War Is…

Syria (2012)
War Is…
Blind Man at the Gate

War is stupid.
War is wrong.
War is impatience.
War is song…
Made silent.

War is hate.
War is haste.
War is rape.
War is waste…
Of precious life.

War is murder.
War is money.
War is pride.
War is profit…
Woe the profiteers!

War is old.
War is told.
War is gold.
War is sold…
To remorseful buyers.

War is swords.
War is tanks.
War is bombs.
War is banks…
Of filthy lucre.

War is Auschwitz.
War is Hiroshima.
War is Nagasaki.
War is humanity…
Hanging by a string.

War is Hell.
War is Hades.
War is Sheol.
War is Gehenna…
Valley of the dead.

War is seen.
War is obscene.
War is famed.
War is declaimed…
By the Christ.

War is named.
War is shamed.
War is sham.
War is banned…
By the cross.

War is ancient.
War is always.
War is ever.
War is over…
If you want it.

War is Cain.
War is cruel.
War is crucifixion
War is cancelled…
With resurrection.


From time to time I write poems.
But I never try to write them.
They just come to me…
Unbidden and unbeckoned.
They insist on being written.
This one intruded on a gloomy afternoon.
This is my only apology.

(The artwork is Syrian Civil War by Chris Lockhart.)

  • Debi Whelan

    I have that same experience. Not sure what to do about it. Just write them down, keep em around, see if they speak to somebody. Yours certainly do. I think this why I really love listening to you. You’re not just a preacher, you’re an artist and and prophet. Thank you.

  • Very nice, Brian.

  • Nimblewill

    My take on the violence of the Cross. Can war/violence ever serve a purpose?

    The Cross

    It was ugly yet beautiful.

    It was horrible yet necessary.

    It was bloody yet healing.

    It was dirty yet cleansing.

    It was vile yet pure.

    It was sinful yet holy.

    It was then yet now.

    It was them yet me.

    It was Him.

  • AnonSoldier


    I love your work and am studying the implications of Jesus for our interactions (violent and non violent). I have some food for thought, maybe you could help.

    I am a soldier right now. Let’s say that through my study the Holy Spirit leads me to believe that all war is completely wrong. What am I to do? Go AWOL? Quit? Unfortunately the military isn’t like a civilian job where you are entitled to leave whenever you need or want to. I feel stuck.

    Thanks for all that you do.

    Your brother in Christ,
    A U.S. Army Infantryman

  • Greg

    Brother and fellow infantryman,
    I listen or read Pastor Brian’s teachings daily and understand the consternation his teaching on our Prince of Peace can cause a career Soldier. At times it has turn medals I proudly wear on my uniform for valor to feel like badges of shame and where once there was a clear conscience to be replaced with the heavy burden of lives taken in combat knowing any chance at salvation was extinguished by my hand.
    First I would like to encourage you to remember that there is no condemnation in Christ and the most important thing is that you are open to allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you- none of us have arrived but at least some have began the journey- keep seeking truth.
    Second, I would encourage you to look at opportunities in the Chaplain Corps. The military is loosing more and more freedom of religion and worship every day.
    Stay faithful, stay open- from someone who is the same journey. Hooah!

  • Hi Army Infantryman,

    I feel your struggle. I pray that you would feel confidence in your conviction.

    I’m a nonviolent peacebuilder in the violent conflicts of the Philippines. And one person has put me on this path more than anyone.

    My wifes grandfather was a huge infulence on us. He was a captain in the German army during WW2. After his time in the service, many years later, he repented, found forgiveness at the cross and became an international biblical peace advocate.

    His work with Mennonite Central Committee and other mennonite oganizations has shaped the lives of thousands of peopIe, ourselves included. I serve “behind enemy lines” and with the Armed Forces of the Philippines because of his example and influence.

    I hope that his story helps you hear where God’s spirit is leading you on your journey.

    There are 2 interviews below. One is a tv one and the other is a 20 min lecture.

    Blessings, brother.