Eric's Sunday Sermon; Peaceful resistance; King, Mandela, Gandhi, Anthony and Christ.
I really don't get the idea of a narrow path being spiritually better.
Should we kill the messenger.
We are challenged. We are attacked. Our views are not respected. Our grandfathers were treated poorly. We feel looked down upon. We feel hurt by other's words. We think the world should be fair. We think that the notion of all people being equal includes not praising talent of one over another. We are bullied. We are denied our basic human rights. We are grossly cussed at. We are called names. We quite literally are spit upon. We are physically abused.
And so in all righteousness we look to the above leaders as folks who fought others for our rights and dignity. Oh no we have no such right. Absolutely these people did not fight with others for rights and respect. They petitioned and argued and stood for people and not against them. It is we who glorify conflict who put the label of "fighters" on these great ones for peace. We project our practice of attacking onto them.
We should be moved by worthy concepts and principles not principals. We should not be dissuaded or intimidated or even provoked into conflict by individuals but only by self-evident truths.
We do not go so far here as to say we should not be effected by others. Indeed we must be moved by suffering of others. And we must be uplifted and motivated and loved by others and feel that from others. But should we be effected by those who insult and belittle us? Yes! But who is in control of just how that affects us?
Now if we see suffering and slavery and wrongful subjugation we must stand against it. But it does not mean that we stand against a person.
And what of how we respond when in fact we are attacked. Our heroes above teach us well in this regard.
I do not ask anymore about why I get love.
Our children work toward graduation in school from 4 up.
Giving up the ghost and our right!
The use of words to harm another is an interesting method of stewardship of the gift of being literate. As an area of inspection we look at the words that are considered foul language. We would all agree that in proper measure at appropriate times these words can be inserted into writing or speech. And most would include offensive language in that which is protected by free speech not being infringed upon by the government. But we would be mindful that excessive use of such language is probably an indicator that the speaker cannot effectively summon more accurate words to present a thought. So how do we respond to such folks who have a literary handicap. Do we get insulted or offended by their shortcomings? Do we reduce our own language skills to converse on their level? Of course in rational thought we would never do such things.
So now why in our cantankerous current atmosphere do we not consider such devolution of our own skills of communication as bad, and current vitriolic use of language as inept?
Let us stay with the notion of how we use our language. We should agree that literacy is a gift. That it is just the luck of birth that gives us that talent. At least 1/3 of the world is without proper tools to bring about anything more than the most primal of linguistics. Bump it up a notch to being able to read and write, and you have about 2/5s being without. Bring it to a level of a full US high school diploma and you can see where this goes. I think we all understand that the pen is mightier than the sword. It can be a defensive or offensive weapon to be used to support civil society. And we see great writings that do this.
So how come in today’s inter-global writings do we see attacks on people and not concepts? I did a little time as a canonical lawyer – better to say council. It was a bit tough as the study was brutal. I did it regarding Episcopal law and Missionary churches. It was drawn from stuff like Conquistadores input. Heavy Catholic influence. (fun to keep in mind that catholic means all churches in a worldly sense and Catholic meaning that Roman Catholic church that is a little bit doctrinal. ) It really is beneath the dogma and doctrine of any church to even criticize another. Which is silly. But it blends with our Christian notion of not attacking but taking that very painful slapping about the face in some multiple of seven.
Wait – you cannot do it with your fellows but antagonists get a hammer of hate? I am so sorry brethren but sure we fail but at the end of the day we must plan the next to apologize. It is not a level playing field and matching insult for insult must be confessed and repented and go ahead and give your best shot the next day. Progress not perfection as Christians.
I reckon I have come to peace with that. Bummer, I used to get paid to humiliate folks into submission and a restating of truth. Please do not call on me to do it again as we will both be disappointed.
The reason I share this is not so much the song but rather the lack of speech in our characters.
Just another canyon within a canyon.
Sometimes it is just too hard to stay in peace.
Do we need to use physical violence in order to be violent? Can our speech be violent and actually cause a physical pain? Well raise your voice to a small child and even suggest they are bad and the tears that flow reflect a real hurt. I had a buddy who went to a parochial school and he related that the head priest told him he was a dirty sinner. Perhaps a far deeper hurt than any ruler across the knuckles.
So now we get to the kicker. When we say that our above heroes were not violent we dismiss physical violence or inciting it, it just did not happen. But we must look a little deeper to see what peaceful resistance really means. Let us try this on. The words we use can create peace. To people angry with each other are locked up in a room, it is all anger. Two people, one angry and one at peace, locked up in a room?? It really does not matter what the anger or peace is about – it is an is. Why would we say that someone angers us but not that someone peaces us?
We just know that change brings support and resistance. It can even happen within one person. There is fear about the future and there is fear about the now. Where there is fear the person experiencing it can choose peace or violence.
So when the change is too fast or too slow we lash out at the person on the other end. Notice we are talking about emotions here. Rational and logical can never justify negative violent speech. It is purely emotional. So never ever ever listen to a very angry person attempting to speak in the rational. They are disconnected with anger. And yet we see from our heroes they are connected with peace. A really angry mathematician has never created new concepts in their field. Darwin, Einstein, Edison and Newton were by all accounts peaceful men.
For me it is “yea though I walk through shadow of the valley of darkness”, for I create my own shadow and valley by speaking in anger. Yet I can create a mountain top experience if I speak through peace. Who can be perfect at this and not be drawn into the dark valley? No one can. But let us give it our best shot. And let us gently help others to also.