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.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Seamless Garment




"I mistrust one's 'pro life' stance if he calls for one hundred years of war upon Iraq, or the use of nuclear weapons on Iran, or the maintenance of the U.S. imperial military force. If you care for the unborn, you will work for the abolition of war and nuclear weapons. You'll work for the creation of equality among women and men. You'll work for the elimination of poverty and despair -- all of them causes of abortion. A 'pro-lifer' will work for the institutionalization of nonviolence across the board." - John Dear, "Nonviolence and the presidential campaign"

The "institutionalization of nonviolence" requires deep thought about our current institutions, economic, political, and cultural. Yet those who truly care about nonviolence must make the effort to see all of God's creation as a seamless garment of beauty and peace. This includes economics. We are called to remake our economic system into one that reflects the love that should fill God's creation. We cannot wait for God to remake this world for us - he has given us the vocation to remake it with our faith.

Does this mean we must judge ourselves by our success in this endeavor? No more than we judge Jesus according to his worldly success. But what does God's economics look like? "The original blessing of Genesis was abundance, food, clothing, shelter for every human born, enough for every sensible modest need. Jesus is underscoring that original blessing, conferring it on ourselves. 'Live in accord with it,' he urges. The original blessing is the realm of God come to earth, the ethos that governs and binds creation." - Daniel Berrigan, "Living as Though the Text were True"

"Nonviolence is consistent -- ingenuous. It opposes anything that hurts another or takes life. A consistent ethic of nonviolence links all issues together. It finds a fundamental truth in the basic understanding that all human life is sacred. Violence is inconsistent -- tumultuous, chaotic. It assaults our minds with lies, confusion, and fears -- all of it to gain a free hand in killing and scapegoating." - John Dear, "Nonviolence and the presidential campaign"

Linking all these issues together, how can we feed and clothe ourselves without murdering half the planet? By building an economic system that thrives on solidarity and respect for human life, rather than making profit it's exclusive goal. This ethic is totally incompatible with the economic system under which we currently groan. All human life is sacred and must be privileged over any other consideration in the new economics, particularly the enrichment of the few. What about an economics in which no one is allowed to be wealthy as long as a single person is hungry?

"We restore the original blessing by living as if it were true." - Daniel Berrigan, "Living as Though the Text were True"

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