It’s in the Blood

Blood-Kin by kmls

In 1539, a fugitive former-priest-turned-Anabaptist, in his seminal work “The Foundation,” penned the following words:

“Christ is our fortress; patience our weapon of defense; the Word of God our sword. …Iron and metal spears and swords we leave to those who, alas, regard human blood and swine’s blood of well-nigh equal value.”

So said Menno Simons, principal leader of the Protestant sect which then became known as the Mennonites.

Almost 500 years later, his words still resound with a mighty truth.

At the risk of sounding morbid, it has to do with blood.

While Menno specifically refers to the difference between human blood and that of an animal, his larger point is the “value” we place on the blood of another.

My point is quite simple.

Killing will not end through education, conflict resolution, or disarmament, though all of these are important and can help. Killing will end only when there is a fundamental shift in the mind and heart of those who kill.

For how can you kill someone if you believe that their blood is just as valuable as your own?

Let’s call it – for lack of better term – bloodism. The other, their humanity, life, blood, is somehow less than I, and therefore, their humanity, life, blood, is not as valuable as my own. It becomes quite easy then to justify killing the other, ie. spilling his/her blood.

The directors of death throughout history from every nation, tribe and religion have understood and disseminated this concept quite well. A person (and those like him/her) is described as having the wrong beliefs, the wrong skin color, the wrong gender, the wrong age, the wrong station in life, the wrong land, the wrong possessions, the wrong clothing, the wrong language —- the wrong blood. These others are not as valued as you are, the leaders of the macabre scream, though they couch their speech in terms such as vigilance, freedom, history, security, and truth. Then the killing begins.

The Nazis did it to the Jews. Israelis do it to the Palestinians. Hutus did it to the Tutsis. Shiite do it to the Sunni. Palestinians do it to the Israelis. Sunni do it to the Shiite. Muslims do it to the Christians. Christians do it to the Muslims. This country does it to that country. That neighborhood does it to this neighborhood. This race does it to that race. That religion does it to this religion.

And any one of a million other combinations.

STOP!

Do not allow your mind and heart to be filled with bloodism.

We are made in the image of God.

ALL of us.

And that divine DNA resides in the very marrow of our bones and flows through our veins.

It’s in the blood.

Earth-Torn by kmls

Why I’m Giving Up on Peace

Earth-Torn by kmls

Things don’t look so good right now.

After the hope of the “Arab Spring,” the Middle East has dissolved into a perpetual war zone with no end in site. The torture and murder of youth in Israel-Palestine has opened another round of fresh blood-letting. A Malaysian jetliner is destroyed by a missile over war-torn Ukraine, the gruesome images tweeted for all to see. We are a world at war with itself, with around 50 conflicts globally as of this writing. The majority of deaths are civilian, “collateral damage” as it were, a dehumanizing term if ever there was one.

Here, our borders teem with desperate children. The gap between rich and poor widens. Solutions are short-sighted and generally involve some band-aid fix, like a new gadget, another casino, or more guns on the street. Congress is a bastion of impotence and hubris. We scrabble over issues that mean nothing like dogs after crumbs while the country and the world burns around us.

While we laud our technological advances, it seems the one thing we are most adept at is killing each other.

So last night my wife and I, as we are wont to do each evening, talked about our days and the state of this spinning sphere like some morbid carousel we find ourselves stuck on. We both have been at this so-called peace work for most of our lives. At times we wonder why. We went to bed rather depressed.

I awoke to a text message from her. She was sharing a scripture she read this morning.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone – especially to those in the family of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10). As she said in her text, pretty apropos.

Some things jumped out at me right away. We do good simply because it is the right thing to do. We do not limit who we do good to – “everyone” is pretty clear. Those closest to us, within the same family of faith, who sometimes are the hardest to do good to, are not to be left out either. Tenacity and obedience can overcome despair. We don’t give up. There is an end, a flowering of planted seed, a reaping of glorious fruit.

