Monthly Archives: December 2008

Roots of Just War

The roots of modern international law come from one specific strand of thought emerging out of antiquity:  the Christian Roman Empire that took shape after the conversion to Christianity of the Emperor Constantine in the year 312 AD.  Although there were important ideas of restraint in war in pre-Christian Greek and Roman thought and indeed in cultures all over the world, it is the blend of Christian and Greco-Roman thought that set the context of the development of full-blown just war thinking over a period of centuries.

Christianity before this time had been suspicious of entanglement in the affairs of the Empire.  For the first several centuries of the movement, Christians interpreted the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and other places quite literally, and saw themselves as committed to pacifism (the refusal to use force or violence in all circumstances).  Although many appreciated the relative peace, prosperity, and ease of travel the Empire’s military force made possible, Christians felt prayer on behalf of the Emperor was the limit of their direct support for it.

Much changed with Constantine.

This was part of my reading for Air Command & Staff College, my professional military education, excerpted from “Ethical Issues in War:  An Overview,” by Martin L. Cook, originally published by the Strategic Studies Institute in U.S. Army War College Guide to National Security Policy and Strategy, 2d Edition, Chapter 3, June 2006.

“Much changed with Constantine.”  So the question I ask is, were those changes good?  On the one hand, Christians were no longer being eaten by lions on a regular basis as entertainment for Roman citizens.  On the other hand, is it right for Christ-followers to accept a “blend of Christian and Greco-Roman thought?”  When you blend these thought patterns, do you lose something of the pure Christian thought mode?  Dangerous questions, I think.

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December 2008 Already

December already.  And it is COLD.  I don’t remember it being this cold last year.  Maybe I’m not dressing warmly enough.  I have a few extra days off this month, so I will be trying to get some work done, but the freezing wind was driving me crazy yesterday.  I think I will retreat inside the garage today and try to get up some insulation.  If I can get up the remaining insulation, I can go to Lincoln to buy some sheetrock and put that on the walls.  Once the walls are rocked, I can start organizing (such a novel concept), and then maybe we can start pulling cars into the garage to be worked on!  What fun that will be!

I think I have settled on putting sheetrock on the bottom of the rafters and blowing in insulation for roof insulation.  I will also be installing under-soffit vents and a wind turbine vent near the peak in order to provide ventilation in the attic space.  I still need to complete the wood-burning stove and chimney.  Always work when I want to play.

We have butchered Papa Pig and put him in our freezer (we used the locker in Tecumseh rather than trying to do this ourselves).  We have also figured out that Mama Pig eats far too much, so we are trying to decide what to do with her.  I don’t think we want to try to keep pigs, other than to buy some feeder pigs in the Spring and raise them to butcher weight by Fall.  Pigs are, well, pigs.  They eat too much, they are dirty and stink, and every time I climb into their pen, Mama Pig bites me.  We are considering butchering Mama Pig at weaning time, then raising our nine little ones.  We might try to sell some feeder pigs locally.  We could keep the young girls and raise them as new Mama Pigs, and just look for a young boar to come live with them, but, like I said, I don’t think that is what we are interested in.

In other news, I have been thinking about a crazy plan for pasture improvement and wildlife habitat improvement since I can get financial assistance, in the form of cost-sharing, through NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service).  I want to create shelterbelts of trees to provide edge effect and wind shelter for my animals and for wildlife.  Within the shelterbelts, I want to have some fruit and nut trees to provide food for my animals, wildlife, and my family.  I also want to lay out underground piping so I can deliver water to any portion of my pasture.  I want to fence off my ponds so my animals don’t go into my ponds and muck them up.  I want natural life to thrive in my ponds.  And I want to put up permanent fencing that will keep animals where they are supposed to be, so they aren’t always going where they aren’t supposed to be, as is the case with my Mama Pig and with my bull calf.  The goats, despite their reputation, stay where they belong 99% of the time.

I have been messing around on Facebook a bit lately.  It’s interesting to see all these people from years ago who have moved in a thousand different directions.  Really, people I have a place for in my heart (call it nostalgia) yet I don’t know at all anymore.  Great people, nonetheless.

I finally bought my pistol.  I went with the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm.

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