Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
There is a reason that Jesus did not talk about punishment. There is a reason that love is the answer, not war. Love works better. No, it is not the easiest...
Here are some thoughts I shared with my representative on email (since his phone message box is full):
I am horrified at the thought that the President believes, with McCain and
Kerry advice and support, that a military response can be targetted in a
way that does not put troops on the ground and does no harm to civilians.
Now is the time to strengthen an approach that relies on rule of law.
Punishment does NOT deter. Those who punish end up punishing others. Ask
someone who has been abused. When an intervener chides, scolds an abuser
in public, the child gets more punishment back home.
If punishment worked to deter wrongdoing, our jails would not be full of
We need thoughtful time and leverage with the UN to bring the perpetrator
to justice. You may think it will take too long. Show me ONE WAR, ONE
MILITARY answer that got the job done quickly. There are not any.
Since any response will take time, let's do the thoughtful thing and take
our time, using the time well, and following through, no matter the time
it takes, in a way that will SUPPORT the civilians who have already had
Beyond these words, I pray that we Quakers will also be more thoughtful about, for instance, wanting the decisions to happen quickly; wanting to punish a child or a grown up rather than seeing what loving responses might do. This does not mean that there are not times when quick action will save a life. If we were not wired to respond quickly (that good old lizard brain), we'd be in trouble. But if we can rewire ourselves as Jesus would, punishment would NOT be the first thing we'd think about - it would be the other person and the pain. And how love might work.
Thanks, Friend Joan;
Yes - put down the lizard brain (punishment) and pick up the Jesus mind (Redemption!). And let us pray that the President finds a way out of this potentially tragic mess, which, IMO, he did a lot to get himself in to. Oh, what a tangled web we weave!
What I love about being human is that God made us this way, and Jesus did not condemn us for being human. Lizard brain.... o I love my lizard brain! Trick is to get to know it well, for we get anxious and often, like anger and conflict, it is a sign we need to work on something, not just jump as old lizzy would prompt us to. In our reactive state unfettered by grounded Connection, we often build walls to the true answer.
I see our President, as a human being, expressing himself as to possibilities several weeks ago that got NO coverage in the news beyond the ONE time (friday, maybe 3 weeks ago); he said 'the option is not restricted to military...' But the world in its worry has picked up the 'line in the sand' statement and made it hard to even express anything else. I am SO glad he has slowed this all down, unlike the Bushes in their rush to war. Frankly, I think the push back he's getting may be because he gets HUGE pushback - perhaps due his race - and he takes it slow, responding amazingly to all the caution. Now, if Kerry would NOT rely so much on people like Kissinger, I'd feel more confident.
It is interesting to watch as leaders, in the larger culture and in our Quaker communities, often get pushed by the circumstances - and even more important by the way their words and deeds get framed and circulated, fairly or not.