Our fight is not against flesh and blood. Nor should our faith and ultimate allegiance be in and to such. Despair arises when we are inundated with bad news and when our trust in human leadership and institutions has been broken yet again.

Rather we wage a war against the principalities and powers, the spiritual forces of evil in high places. Such a battle requires divine help and divine eyes to see the opportunities to do good as well as the Good News (gospel) occurring around us everyday.

So I’ve given up on peace.

But I have not given up on the good – doing it and being a part of it.

The rest I leave in the hands of the One who continues to hold this broken world in loving, gentle hands.

3-Fingers by kmls
Audio

SPOKEN WORD – 3 Fingers: Who Is Elliot Rodger?

3-Fingers by kmls

Audio reflection on the shooting that occurred in Isla Vista, California on May 23, 2014. Continue to pray for all of those affected by this tragedy as well as others around the world. And for men especially who continue to live out of the victim mentality.

Streaming:

Link:
https://archive.org/download/3FingersWhoIsElliotRodger/3%20Fingers%20-%20Who%20Is%20Elliot%20Rodger.mp3

Eat-More-Violence by kmls

The NEW Soylent Green

Eat-More-Violence by kmlsA Moses-like figure stands before the mic at an NRA convention and thunders, “I will give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.”

At the end of the sci fi film Soylent Green, that same actor implores his detective boss to spread the news, “Soylent Green is people!”

In the movie, as the corpses pile up from an overcrowded miserable earth, they are carted away in garbage trucks, secretly converted to Soylent Green, and fed back to the living. Soylent Green is better than the old Red and Yellow varieties, but it is scarce so there are riots. A detective played by Charlton Heston discovers the deception. In a word, humanity has become cannibals, feeding upon itself, in a state-sanctioned system of cyclical violence.

Such is the world created by the NRA. It plays upon the irrational fears of a few to continue to thwart common sense gun legislation. Its largely successful lobbying over the years has distorted the original intention of the Second Amendment so much so that it has become almost impossible to pass laws more in keeping with the Founders’ intent.

When the bodies continue to pile up as a result of gun violence and there is no legislative change primarily due to the lobbying of the NRA and the like, we are in every sense of the word disrespecting the dead and feeding upon ourselves.

In a state-sanctioned system of cyclical violence.

Like in Soylent Green.

And like the movie, the end result is not very pretty.

But go ahead. Watch the news.

Take another bite.

 

Death of Eli

ESSAY – The Book Of A Lie

Book_of_eliI am a post-apocalyptic person. I spend way too much time engaged with media and thoughts about the end of the world. There are very few stories about the survivors surviving as pacifists. Yet the blatant divination of violence in the Book of Eli takes killing in order to survive to the extreme. In a word: I am appalled at the explicit perpetration of the myth of redemptive violence in this film.

Synopsis: The world has suffered through a nuclear catastrophe. A blind man named Eli has the sole remaining copy of the Bible. He has heard a voice telling him to travel to the West Coast. The book is destined to help save the world. I concur.

However, I do not condone the overwhelming violence that Eli commits to “protect” the Book nor do I believe that because of the Book, he is somehow divinely protected from the violence of others. Eli (in the form of Denzel Washington) is simply one in a long line of heroes who use violence to bring about “good.” The end somehow justifies the means. That is a lie.

If violence is the means to an end then the end is simply more violence. We have it backwards. The means should justify the end.

It is beyond ironic that Eli is the name of the main character in the film. In Hebrew, Eli means “Ascent”; “Yahweh is the most high/God on high,” or simply “My God.” In other words, Eli is another name for God, in this instance a God who condones violence, whose ends are brought about by violent means. The all-too-real and sad implications of this belief today is that there are far too many members of the world’s monotheistic religions who are killing in the name of this El – i (My God), as a result of some “voice” they are hearing to protect the sanctity of their particular interpretation of the Book.

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