Session Four

Toward a Secure Community of Nations

“Why Don’t I Feel Safe? Why do They Hate Us?

In this session we look at issues of global security. The question “Why don’t I feel safe?” touches several aspects of life. For instance, how should a community or a nation best fight crime? How do we deal fairly with immigration, given that the U.S. is, except for Native Americans, a nation of immigrants? Contemporary terrorism has raised not only issues of security but of civil liberties. Peace is something we love and long for, but we don’t know the best way to affirm and achieve it. Our concepts of covenant, community, and the common good have profound meaning for questions of international security.

Sharing Supper with an Immigrant Family

One day a native born couple received an invitation from their immigrant neighbors:  “Come and share supper with us.”

Key Issues

  • The threat of terrorism continues to have an impact in a variety of realms in public life, including airline security, civil liberties, surveillance, and immigration policy. At the same time, our lives are enriched by neighbors who do not share our ethnicity, our cultural background, or our skin color.
  • Currently at least one in four persons under the age of eighteen in the U.S. has at least one foreign-born parent.

Questions for Discussion

  1. How might you respond if you were invited to share a meal with a family whose food tastes, cultural background, or language, did not match you own?
  2. In light of the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), in which a member of a hated minority shows compassion for a neighbor in distress, how might we be expected to respond to immigrants who do not share our ethnicity, our cultural background, or our skin color?  How might we be a good neighbor?

Global Security and Military Might

Sociologist Robert Bellah discusses global and domestic security.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Robert Bellah states that “the military budget in the U.S. is badly out of whack” and that “we are clearly in our military budget fighting the last war.”  We are using large military forces and equipment to address issues, such as international terrorism, which defy national borders.  Bellah cites President Eisenhower’s farewell address, which refers to the “military industrial complex” to explain how U.S. policy came to such a place.  What evidence do you see for or against a “military industrial complex” in current debates over military deployment and spending?
  2. According to Bellah, in response to a dangerous world, Americans tend to fuse  Christian identity and American identity.  “We think America is God’s chosen people and what we do is right.  We lose sight of the fact that Christians hold every nation up to the standards of divine justice.”  In your opinion, what areas of U.S. foreign policy (for instance, military involvement, diplomatic endeavor, humanitarian aid or intervention) might be held up to “the standards of divine justice”?

Faithful Citizen: Living Responsibly in a Global Society

A six-part study guide designed for use in congregational development. The guide includes in-depth discussion of global issues effecting our faith and our response to the world as well as questions for discussion and where to look for more resources.

 

Purchase the PDF Companion Study Guide

$8.00/session or $40.00 for all six sessions