The Inner Voice of Who Knows What

the pilgrimage: Henri Nouwen and my own topsy-turvy little heart

Peace in Perspective I

I just got home from the Fresno Center for Non-Violence’s 15th Anniversary party of sorts… A great thing to celebrate!

But far from celebrating a legacy of peace-making and looking toward a hopeful future of non-violent change to come, the featured speaker hit on a narrow, entrenched, exacerbated, and ironically near-militarized agenda.
Yes, the Bush administration has done wrong, a lot wrong. Yes, the US should not have invaded Iraq. Yes, our nation should never be allowed to abuse our power in such atrocious ways.

But to slam a few people in power and only further hostilities between already hostile groups… that doesn’t seem very peaceful in itself. I love the fact that people outside the power realm are enthusiastic about speaking up and willing to be bold enough to say that there is something very wrong occurring. But how far are we really going to get when all we do is shift the power to the other side of the equation? How much does hardcore leftism counteract hardcore rightism in a way that actually seeks peace?

At one point the speaker began to highlight the differences between Democrats and Republicans, on the issue of the Iraq war. I couldn’t help but think to myself, Isn’t there something more? Isn’t there any other system we can look to that allows us the freedom to go beyond our allegiances to one or the other extreme of the political spectrum?

Not to be a SuperChristian… shudder… but I think that here lies the beauty of a faith beyond this earth and its oh-so-fallible systems. As followers of another revolutionary leader, we pledge allegiance to a higher power. We invest in a system of politics that completely transcends them.

The speaker missed this third option of loyalty. We don’t have to immerse ourselves in one horizontal extreme or the other; there is another plane of existence that provides a wholly alternative policy.

If there is anything good about believing and living in step with a higher power (which I happen to believe is a good thing anyway), it is the fact that we are not bound by our earthly systems. They fail. That’s life. But something remains beyond political systems that often don’t quite make sense…

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