Peace Is For Everyone

It’s so hotly contested, but prayer may never be used to exclude people, it may only include people.

When you are in a group that prays in a certain way… a community of faith then prayer is a signature of that group.

But when the group is a public group, particularly a state run group such as a school, official prayer doesn’t belong.That’s the law of this country and I believe, as a minister, a good one. People pray differently or not at all. This is not a Christian nation. This is not who we were founded to be. If you’re proud to be American, be proud of what the country was founded to be.

But there are other reasons that I think prayer isn’t sportspersonlike. Nothing to stop someone from a quick prayer before sinking a penalty shot, although, as a theologian I would argue you would have done better to practice and the Divine shouldn’t be responsible for compensating for your lackadaisical approach to discipline.

But if the bonding is happening only with a few, even with most, and you’re leaving people out of the circle, then they are outside the circle not just at the beginning but also for the game. If they’re pretending, to fit in, then you’re still excluding them and reinforcing the fact that they are not really part of the group. This isn’t going to lead to good results for individuals or for the team.

This is all in reference to an article that talks about a school system that has been notified it must quit “official” prayer and come into accordance with the law. It says it’s a successful team. Does that mean it wouldn’t be successful if they don’t pray? Is there a reason they’ve got a coach? Because it is her/his job to teach a team the skills and reinforce the discipline to play the game well together.

A winning team will have a variety of players to enhance the program. A team that is inclusive, rather than exclusive, can have extraordinary results if you make space for new approaches.

People bring their religious selves with them wherever they are. What’s important is that they live what they believe rather than just talk about it.

I know, I’m an old Peacemaker. I believe that it’s the role of prayer to bring people together… and demanding that the Divine lead your team to victory over another… doesn’t fit that bill.

Prayer is not the only way to help people bond. Be your best self, find other ways to bond with people who are different from you.

Give Peace a chance. And follow the rules of the country.


Disciplined Practice for Peace

My husband is the best role model I have for pursuing a dream. I didn’t know him as a child, but watching him now, I know that he went after his dream 50 small hand motions at a time, and repeat.

He started when he was ten. He still does those things today. His hands have been hurting recently, so he starts as he always does, with them. Can’t do it the way he used to? what’s the new way to do it.

Then once those motions are in place, again, again, again, he can explore the music. Not that he doesn’t always explore music, but he gives it the honor it is due.

We have to be that for Peace. Practitioners, Practicers. Peace is an Art. You don’t just do art, you develop it. Same with Peace. Every day. Deliberate acts. Here we go.


Practicing for Peace

I’m not sure what the scales of Peace are… or the beats or the (enter sports analogy)…

But I know we need to practice them. It’s what will make Peace sing.

It’s important when you want do great things to have the basics at your fingertips.

Years of hours practicing scales means your fingers automatically know where to go. It means when the Peace process bogs down you have other notes to offer, other harmonies to try. What about this note, or this? The movements are instinctive.

Music is hard. Peace is hard. We need to practice and get good at it. Music practice, spiritual practice, Peace practice. Beautiful music changes the world. Peace changes the world. The practice is worth the time.

And oh, by the way, I think Beautiful Music can be a road to Peace — one we don’t talk often enough.


Peace Where You Find It

Peace is a practice. Or perhaps, more correctly stated, there are many ways to practice Peace. One of them, and I think it adds to all other practices is to pay attention, to notice.

We fasten easily on noticing what is wrong. But we move more deeply into Peace as we notice what is right, what is strong, what is beautiful. Blessing counting.

When we do this we fill up. When our hearts are full of good things, it’s easier to keep creating more. When our minds realize how many blessings there are, it strengthens us to deal with the horrors and helps us not to dwell there even as we work to transform. Noticing the Beauty helps us to become one of those beautiful things. One of my frequent prayerful admonitions to myself is to “Count my blessings and make myself a blessing to be counted.”