avoiding simplicity and being humble is good

here is the thing: i am a navy vet and even though i never had to fire a gun in defense or anger i am aware that in some way i may have contributed to deaths even though i served in peacetime - the eisenhower presidency. but i was also there as a representative of our culture to japan and other places in the far east. yet, i humbly concern myself that in some way i may have contributed to violence.

now then i do not hear any of the same type of humiity from quakers or others of the so called "peace" movements. yes, it is true that they have a goal of promoting peace to the exclusion of war. but they must be aware on some level that during times such as the iraq war they may clearly be contributing to additional deaths by causing the war to be extended by giving hope and encouragement to violent insurgents and others set on violence.

in peace - with justice,

marv ostberg

Views: 72

Comment by Forrest Curo on 5th mo. 24, 2009 at 10:02pm
Hey, I think you're trying to give hope and encouragement to violent invaders of other nations, and others set on violence! Namely those whom Mose Allison characterised by his song about "Everybody's talking about Peace on Earth, just as soon as we win this war!"

Many of those are Americans, you know. Not only are they the most physically accessible of the promoters of violence, they are the best armed, and quite arguably the most dangerous.

In times such as our ongoing wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, we have the duty to point out that we have neither need nor legitimate business in occupying either of these countries, and are daily contributing to unnecessary deaths via violence and poverty, by our very presence there.
Comment by marv ostberg on 5th mo. 25, 2009 at 3:52pm
never to humble or bear any blame is what i hear you say of your approach. reminds me of the of the monkey who never heard or saw evil saw long as it did not stare him in the face, such as a war. if you were to do your research you would find that the only way we get more violence than in war is in situations of "peace" where apathy or calculated blindness occurs. could name several situations. but cambodia, ruwanda and the sudan are somewhat recent examples. you apparently had no problem with the killings by saddam or the talaban before we came. even worse were the millions killed by the soviets and the maoist (the latter case is still going on). no war comes close to equally those. of course hitler - and the peace movement was willing to turn a blind and apathetic eye to that as well. but there is no doubt that beyond the deaths you (in the collective sense of passivists) are responsible for - yes you are. during times of war it is probably fair to give you credit for 25% of the deaths as a result of extending it. but just focus on your non-war apathy if you like. the deaths caused by that are worse.
peace, with justice,
Comment by Alice M Yaxley on 5th mo. 25, 2009 at 5:00pm
Marv I don't understand everything you write but keep writing and maybe some communication will turn up!

never to humble or bear any blame is what i hear you say of your approach
What is this? Where does it come from? I have not heard it before so I don't think it's me who said it.

I'm pretty young and idealistic I guess, but here, I'll try to describe the way I'm seeing it: God's justice is peacemaking, it tells me I have to work together with you and everyone to find the way we can live on the planet even with those who hate us and blame us and don't want us to exist. That's why we have to pray for our enemies. When I pray for my enemies I get really changed by it. I can see them as people. I hope for them to be liberated so they can start learning God's way instead.

Relying on violence is a poison, a way of putting faith in the gun in place of God, it's idolatrous. I am familiar with evil, in myself. But I hope and trust that God can make peace, only one human heart at a time.

Peacemaking is active, not passive. It is a way of life learning to conflict creatively with other people in God's transforming power, to find out what each of us really needs and to get it for all of us.

You're right I don't hear Quakers talk about evil that much. It's kind of a tradition. Evil so obvious, so huge. Sin is so obvious, but now I have heard a call to turn towards the Light of Christ that shows up that sin and evil and leads me away from it, that's why I focus on the Light not on the darkness. I think it's like pulling up the roots of war rather than cutting off the leaves.

Far from "having no problem" with it I have been totally weighed down by the awfulness, the knots of hatred and violence and injustice in our world. Through God's grace and mercy I have been able to get up out of that and work for a better world through what I think is God's guidance, despite all the ways in which I am still part of this system which is killing the planet let alone so many starving and suffering humans. I hope I am humble enough to do the bit I can do faithfully even though that is nothing special like intervening in war zones.

I hope I am part of the "peace effort" that will end up with every gun being destroyed, every violent conflict being broken up by friends and family who can draw on resources to solve the problem instead of killing it. If people had been calling each other to account for violence and other kinds of idolatry, solving problems with creativity and reliance on God's guidance, Pol Pot and other dictators wouldn't have got to power in the first place.

Staying in that Light means I find can't do violence and also I find I am committed to communicating with others, learning to resolve our differences without violence. It also means trying to learn not to be swayed by other humans so I don't mindlessly go along with stuff that is going to oppress others, which cuts the roots of violence out.

Our God is the God of the oppressed. People have to learn how not be moved by fear or hatred, so we can make links with each other to resist and overcome the oppressors, in our own hearts and in the rest of the world. All oppressive regimes capitalize on peoples fears and it is the weakness of people that allows evil to persist.

God has the power to take away the fear that maintains oppressive systems like Stalin's. The fear of those from both inside and outside is what keeps those evil regimes going.

