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.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Lay Down Your Weapons
"April 20, 9:40 in the morning. Headphones on, local Christian band Olivia playing a song called 'Heaven,' and Logan's thoughts on what in the world to do about his beliefs. Then, for a moment, heaven itself seemed to open.
'I felt like somebody was showing me something,' he says of the 'short video clip' from above that followed.
'I saw myself in the Middle East, I'm pretty sure it was Iraq,' he says, describing the emotionally vivid experience. 'What struck me were two things: number one, that I did not have a weapon.' The second thing was a feeling of 'confidence;' the confidence that he was 'doing what was right.'
It was his calling. He would go to Iraq, but without a weapon. At first he thought he might be able to do that as a non-combative member of his company. So after prayer and consideration, he applied for Conscientious Objector (CO) status, as per the Army regulation allowing a soldier to request discharge for reasons of conscience, as long as military officials deem the applicant 'sincere' at the end of the stipulated process. He was ready to go to prison if need be, which, in today's for-us-or-against-us climate is a real possibility for CO applicants. Major Jones says the majority of CO applications are denied."
Either love underlies our striving for liberation or else that striving is for something other than liberation - most often a hidden struggle for another type of domination. This is the power that that must ensoul all our efforts of resistance against the structures of sin under which our hearts bake like cracked earth. It is not sufficient to struggle for liberation - the struggle must be carried out in a liberating way. The word of God constantly reminds us that those at the pinnacles of power "wither quickly like grass", so our hearts must trust in the goodness of God and fight only with the instruments of love. If we struggle for power, then we become the tools of power.
"Christianity exists for slaves. It is the religion of the oppressed, of those marked by affliction...People are pronounced blessed not because of their achievements or their behavior, but with regard to their needs. Blessed are the poor, the suffering, the persecuted, the hungry." Dorothee Solle, Suffering.
The words of the soldier Logan Laituri, whose love for Jesus has called him to lay down his weapon in Iraq, show what this courage involves: "This is what He bid me to do; to be an active example for the unconditional love that He grants. This call does not have to make sense to me, I simply obey... Jesus came to protect us from evil, not seek and destroy evil (John 17:15). If he did intend to deliver us from the "evil enemy," why did he not conquer Rome, as the established religious leaders expected of Him, and other messianic pretenders of His time hoped to do? Perhaps he was preoccupied with personal sin and blindness; the same blindness that keeps us from seeing the plank in our own eye. How much more evil are our enemies to us than we were once to God, and don’t they deserve to be offered Grace just as we were granted it?"
May we all pray for the courage to lay down our weapons and open our hearts to the source of true strength, as Logan has done. Read his blog at http://www.xanga.com/courageouscoward.