition is not your books they have at least played a very important role. All of this said, I had two questions.
The first question is one I asked my fiancee last night … while I was reading The Secret Message. Do you believe that war is ever justafiable?

More after the jump …

Secondly, while reading EMC I could not help but think of the intro to the old HBO show Arliss. I am not sure if you are familiar with it, but it was a comedy about a ruthless sports agent. The intro stated that we live through athletes: If our team wins there is this vicarious victory that we achieve. Donald Miller very briefly touches on this subject in one of his books. Ashamedly, I self identify with this vicarious-victory paradigm. Have you ever thought about this issue and perhaps addressing it in your writing? Moreover, the entire idea of competition seems at odds with the kingdom of God that Jesus wants for his people. Okay, this makes three questions: what are your thoughts on competition?

So glad the book has been helpful. On war … my interest has not been in figuring out if war is ever justifiable, but rather in how war can be prevented. History teaches that one of the worst ways to prevent war is by beginning with justifying hypothetical wars. Obviously, I’d be much less against a war in which people defend themselves from unprovoked invasion or aggression than I would elective or aggressive wars. But even there, I’d rather use the words “less against” than “justified.” On competition … I think there’s a wonderful kind of competition where two or more competitors voluntarily choose to sharpen their skills through mutual engagement. The problem comes when competition is given a kind of sacred cosmic value … as if saying “God is competition” were the same as saying “God is love.”