Over the weekend I made the mistake of watching “Iron Man 2.” Why I sat all the way through this campy, overindulgent action flick remains a mystery. Seriously, don’t waste your life on watching it.
And actually, don’t watch for theological reasons as well. Especially at the beginning of the movie, Tony Stark, a.k.a. “Iron Man,” boasts that because of his armored and weaponized suit, the world is at peace like has never been before. In other words, because Tony Stark has the most potent weapon ever known to man, no one is willing to rise up against the United States. This, the movie implies, is world peace.
For a Christian, this is an absurdity. We know that having the biggest gun doesn’t create peace, it creates fear. Essentially what Tony Stark did in “Iron Man 2” is threaten everybody so violently that a seeming sense of peace reigned. But we know this was no peace – it is only a quiet moment in long cycles of violence.
I suppose that many Americans buy into Tony Stark’s philosophy. If the United States could only have the most powerful weapons, the best killers on earth, then there would be world peace. This was what happened in the Cold War, we managed to outspend the Soviet Union so that their economy and political system eventually imploded.
But as Stanley Hauerwas says, “The United States just managed to waste more money on guns than they did.” Amen to that brother. Has our military, or any military or weapon ever managed to create peace? Absolutely not. Has the threat of violence ever created a culture of peace? Never.
So let’s try a different approach – it was only tried once, but with incredible success. This approach is called laying down our weapons, beating our swords into plowshares, and allowing ourselves, as difficult as it may sound, to die because we want peace. This is the path of Jesus, the very one Lord who allowed himself to die so that we may know the Kingdom of Peace.