An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
I would like to begin with a simple question, "Why can't the Pentagon adopt a policy of forgiveness?" Pause for a moment. What would be the consequence? Islamist radicals would be stunned, perhaps stunned into silence, the silence of awe, a silence that would drain the fierce focus of their attacks. Momentarily (only momentarily?) the cycle of violence and counterviolence would be broken. For a blessed moment, our world would look completely different. "Behold I make all things new."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself to a standstill because it does not find the resistance it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames. But when evil meets no opposition and encounters to obstacle but only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last it meets an opponent which is more than its match. Of course this can only happen when the last ounce of resistance is abandoned, and the renunciation of revenge is complete. Then evil cannot find its mark, it can breed no further evil, and is left barren." - The Cost of Discipleship.
If we completely abandon the revenge that lives in our hearts and feeds on the flames of self-justification, perhaps this is the sign from us that God awaits to shed as-yet-unknown graces. Do we have hearts to imagine such miracles?
If we fail to react as the bombers secretly wish, then indeed evil has no mark. Study how the Bush reaction to bin Laden violence has fed that violence, how, on some unfathomable level, the two sides need each other to fan each other's justification. The spirit of Christ that lives within us is the match, the true answer to the violence of bin Laden and Bush, two halves of the same demonic coin, two offerings to the lord of this world. The cycle of revenge and justified counter-violence can only be ended by a creative act that steps beyond the assumptions which rise so automatically. What about a Department of Peace and Forgiveness? The worst that could happen is that we would be nailed to the cross.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Sunday, July 10, 2005
"From this place which is forever bound to the memory of this extraordinary man, I wish to express to the people of India and of the world my profound conviction that the peace and justice of which contemporary society has such great need will only be achieved along the path which was the core of his teaching."
Not Realpolitik, not "fighting the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here", not Shock and Awe, not forcing "freedom" and "democracy" on the skeptical Arab, but Gandhian nonviolence is the path which the Vicar of Christ has pointed out as the beacon for contemporary statesmanship. Much will become clear to us when we disarm our hearts, when we seek a power greater than bunker busters and rejoice in transformed spirits rather than soulless economies that rip the floor out from under those on the margins to ensure endless profits for those whose money could feed whole countries.
In other words, have we the courage to trust Christ and Him alone? Not to seek the protection of wealth and bombs and oceans of oil?
At the journey’s end may each be able to return to the Source in peace and say:
"I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision." Acts 26:19
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Sunday, July 03, 2005
The Observer has seen photographic evidence of post-mortem and hospital examinations of alleged terror suspects from Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle which demonstrate serious abuse of suspects including burnings, strangulation, the breaking of limbs and - in one case - the apparent use of an electric drill to perform a knee-capping." -- Guardian, July 3, 2005
Now that the Iraqi government has openly admitted to torture, we expect that the outcry among Catholics over the abuse of God's image, the blasphemy of torture will reach the heights it did during the controversy over whether liberal politicians should receive communion.
Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem!
See now, your king comes to you;
he is victorious, he is triumphant,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will banish chariots from Ephraim
and horses from Jerusalem;
the bow of war will be banished.
He will proclaim peace for the nations.
His empire shall stretch from sea to sea,
from the River to the ends of the earth.
Zechariah 9: 9 - 10
This is the Messiah that we know - the one that puts an end to the old man with his stew of violence he keeps boiling in his heart. We do not seek an "outlet" for this violence, to moderate it by lowering its pressure. We seek an end to it. It's residue constantly pours out of us. When we fail to conquer it, when we justify it, eventually it boils over into the war the Iraq, becomes hatred of the Tutsi and the blacks in Darfur, or the Muslim down the street.
Those who believe that God has led them into the war in Iraq are not worshipping the God of Jesus Christ, but something in their own fear-dominated hearts. The God of "Left Behind" is an idol in the precise sense of the word, something external to our souls that commands, punishes and kills, much as the ancient Aztec gods demanded the sacrifice of a thousand hearts ripped from the breasts of the weak and defenseless each year.