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, November 01, 2009

On Failing to Break Out




Rage can be refreshing. For instance, contemplate the latest outrage by the Obama administration, "The Obama administration has, yet again, asserted the broadest and most radical version of the 'state secrets' privilege -- which previously caused so much controversy and turmoil among loyal Democrats (when used by Bush/Cheney) -- to attempt to block courts from ruling on the legality of the government's domestic surveillance activities." - Glenn Greenwald, "Obama's Latest Use of 'Secrecy' to Shield Presidential Lawbreaking", Nov. 1, 2009.

When reading this passage, one reaction might be to center oneself in anger over the crime which has been committed against the rule of law and the right to privacy. But will the rage lead to the identification of the actual enemy who provoked this crime? For many on the left, anger has become an emotional whirlpool, sucking us down to an irrational chaos and eating up the energy needed for true radical change.

We must begin with icy determination to identify the real foe and move wisely and swiftly against it. Wisely means through the use of human means to obtain human ends, rather than the use of material means to obtain material ends. For human beings must never be reduced to material objects, which is the way of war. In the brilliant words of James Douglass, "War in our time discloses the inherent powerlessness of matter at its most powerful to resolve the injustices of man's spirit." - James Douglas, The Non-violent Cross, p. 130. Material means can never resolve spiritual crises. Killing a human body can never bring justice, but only perpetrates the injustice that led to the initial murder. The same applies to deceit in any form. Satyagraha means clinging to Truth above all, accepting Truth as God.

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