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.

virtual-terrorist-by-kmls
Audio

Virtual Terrorist – A Tale of East and West

virtual-terrorist-by-kmls

in the West, the Man-Boy plays with his toy
joystick or drone
killing me softly alone
Xbox Wii PS4
smart bombs virtual war

in the East, the Boy-Man hears the siren’s song of martyrdom
heaven with a harem
pull the trigger
pull the pin
pay the price for another’s sin

in the East and the West we are losing this fight
whether with an army of vegetables induced by FPS comas
or those in the more permanent sleep
obliterated by shrapnel and suicide vests

while we obsess about the terrorists in faraway lands
we have already succumbed to an invasion by screen

in the East a Boy-Man’s body is blown to bits
in the West a Man-Boy’s mind counts up his hits

both are dead
one literal dust
the other lost in microcircuits

link:
https://archive.org/details/VirtualTerrorist

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

July 4th in Peace and Justice History

teddy bears 1The following are a few of the peace and justice related historical events that have occurred on July 4:

1804 – Birth of Author Nathaniel Hawthorne who wrote “Chiefly About War-Matters” detailing his opposition to the Civil War Hawthorne 1827 - Slavery is abolished in NY

1845 - Pacifist Henry David Thoreau moves into his shack on Walden Pond where he will live for two years thoreau 1845 – Philanthropist and Humanitarian Thomas John Barnardo, who helped create homes for 100,000 poor children, is born in Dublin

1852 – African-American Abolitionist Frederick Douglas gives his famous speech “The Meaning of July 4th to the Negro” (speech given on July 5) douglas 1881 - African-American educational pioneer Booker T. Washington establishes Tuskegee Institute (Alabama) Booker t Washington 1941 - Howard Florey & Norman Heatley meet for 1st time, 11 days later they successfully recreate penicillin

1941 – Vietnam Veteran and Peace Activist Brian Wilson is born

1946 – Birth of Ronald Lawrence Kovican American anti-war activist, veteran and writer who was paralyzed in the Vietnam War. He is best known as the author of the memoir Born on the Fourth of July. born on july 4 1951 – The “Capital Times” in Madison, Wisconsin, reported that one of its reporters was turned down by 99 out of 100 people he asked to sign a petition made up of quotations from the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Many said the petition was subversive.

1966 - US President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act, which makes government information more publicly available.

1969 - “Give Peace a Chance” by Plastic Ono Band is released in UK Givechance 1972 - Lee Hu-rak, South Korean President Park Chung-hee’s top intelligence officer, helped broker a joint statement, the first major accord since 1953, in which the two Koreas agreed to work toward peacefully reunifying their divided peninsula.

1987 – Bill Graham took Santana, the Doobie Brothers and Bonny Rait to Moscow for an American-Soviet peace concert.

1993 – South African leaders F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela received the Liberty Medal in a ceremony outside Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

de klerk mandela

1997 – In Guatemala Pres. Alvaro Arzu fired 2 top military officials, after they had helped negotiate a peace treaty. They were known as moderates and the hard-liner Gen’l. Hector Barrios took over as the new defense chief.

1999 – A 2,000 pound tombstone for “Unknown Civilians Killed in Wars” departed from Sherborn, Mass., on a 450-mile trek to Arlington National Cemetery. It was impounded by police on August 6 for safekeeping pending approval by Congress. In the 20th century 62 million civilians died in wars as compared to 43 million military people. uckiw 1999 – In Puerto Rico anti US Navy protests drew some 50,000 people.

2005 – In Austria, representatives from more than 100 countries gathered at the UN nuclear (IAEA) agency’s Vienna headquarters to consider strengthening international laws meant to safeguard nuclear materials from theft and prevent terrorist attacks on atomic power plants.

2012 – A Swedish ad team from Studio Total dropped hundreds of teddy bears carrying messages promoting human rights onto Belarus. teddy bears SOURCES: http://www.timelines.ws/days/07_04.HTML, Wikipedia, others