you are here: topics / non-violence-2 73-84 of 138 « 7 of 12 »    

Sanctuary for All Life: The Cowbalah of Jim Corbett

Sanctuary for All Life hallows humans’ relationship to the earth in words that point to a realm beyond words, a Peaceable Kingdom beyond the thrall of kings and states, living a law that trumps all written codes because it is “in your mouth and in your heart” (Deuteronomy 30:14). To show the way, Corbett obstinately synthesized the disparate disciplines in which he had steeped himself, from analysis of the range-grasses of the Sonoran desert to dissection of the finer points of the medieval Jewish mysticism of Spain. But what else could we have expected from a Quaker cowboy with a masters in philosophy from Harvard? Added to these challenges for the reader was his death in 2001 at age 67 from a rare brain disease that cut short his completion of the book.

read more

“Christian” A-theism, Part II: What Language Shall I Borrow?

Part One in this series considered the notion of “God,” or “gods,” as the single most elusive idea the human imagination has ever concocted or tried to fathom. But we typically constrain ourselves, thinking only in theistic terms; and fashion our notion of “God” in an anthropomorphic image so we can more easily relate to the idea. We ascribe to such a being all kinds of desirable characteristics that might comprise this composite character. The Christian then proceeds to incarnate that idea with a Christology in which Jesus is typically construed as mediator and chief negotiator; to the extent such a savior is willing to atone for all our wretchedness and secure our own immortality in another existence. It’s all pretty fanciful stuff. But for those progressives for whom such a construct is no longer viable or credible, it is not simply a question of what remains amidst the theological rubble, but what more, or other, might yet be discovered? As such, we ask how we might speak of such things. What language might we use?

read more

Guns, Fear, and Power

Beyond the stats, beyond the grief, beyond the finger-pointing, beyond the “culture wars” lies the solution to eleven thousand deaths by gunfire per year in the United States.

read more

Religion and Violence

World religions foster justice,
Teach of wisdom to pursue;
Why then is there so much malice
In what some believers do?

read more

Imagining a Different World

I do not believe there is such a thing as a just war anymore, if there ever was one. Our weapons are too destructive and wars are seldom about territory or borders. They cannot be decisively won. Today wars are mostly about ideology and religion. They are about culture. Certainly we have not been winners in the last three wars which we have initiated and participated in. There are far more meaningful and sophisticated ways to deal with conflict today. We could do better if we developed different attitudes and skills at conflict resolution. It would also help if our leaders knew a little more about the history and cultures of the areas in which we get involved.

read more

SYRIA, POISON GAS, MISSILE STRIKES AND PEACE?

It has been both an emotional and a political roller-coaster. The television newscasters and the print media informed us that a political debate was underway as to whether or not the armed might of this country should be used to punish the Syrian government for violating the universal condemnation against chemical warfare that has governed the world since the horror of gas in the trenches in World War I. Pictures were released of small children, who had been the victims of sarin gas. The pictures were chilling. I enquired of a medical expert about the effects of sarin gas on the human body. He shuddered even to talk about it. His sentences were short and declarative. “It is deadly.” “There is no protection.” “Suffering is intense.” “Death is inevitable.” For almost one hundred years, despite brutal wars, both worldwide and local, with weapon enhancements like atomic power and cruise missiles, the prohibition against chemical warfare has still been generally adhered to by the nations of the world until this moment. Now the Syrian government has breeched this taboo, in an action widely believed to have been ordered by its president, Bashar al-Assad. I did not disagree with the official statement of facts and yet the debate itself struck me as deeply irrational.

read more

A Pessimist for Peace, And the Question of a Just War

Our nation is currently embroiled in a contentious debate over the Syrian regimeʼs alleged use of chemical weapons, and what should be the appropriate response by the U.S. and the international community. Public opinion polls comprising an odd coalition of liberal peace-nicks, a war weary citizenry and political antagonists who oppose in knee-jerk fashion most all of the Presidentʼs proposals, all suggest strong opposition to our countryʼs military involvement of any kind in yet another Middle East conflict. Regardless, the underlying question and dilemma remains. Is there a moral imperative to act? If so, how? What is the justification for a violent response to a deplorable, unjust and violent act?

read more

Syria: Groupthink or Grouppray?

With morbid fascination, I’m watching the leaders of the United States group-think their way into a counter-productive use of American military force. It’s disturbing to observe otherwise intelligent and well-motivated public servants drift into a bad decision.

read more

St. Augustine and Syria

Christianity has concerned itself with matters of war and peace for almost its entire history. The one unifying assumption of the faith has been that war is terrible and is to be avoided assiduously. There has always been a part of Christianity that has rejected war absolutely, considering participation in it to be completely contrary to the teachings of Jesus. But alongside it has been a strand of the faith that recognizes that war is morally justified in certain circumstances. “Just war theory” dates back to St. Augustine in the early days of the church. I think it still is a useful way of prayerfully considering whether or not a war, and/or one’s participation in it, is appropriate.

read more
you are here: topics / non-violence-2 73-84 of 138 « 7 of 12 »