Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Own Personal Master of War

Our friend Rachel Held Evans asked yesterday how we live lives of non-violence in the face of so much wanton violence - especially as violence seems to be the only tool the American Empire knows how to do.

Of course, the problem with this is that we rarely question our own violence - or our complicity in the violence around us. I talked before about my boisterously violent imagination, but I guess I hadn't considered outlining solutions. Here's some of Rachel's considerations:
  • I can meditate on the teachings of Jesus.
  • I can refuse to be violent with my words.
  • I can study the imaginative work of peaceful activists like Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr.
  • I can strive to internalize and exhibit the fruit of the spirit.
  • I can pray for our nation’s enemies.
  • I can educate myself on foreign policy.
  • I can practice being a peacemaker in small conflicts in order to prepare for larger ones.
  • I can control my temper.
  • I can love the people in my life that it is hardest for me to love, so that maybe one day I will be prepared to love actual enemies.
  • (And I can be grateful that, for now, I don’t really have any. )

I can be faithful in the small things in case one day I am trusted with something bigger.
End the violence.photo © 2008 Myrrien | more info (via: Wylio)I think these are good focalizing and centralizing points. They help us to prepare the mind and the spirit for the long-haul of passive-resistance, of loving the enemy when the enemy may not be so lovable.

I'd like to consider a few other ways to reduce violence in the world and would like some further suggestions:

  • Write your senator, president, representative and tell them that war is never just.
  • Phone bank them to tell them to begin defunding the Dept of Defense (or the more accurate name of the "Department of Attax!").
  • Realize that our consumerist way of living both funds and necessitates war and violence against third world citizens.
  • Live local. Stop driving.
  • Walk, bike, share.
  • Buy local foods.
  • Buy less meats, and certainly fewer factory farmed meats.
  • Buy fewer clothes. Send your old ones to the cleaner for alterations. And buy them second hand. And then give back to the Salvation Army or other thrift store (but not one that sends them overseas, because that destroys native textile work) when you're done with them.
  • Call Obama and beg him to give back his Peace Medal.
  • Petition that no public school be run and indoctrinated by US military.
  • Ask to de-fund the CIA.
  • Reuse.
  • Recycle.
  • Renew.
  • Buy less crap. A lot less.
And now I'd like to hear some of your thoughts. I'll add to this list as we discuss this. Thanks!


  1. gotta admit that Department of Defense joke was quite funny.

    and I can be a better driver - as people experience most desire for violence while driving.

  2. Driving! I was thinking yesterday how vehicles are potential weapons (and quite often used as such). Not to mention the violence they do to the ecosystem (or, as i hinted, but not sure i was quite explicit in above) or the necessity for violence when the US needs most of the oil and will control whatever states may get in between us and our gas.

  3. I think all these ideas are great. I like how you mentioned eating less meat, especially factory farmed meat. I would also add to stop attending circuses and other entertainment industries that profit from the suffering and cruelty of sentient beings. When we start to have compassion towards the simplest of creatures than our sense of compassion for man becomes even greater.

  4. i used to love taking my daughter to the zoo, until my stupid conscience got ahold of me and asked why i'd take her to a prison for animals...

    sigh. stupid conscience!


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