The Complexity of Peace

Many of you know that I spend the Summer reading in preparation for the next preaching/working year. I pack these slow summer days with all sorts of topics. I do a lot of fluffy reading to balance the serious stuff! But as I said the other day, even those books begin to be read through another lens.

This year I’ve been reading about racism, white privilege, the breakdown of community, migration and immigration. Oh, and just for the hell of it, because I wasn’t overwhelmed enough, modern day slavery. It can be overwhelming. Luckily, I’ve found a couple volumes that celebrate small steps people all over the world are taking to make a difference. This is wildly reassuring, because the analyses I’m reading are pretty overwhelming.

There is much that is wrong. There is too much that is tolerated. I live in a small town and work with a small church. We’re not going to solve any of these problems on a global level. What we may do is chip away at some of them in our own little area. We will not solve poverty, but we may help to stave off hunger for children on weekends until solutions — and we can ask our politicians for better, workable solutions.

In a world where we hear incessantly that the world is falling apart we can be better neighbors. We can form a community that works to support one another and invite others to join us. We can make sure that we open our eyes and hearts to all our neighbors and invite them as we try to stitch together new models for community.

And we can keep getting informed. The problems we face as a nation, as a world, are overwhelming. One of the things that has helped me cope with all this reading is the long drives I’ve been taking between friends who are thinking about issues — some the same, some different.

Before I got on the road for yesterday’s drive, I received the picture for today.  I slowly realized I’d been dumping everything into one big salad bowl and that maybe I needed to spend more time thinking of things separately. When things are all in the same bowl, they don’t get all the attention they’re due. There are many similarities. But there are differences as well. And we must explore all that.

Peace demands that we not gloss over things — if we do, it won’t be Peace, will it?