A hundred and fifty of us gathered on Sunday night, Aug. 5, at Ashley Pond in Los Alamos, New Mexico, at the exact spot where long ago the Hiroshima Bomb was built. Right at 5:15 p.m -- 8:15 a.m. Monday morning, Aug. 6 in Japan -- we heard live, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, the ringing of the Peace Bell in Hiroshima.
On the Road to Peace
Editor's note: This meditation is the fifth of a five-part summer series on the peace writings in the psalms.
They have mouths but do not speak, eyes but do not see.
They have ears but do not hear, noses but do not smell.
They have hands but do not feel, feet but do not walk,
and no sound rises from their throats.
Their makers shall be like them, all who trust in them." (Ps. 115: 4-8)
Editor's note: This meditation is the fourth of a five-part summer series on the peace writings in the psalms.
Editor's note: This meditation is the third of a five-part summer series on the peace writings in the psalms.
Editor's note: This meditation is the second of a five-part summer series on the peace writings in the psalms.
Editor's note: This meditation is the first of a five-part summer series on the peace writings in the psalms.
Psalm 33 is a hymn of praise to the God of peace and a warning to those who place their hope and trust in the false gods of war. You can't serve both the God of peace and the weapons of war, it announces. It's one or the other. Show reverence to the God of peace and live in peace, gratitude and joy, or show reverence to the weapons of war and their false security and die. That's the message I get from the text. It's more radical -- and helpful -- than any spiritual writing you'll find today.
It was hot and muggy this past weekend at the campsite outside of Chapel Hill, N.C., where about 2,000 progressive Christians gathered for the second annual ecumenical Wild Goose Festival, but people didn't seem to mind. Everyone enjoyed the music, the speakers, the prayer groups, the art booths, the kids' games, and the conversations with old and new friends. I, too, was happy to catch up with many friends, among them civil rights leader and theologian Vincent Harding. He has taught for the last few decades at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, but he is best known for his work with Martin Luther King Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the 1960s and for drafting speeches for Dr. King, including his famous April 4, 1967, speech against the Vietnam War.
On Dec. 11, 2009, Palestinian Christians issued a heartfelt, sober, prayerful, urgent cry for help to end the U.S.-backed Israeli occupation. Their Kairos document was called: "A Moment of Truth: A Word of Faith, Hope and Love from the Heart of Palestinian Suffering." Yesterday, after two years of work, Christian leaders from around the United States, calling themselves Kairos USA, released an official response. I urge every Christian in the U.S. to read the response (as well as the original Kairos Palestine document), to pray over it, talk about it and join the growing movement to end the occupation.
"The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."
That's the advice of Howard Zinn and the insight of a helpful new book, Healing the Future: Personal Recovery from Societal Wounding by Dennis Linn, Sheila Faricant Linn and Jesuit Fr. Matthew Linn (Paulist Press, June 2012). The Linns have long taught that we are all wounded in our personal lives by our parents, families and childhood, but now the entire toxic culture of violence is poisoning each one of us.
There have been hundreds of thousands of acts of nonviolent civil disobedience in U.S. history that have helped the cause of justice and peace. The Boston Tea Party, Thoreau's one night in jail, the suffragists who blocked the White House entrance, Rosa Parks' refusal to move to the back of the bus -- concerned people throughout our history have confronted injustice through civil disobedience as a way to change unjust laws. Indeed, one could argue that positive social change can only come "after good people break bad laws and accept the consequences." In recent years, thousands have been arrested for protesting the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the evil Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, mountaintop removal, and Wall Street corporate greed in the Occupy movement. Two weeks ago, thousands protested draconian laws in Montreal in the largest protest in Canadian history.