In conversation the other day, Marty used the term "failure of imagination" to describe people, particularly Christians, not having enough imagination to see their way out of various problems or how to respond to various issues. In the Youth Department we have an AP Sunday school class that is reading Hauerwas & Willimon's Resident Aliens. They had a very similar discussion about the church's failure to see other options than those in the world. For H&W the church is the center of our discipleship -- our way of life -- and thus our ethics. In our discussion, I used Marty's term and we were talking about various things. Then the question was raised by me, who supported the war in Afghanistan, "What is the proper response of the church to 9/11? Because I can't see any other response than attacking the Taliban & al-Qaeda. Is this a failure of imagination?" Willimon had earlier suggested that a possible Christian response to Libya (the book was written in the late-80's) would have been for the church to send 1,000 missionaries to help to transform the country. And the class debated whether non-violence can work in the face of the Taliban (Gandhi used it against the British who at least had a history of democracy & human rights and were eventually appalled at what they were doing).
So, I want to throw this out to the on-line community, particularly those in the Body of Christ who read this page. Help the class, we could imagine nothing. What could be the response of the church to 9/11? Notice I'm not asking the state's response, that's a separate set of issues. Help the class, I'll take your thoughts back to them.