Peace

“Peace is not just about the absence of conflict; it’s also about the presence of justice.  …  A counterfeit peace exists when people are pacified or distracted or so beat up and tired of fighting that all seems calm. But true peace does not exist until there is justice, restoration, forgiveness. Peacemaking doesn’t mean passivity. It is the act of interrupting injustice without mirroring injustice, the act of disarming evil without destroying the evildoer, the act of finding a third way that is neither fight nor flight but the careful, arduous pursuit of reconciliation and justice. It is about a revolution of love that is big enough to set both the oppressed and the oppressors free”.

I read these words the other morning on a social media site.. After a little research, I found it in a book called “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” by Shane Claiborne. Now I must admit, I was scratching my head when I saw where these words came from. The title alone made me think it was about prayers for people on the fringes of society. I even had thoughts of cultism on my mind. So I looked into it a little more and it’s more like new age prayer. It appears to look outside the box of traditional religion for the newer generations. Getting back to this excerpt…

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s no secret that there are many problems in this country and other countries. I’m not going to go thru the very long laundry list of what’s wrong, since many of us are fully aware of it. Instead I want to break this excerpt down and discuss it further because it has some very powerful words.

“Peace is not just about the absence of conflict; it’s…the presence of justice… counterfeit peace exists when people are pacified or distracted or so beat up and tired of fighting that all seems calm…”  If you were to sit back and objectively look at how life has been in America you’ll see there’s been a quiet unrest among American citizens. It’s been a quiet yet slow growing rumble for many years. Companies and factories downsizing, closing down, or even moving out of their communities or the country altogether. The list of reasons for these companies and factories closing is too long. Suffice it to say all the regulations and the list of other laws are just part of the cause for this happening. Now, despite what the statics say about how much of the population is unemployed, there are far more people unemployed than what’s reported. The reason that the number is so low is because people who lost their jobs couldn’t find new ones so they quit looking altogether.

Since many Americans feel that they haven’t been able to do anything about their situations, they’ve just sat back waiting, hoping, and praying that something would happen.  Consequently, they became “…pacified or distracted or so beat up and tired of fighting…”. With no work to be found and needing to support their families, they’ve become dependent on the state and federal government for the support they need. Many have turned to crime, drug and/or alcohol addiction or sadly, suicide. What happens next is nothing short a miracle of sorts. Blue Collar America had finally been heard. The rest of that story is waiting to be written.

The economy is not the only area in life where American citizens have been “…pacified or distracted or so beat up and tired of fighting…”  Another reason for the slow, quiet rumble is because of political correctness. They’re tired of being labeled with things like racist, misogynist, homophobic, or whatever just because they disagree with another person’s viewpoint. A perfect example is the presidential election. If anyone were to talk to a crosscut of 100, 50, even 20 people who actually did vote for President Trump I will bet you will find a wide variety of people from all walks of life, all colors of the rainbow, all faiths, and all income levels. And then there are people who say, “White people have white privilege.” Really? For now I’m just going to leave that subject alone…for now. This type of thinking is something I never thought I’d see.

Over the last few months I’ve begun to see something else I feared I would never see. Peacemaking. People are beginning, or at least attempting, to bring about peace. Instead of “…mirroring injustice…” people are doing it by “…disarming evil without destroying the evildoer…”. Pockets of people are standing up peacefully and are achieving the changes they seek. These people do not make a huge spectacle of themselves by acting out of control, rioting, burning buildings or clogging traffic by marching in the streets. They gathered where they were allowed to gather, held their flags, crosses, signs or whatever and they let the news outlets(and social media too I’m sure) do the rest.

It started with one or 2 groups of people peacefully protesting injustices. Protesting an American flag being taken down or a Christmas tree with a cross on top with numerous people getting together and bringing lots of American flags and crosses. These people did not make a huge spectacle of themselves by acting out of control, rioting or clogging traffic by marching in the streets. They gathered where they were allowed to gather, held their flags or crosses and let the news outlets(and social media too I’m sure) do the rest. In the end the flag was put back up

We are a country of differing ideas and opinions, but that’s what makes this country great. The other great thing in America is our Freedom of Speech and Religion. When we begin to impose our ideas and opinions on others or we shout them down we are stifling those very same freedoms that we all have. Perhaps we can start a new movement. Maybe a “…revolution of love that is big enough to set both the oppressed and the oppressors free” instead of the hostile ways that only hurt others. In 2017 may we find the “…third way that is neither fight nor flight but the careful, arduous pursuit of reconciliation and justice”.

Thought for the day: Matthew 5:9  –  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

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