Only One Victory

Theologian Miroslav Volf said:

To triumph fully, evil needs two victories, not one. The first victory happens when an evil deed is perpetrated; the second victory, when evil is returned. After the first victory, evil would die if the second victory did not infuse it with new life.

At our parish Sunday, we had one of the lost boys of Sudan speak to us, Father Daniel Deng Kuot (he is pictured on the far right). Father Daniel is from southern Sudan and in the early 90’s, his village was destroyed and his family killed by soldiers from the Khartoum trained Islamic government. The government of Khartoum convinced the Muslims of Darfur (western Sudan) that the black Christians of the south were hindering the spread of Islam, and that the natural resources in the south (gold, oil) should go to the rest of the country. So, many of the attacks on the southern blacks of Sudan were carried out by Darfurian Muslims.

In 2003, the Muslims of Darfur realized that they had been used by the government and the share of the natural resources in the south was not a reality. Many of them felt used and betrayed, so they spoke out. Therefore, that same year, the Khartoum government decided to wipe out the Darfurians as they had attempted to do to the black Christians. As you know, many from Darfur have been killed or displaced and live in refugee camps.

Fr. Daniel has made most of his recent missionary efforts to the people of Darfur. He has brought to the same people who killed his loved ones food, clothing, medical aid, and the love of Jesus Christ. He, and others from the Sudanese community who have settled in the United States and other places after being displaced in part because of the Darfurians, have decided that the love of Jesus is more effective than revenge.

This is love of the most powerful and difficult kind. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who abuse you…”

Fr. Daniel has a bullet hole in his back from a radical Muslim. Yet he is not afraid. And he loves them. In Fr. Daniel’s life, evil is dying.

11 thoughts on “Only One Victory

  1. I, too, was inspired by Father Daniel. The love of Christ in him is real. But I’m also depressed by the lack of courage and outrage in the international community that allowed the two tragedies among these people. According to Father Daniel, 2 million people were killed by this government, directly and indirectly. The fact that it was not in our national (read economic) interest meant we did not interfere in either Darfurian genocide. Was that showing the love of Christ? It was non-violent and could be construed to be what Jesus would do, by some. Not me. Turning our back on the slaughter without action is only superior to watching the slaughter directly wiithout action. Action, not from the motive of revenge, but from the motive of stopping the evil. Stopping the evil would not itself be evil. It would be good. Sorry if that is complicated to some, but it is the reason government had been given the sword. I know this is a tough area, Father Neo. Father Daniel is a true hero of Christ. We live in a confused time where stopping genocide is considered an evil by many. Is it by the church, too?

  2. Moses Joknhial II, a “Lost Boy” from the Sudan, spoke to our congregation in Sioux Falls on Sunday. He is raising funds to build a school for his home village, Panyang.

    Although honest about the violence done by Khartoum (Muslim Arabs), Moses’ solution is not based in vengeance, but in hope. One victory, in the Name of the One who triumphed once upon the cross.

  3. Any would be good. I’m just sad that we use American political and military power to protect gas prices while millions die. Seems a little bit of a scandal to me. One of the self evident truths is the right to life. Has our country ceased to be a force of moral leadership in the world? If so, it’s because our citizens are unmoved by suffering. Are we so morally relativist and ambivalent as a church that we get passive when there is suffering that doesn’t lower gas prices? Vanity, vanity. It does seem to be all vanity. I seem to be angry about this, don’t I.

  4. I am truly a dunderhead, but I’ve never been able to see the connexion between the US presence in the Middle East and the price of gasoline. I keep hearing people saying we’re in Iraq for the oil, while millions suffer and die, but gas prices are still high. What? If we weren’t there, would gas be $10 a gallon, or would there just not be any gas at the pumps at all?

    This kind of political self-righteousness sickens me to disgust. It may not be America’s true destiny to make the world safe for democracy. I don’t know that it is. And as for manifest destiny, we’ve already gobbled up the best half of the North American continent. Let’s have some political self-righteousness in defense of aboriginal rights in Colorado, Oregon, or elsewhere. Our predecessors have lied, stolen and murdered to grab the land we’re sitting on, and we fuss over the current president’s “war crimes” in Iraq. Hypocrisy!

  5. As for American foreign policy, the proof that we’re not a Christian country, only a Christianized one, is that we do NOT “scour the wicked off the earth like rust” (an attribute of Deity mentioned in the psalms), but instead selectively put out fires that look like they could spread to our property. We are still probably the most philanthropic country on earth, though our charities in recent times have had much more self-interest than formerly. In short, as a nation we’re like we are as churches—we take care of ourselves first, and when there’s time or resources left over, “we share what little we have” (St Francis, Brother Sun Sister Moon) …left over, that’s the keyword here.

    We are all heading straight for a cataclysm of astounding proportions, a cultural and sociological “black hole” that will not even let light escape. Christ have mercy on us! May He come soon. This prayer is not a cop-out. We really ARE in for it now. We really ARE in trouble. Hold on to your seats, boys! Everything written in the Book is true. Happy are those who read it aloud and those who hear what it says, and treasure it.

    Meanwhile, what to do until Messiah comes…

  6. Romanos,
    I like your spirit!
    The short answer, Morpheus, is that we stand by and watch African genocide because the people involved are black. Sad but true. Witness the UN forces in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. The French and Belgian UN soldiers (who made the mess in the first place) watched with loaded weapons while neighbors and friends turned on neighbors and friends with machetes and knives. Children were raped and butchered and people were killed in churches, and trained soldiers with loaded weapons watched.

  7. Yes, Fr Neo, unfortunately I have to agree with you, we don’t move wholeheartedly or at all, “because they are black.”

  8. Yes, I agree, Romanos. We must be near the end. “Come, Lord Jesus” is exactly the right sentiment and prayer.

    I think the UN thing is beneath us to discuss here. The race thing, too. Way too low for followers of Lord Jesus. My disgust above is with the church, not the politics or the race relations or the oil, but the bride of Christ.

    Are we capable of shouting “Repent”? Isn’t now the time? His true followers must stand for Him now. Boldly and passionately. Even if it looses persecution on us from within the church. How Lord? What should we do? How can we serve you in this cesspool we are becoming? Can we help you remind those in darkness of your light?

    I work in Kairos prison ministry, Romanos. The men in prison believe that they Lord is coming any day! This is also their prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

  9. Morpheus, all I can say is Bravo! You’ve got it! You’ve hit the mark! If I stay here and don’t return to Japan, I would like to get involved in prison ministry, especially at a kid’s prison near my home. If God allows it.

    “Are we capable of shouting “Repent”? Isn’t now the time? His true followers must stand for Him now. Boldly and passionately. Even if it looses persecution on us from within the church. How Lord? What should we do? How can we serve you in this cesspool we are becoming? Can we help you remind those in darkness of your light?”

    Yes, Morpheus, we just do what we see the Lord doing, DOING I said, not DID, as He is here with us NOW, even as I write you. What should we do? Exactly what we see Him doing. And yes, it may loose persecution on us from the “church.” So be it. We love the Church, His Bride, and we will endure with her and for her and even from her whatever the Lord decrees for us. We just follow Jesus!

    For another take on this, click my name!

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