marv ostberg
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Aches and pains and other practical matters

Started this discussion. Last reply by Rosemary Gould 11th month 30, 2010. 3 Replies


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avoiding simplicity and being humble is good

Posted on 5th mo. 24, 2009 at 9:25pm 7 Comments

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… Continue

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At 11:16am on 8th mo. 25, 2011, Forrest Curo said…

Do I mean to say I think you're doing what I say you're doing? Yes.


Are you doing something else, a little closer to what I'm suggesting? I think I can interpret what you're saying in that way.


I'm neither prosecuting nor offering a plea bargain here: Guilty or not, you are likely to find that the alternative I've suggested works better.


The discussion on best ways to respond to terrible situations remains available on 'Forum'.


But since you did ask: I mean that if you want to assist at a childbirth, the first step is to wash your hands.


Another example: The worst known outbreak of Ebola, so far, was the direct result of the noble, self-sacrificing, whole-hearted efforts of nurses at a badly-funded charity hospital. They could afford neither reusable needles nor the equipment needed to sufficiently sterilize them, and they gave themselves their b12 injections using the same syringes with which they gave injections to the patients they loved. One of the infected nurses wandered in a feverish delirium through a large and congested African city without infecting a single resident; this was not a particularly contagious strain. But strains of anything, passed from host to host via injections, typically do become more virulent, as the death rate among nurses and patients from that hospital does illustrate.


We agree that things are terrible in a distant place where I don't know the language or the people or what my government is doing to help/exploit/worsen the situation. [I expect that, as usual, they are doing all three, which would make this a dubious place for me to go. But thee may have travel money and appropriate skills? If you go, I strongly advise against any means of help that involve killing people you find obstructive; the available evidence so far suggests that while this works really well at killing people, it is less effective at helping them.]

At 11:55pm on 8th mo. 24, 2011, Forrest Curo said…

Okay, here we have an example of what I was talking about: "Forrest I would have loved to discuss that particular rationalization with your father." 


When you are trying to keep your disagreements with people "peaceful", assuming that their statements are "rationalizations" doesn't work well.


If you ever have a reason to be more interested in 'scoring points' against a position than in honestly weighing its validity (or lack thereof), questioning your opponent's motives can be a useful tactic.


If you believe that's your purpose, then go for it!


But giving you (why not?) the benefit of the doubt: that you'd rather understand what an opponent means to say-- when you don't know, it is probably better to ask what they meant than to make up something ridiculous, then argue with it.

At 1:32am on 8th mo. 24, 2011, Forrest Curo said…

Different people have different ideas of what being "peaceful about minor disagreements" looks like. An ambulance driver I knew helped pick up a couple of guys who had been thumping each other with 2X4's: One of the neighbors told him: "They do this all the time; they love each other."


There are things you can do that make dealing with disagreements easier, things that make it harder. If new examples occur we can talk about that.


But there is a discussion I added today-- on what best to do about the fact that people are suffering needlessly everywhere.


My father used to say (He knew a lot of highway patrol cops) that a lot of people died because someone grabbed their arms to help them out of a wreck. If their collar bone was broken, that could easily kill them. I don't know if that was true, but you can take it as an example of the sort of thing you should think about if you want to help people.


I don't know what you're called to do to help mitigate the truly horrible situation you brought up recently. Looks like the chief need is for somebody good at talking to negotiate a way through the ugly politics that seem to be the key bottleneck. Not try to shoot a way through. But it isn't something I do well.

At 2:35am on 8th mo. 23, 2011, Forrest Curo said…

Thee assumes too much, and assumptions have a way of blocking the view.


I've learned things from people who saw matters differently. If anyone saw things exactly the same as I did, I doubt we could learn much from each other.


Sometimes agreement simply means: People are looking at the same thing, and we see it the same because that's what's there. And sometimes it means, 'Everybody's been looking through the same warped lens.'


That's where disagreement can be enlightening: 'If I were over there, then __ would look that way.'


Or, alternatively, 'If I had my head stuck there, it would be very dark.'


Thee has been a difficult person, indulging in considerable unnecessary roughness, apparently believing that you know what I mean better than I do.


You want better relations; so do I. So let's just start from that!

At 12:19am on 8th mo. 22, 2011, Forrest Curo said…
What good is a friend who agrees on everything?
At 10:24am on 8th mo. 9, 2009, Alice Yaxley said…
Hello Marv! Thanks for your comment on my wall. Yup, the centre of our city was bombed flat in WW2 because it was a centre for munitions factories - which weren't hit because they were round the edge of the city. So Coventry has a big commitment to peace and reconciliation now.

One of the friends at our meeting is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. It's not true to say no-one did anything: people tried to help and hide each other, and some saved each other. Such events don't come from nowhere: they erupt from injustices and oppression, hurt upon hurt and lies and incitement. Interrupting the causes of violence is where I put my energy.

The transforming power of God has the possibility for redeeming each of us, wiping away the hurts we have received, and leading us to live useful lives of healing and reconciliation. That's where my hope is for overcoming wars. When I live in the light of Christ Jesus's life, I am working to end the cycle of violence.

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