My hope is in God's peace-making power

[Taken from my response to Marv Ostberg's blog post.]

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's 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 of sin. 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.

Views: 50

Comment by Forrest Curo on 5th mo. 25, 2009 at 11:55pm

I guess there's still one thing that tends to frighten me: human ignorance.

I know perfectly nice people who watch Fox News and swallow its message of American innocence and redemptive violence. They're bright enough to know better; perhaps they're afraid that if they looked deeper they'd have to wake up and smell the corpses!

Anger is how fear feels when you attack instead of running. Confronting ignorance tends to arouse that in me; there's so very much of it loose in the world. And yet, I've many times understood that there's only one person worthy of anger, and that's God! Getting angry at God... I have to know, at some level, that this is a mistake!

If I understood--or at least trusted more--I wouldn't be trusting my own cleverness to overcome ignorance; I wouldn't be afraid of the seemingly-impervious armor of ignorance I see people strutting around in, over and over again, no matter how many times better-informed people have pointed out gaping holes in it!

We were told to "be valiant for the truth on Earth." I dunno; sometimes I just get tired!

Ignorance kills... but people fight so hard to keep it!

If I hadn't learned, over and over, to trust God, I wouldn't have much hope for the world. I'm just waiting for that next shoe to fall, just hoping it wakes us all up just enough, that we don't keep rushing right back into those same old traps.

I do know... that on some level we all know the truth. From one perspective that's scary; it seems to imply that there's no such thing as honest ignorance! God help us all, from that angle!

So it doesn't come down to telling people things they don't want to hear. Perhaps someone has to do that, but it doesn't address the basic question: What would persuade them to stop slamming their ears shut?

Hmmm! I think I'll have to ask God about that!
Comment by Stuart Masters on 5th mo. 29, 2009 at 4:58am
Hi Alice,

Unfortunately, I don't have time to respond adequately to your post. I just wanted to say how much I agree with your perspective.




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