Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Snow and Grace

So, its snowing in Portland, funny how it seems to just freak everyone out something fierce.

“The weapons of faith seem virtually powerless deployed against the forces of ungrace. Can one fight nuclear warheads with a slingshot? Yet history shows that grace has its own power. Great leaders {Lincoln, Gandhi, king, Ravin, and Sadat come to mind, all of whom paid the ultimate price for defying the law of ungrace} can help create a national climate that leads to reconciliation.”

So, this encourages me. It encourages me because I can see how I feel so helpless sometimes. We can talk about all the crappy stuff that happens to people, and we get stuck in this theoretical place of trying to justify ourselves. Or we get stuck with these big issues and come to the conclusion that we have to meet somewhere in the middle ground. But I do feel that there is power in the ability to forgive. I feel that there is power in the ability to non-violently protest and speak against awful things. In the same manor that Paul Farmer brought health to a neglected people, we (YES! YOU and ME!) can do things. We can effect change. I wonder sometimes about non-violent things. I am a guy, and I am a guy in the military, no matter how many steps removed, I am paid to be able and willing to kill “all enemies foreign and domestic”. I have to look at that, I have been thinking about what that really means. The fault that I have always seen in pacifism is that it seems to fall apart at some level. If someone was killing someone in front of me, and I had a gun, would I stop them by killing the bad guy? What if they were trying to rape my sister? At some point there is something or someone that I would value enough to do something about. But lets play what if. What if its not my call? I know that god set out rules about if two guys are fighting in a field and one falls and hits his head and dies, that’s only manslaughter and not murder. Or if a woman is rapped in the country where no one is around, then just kill the rapist, but if she was rapped in the city where others were around, than kill both them because she should have screamed louder. I know that O.T. god set up rules that said when we are supposed to kill people and when we should not. But what if we had the faith to say that I trust that this person will have to face god someday and will be dealt with. Is that faith to trust in that kind of justice? But what of the now? That is something that I hate about some Christian theology, where we tell people that it sucks in this life, but have faith and it will be better in the next life, sure that’s nice and all, but what about now? What about giving that guy a crust of bread or a mattress? Is it the same kind of ignoring the now to not demand justice on the bad guy or to ignore the pain of the poor? Do not both of them have the same tones of saying this world is temporary and have faith that it will all work out in the end? So the logical conclusion is just to say that some times violence is justified as is justice necessary to help those around us that we have to share this world with? Yet it is a dangerous thing to claim that you are an agent of god. For vengeance or justice or “help”. Every time we help someone, we ignore someone else. Something that I read this morning about the Balkans made me think about things that I had not thought of before. In looking at it from my perspective (I got a medal for my part in the military actions over there) Serbs were the “bad guys” they were killing off thousands of Croats and that’s a bad thing, I felt fairly OK with myself for helping to stop that. But what is the history of that? Some of the history is that the Croats were in with the Nazi’s who exterminated thousands of Serbs. This is an ugliness and pain that is generations old. With every person that we help with force (aka save via violence) we hurt someone else and that will do nothing but perpetuate this hate of each other. But how can we just stand by and watch people getting killed and mutilated and rapped? I want to say that its easy enough to say that we need to offer forgiveness, but a big part of me wants to say that its not our place to offer that forgiveness, but is that not the call of Christ? To forgive. To forgive everything, all the stuff that is not only against us, but against others.


“Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.” ~ MLK Jr.