7/5/2008 11:37 AM
I had been in Air Force ROTC in college for two years, and had qualified for pilot training, when the US started bombing Cambodia. At the age of twenty I went through a agonizing crisis of conscience. In the end I withdrew from ROTC.
In December of my junior year, in 1969, I left college, moved to New York City, and applied for Conscientious Objector status, with the help of some sympathetic Quakers.
Those were years of great violence in America, in urban centers and on college campuses, and I was stricken by the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and by the continuing violence of the Vietnam War. One summer in college I worked and lived at a funeral home, and we hosted the young soldiers who came as escorts with the bodies of the war dead from Vietnam.
This was the context in which I rediscovered Christian faith with a cross at its center as the only compelling story in which I could understand these events. A few years later, while I was in seminary, Jurgen Moltmann's The Crucified God was published. I still recall a line from the Introduction, “What does it mean to recall the God who was crucified in a society whose official creed is optimism, and which is knee deep in blood?”
Copyright ©2008 Richard Floyd