As I understand it God's way also means I have to live in a process of healing from the effects of some violence I've suffered, to live in the solution of that violence in my family and community, and to witness to the hope of that healing to others who have suffered.

I hope for justice through peace, I can't see how justice can come through violence. I think violence is too simple. Transformation is God's power and I am putting my hope in that.

Any of that make any sense to you? I don't know you yet or who you think God is or anything!
Comment by Forrest Curo on 5th mo. 25, 2009 at 10:54pm
To do evil that good may come of it... is to make a fundamental mistake, as if we could somehow calculate the results of our actions beyond some immediate harm people imagine to be necessary.

The true situation of the United States... is like that of a madman attempting to defend himself by holding his neighbors at gunpoint, all the time emptying their wallets and refrigerators in return for his services as their "peacekeeper."

I have little power to stop my own country's evil deeds, but it is more than any control I might have over those various foreigners whose misdeeds you imagine I might stop. To try to reform foreign governments by military force--is far too much like attempting brain surgery with an ax.

What happens far more often than any honest attempt to stop evil, is that leaders claim to be stopping evil, but use the public's idealistic hopes and illusions to enlist them in organized murder.

I don't know what you imagine about the history of the world or the place of the United States in it, nor is this the place to debate that. As a truly humble person, you will of course seek out evidence that the view of the world you have been trying to impose here could be utterly mistaken, and examine it with an honest wish to know the truth. I wish you success in that endeavor!

Meanwhile, I will try to avoid making assumptions about you and what you mean, and ask that you please do the same for me.
Comment by Forrest Curo on 5th mo. 26, 2009 at 10:57am
I should have been more grateful for this "Let's fight about peace!" invitation.

Instead, it was more like "Oh darn! I've gotta climb down into that sty & tongue-wrestle for truth one more time. So many fools, so little time!" (Well, I said we shouldn't be making assumptions about each other, but it is something our minds do fairly automatically.)

You must have known that there are other descriptions of the world and its workings than the standard US model. For some reason, you have not given these the same credence you assume for our USian cover stories. But if I take it on myself to do a whole lot of 'ohyeah? What about your mother?' over this, we might both have fun but end up no nearer to truth.

Everyone who won the Civil War is dead, and slavery is still with us. (Consider how many black Americans have been forced into self-employment in the drug black-market, & gone from there into prisons, where with a little luck, they may have the chance to earn a pitance doing work they might better have been hired for on the outside!) Quakers took a very long time giving up their own slaves. We didn't fight (hardly much) over it, and at the end of the process needed some delicate, loving meetings with recalcitrant slave-owners, but we did it... and then needed, many times, to move away from slave-owning neighbors into desolate places where we had to "get religion from the Methodists"... Long-term consequences are never clear. If we were playing a game of go, and you were reasonably proficient, we might see a long series of moves ahead in which each person's best move clearly followed from what had gone before. But life has a whole lot more possibilities than (19X19)!

So, how to evaluate my view of things vs yours? Demonstrating "Who has the sharper tongue?" won't settle that.

I recommend a bit more time in Meeting, asking God to make matters clear to us. Since that's also what I recommend for myself, I hope that's no problem!
Comment by marv ostberg on 6th mo. 22, 2009 at 11:21pm
forrest, you are probably an interesting fellow, but you seem determined to mostly place blame for all earthly problems on our government and most especially blame people you disagree with. you are not the only person in the "peace" category where i have seen that. it is fairly common there to be self-righteous and holier than thou ist. so spending more time in a meeting hall i doubt would change that. and i do not wish to be one with "the sharper tongue". but in the process of solving an issue it surely is not enough to just attack the other guy's solution. surely you should have a full blown solution of your own to some of these problems. take north korea as a troubling case in point. what would you do both to stop the abuse of their own people and to do so without violence on our part? what would you do? and nothing is not a very good answer. and constantly to blame "structural" problems gets a little simplistic after a while. for me one solution would be to teach more people how to cope well and successfully in a complex world. that is the better solution than treating the same people like "victims" - thus really insulting and disabling them. give me some solutions other than just word games and blame games please.
Comment by marv ostberg on 7th mo. 8, 2009 at 12:35am
forrest where are you??? truly, instead of hearing how badly the rest of the world is handling problems, let us hear some kind of solution from you. life is not a chess game or any kind of game. life is a daily thing of getting things done in the face of sometimes monumental problems. so let me hear how you would solve any of those problems personally. take the sudan if you do not like my other examples. take violent crime in philly or detroit. and you serious commit an evil act if you surmise that african americans are doomed to end up dealing drugs or in jail or both. that kind of comment borders on racism.. in this country if you are willing to do some delayed gratification you can succeed far above that level - no matter who you are. so instead of the victimization and historical bitterness and futility you seem to be peddling, how about promoting success through dedication to a goal. if it works to create a basketball or football pro it can work as well to create a doctor, banker, scientist. i will not suppose what you are thinking, but you certainly seem to push the idea that: once a victim always a victim. try a more positive approach please. we will listen.


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