A paper outlining moves towards a New Remembrance aimed at investing in peace-building rather than glorifying war-making has been published by the Christian think-tank Ekklesia, coinciding with commemorations of the fabled ‘Christmas Truces’.
At Christmas 1914, four months into World War One, British and German soldiers on the Western front laid down their weapons. They exchanged small gifts, sang carols, buried their dead, and some even kicked a football around.
Shortly after Christmas 1914, an order was issued by John French, the general in charge of the British troops on the Western Front. He had heard of the informal truces that had broken out along the front on Christmas Day. He ordered that such events must never be repeated. A year later, ahead of the following Christmas, soldiers were reminded that they would be charged with disobeying orders if there was another truce.
As part of its ongoing work on Remembrance, peacemaking and the investment of churches and civil society groups in alternatives to armed conflict, Ekklesia was delighted to sponsor a conversation on 12 November 2014 looking the justification of war alongside opposition to war, violence and nonviolence in the Christian tradition.
In his 2014 book 'The Great and Holy War: How World War I changed religion forever' author and academic Philip Jenkins paints a picture of faith, and especially Christian faith, mired in blood. Is there a way out after Christendom?
This is the provocative title of a conversation and debate between Tom Yoder Neufeld, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies (New Testament) at Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo and Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at Oxford University.