Peace, man.  Blessed are the peace makers.  Peace, out.  All we are saying is give peace a chance.  Visualize whirled peas.  uhm, I mean, world peace.

Words from the hippies.  And Jesus.  And modern urban contemporary types.  And John Lennon.  And snarky (uhm, I mean yuppie) bumper stickers.  Obviously, the word “peace” is the common denominator for a diverse gathering of people and groups.

Peace is on my mind, right now.  Probably more importantly, it’s on my heart now.

Perhaps it is humanities biggest failure.   It exists in so many different levels.  One of the things that all these different things have in common is that we all claim to want it and yet very few of us can claim to have it.

In the modern era (let’s say about 1600ish to about 1950) we defined things, often, by focusing on what the thing was not.  So we defined physical health as the lack of physical illness.  We defined mental health as the lack of mental illness.  We defined “right” behavior as the avoidance of “bad” things. We defined peace as the lack of war.

In this post modern era, I think that one of the things we are getting right is working on definitions that are more than lists of what a thing isn’t.  Physical health is about the possession of stong physical characteristics.  Mental health is the attainment of self-actualization.  Right behavior is more than just avoiding the “should nots”– to do right, there are things we should do.  Peace is more than just the lack of war.

Perhaps it makes the same point differently to say that a society which is militarily peaceful might be unpeaceful in all sorts of other ways.  A society might not be in a military, physical war, and it’s citizens might be far from peaceful.   Or the citizens might not be at peace.

I think that’s a distinction worth dwelling on: the difference between a person being peaceful and a person being at peace.

A person who is peaceful is a person who wouldn’t use violence to achieve what they want or need.  A person who is at peace is a person who is not conflicted: a person who is comfortable with who and where they are… a person who is comfortable in her own skin.

So a person who is peaceful and yet not at peace might be a pacificist.  To the outside world, they would appear gentle.  And yet, perhaps they would feel intensely about the people who they treat peacefully.  Perhaps they hate them.  Perhaps they hate themselves for hating them.  And yet they do nothing about this hate: Peaceful, but not at peace.

On the other hand, a person might be very violent.  But they might be o.k. wit this fact.  They might be comfortable with using violence.  At peace, and yet not peaceful.

I think the hope I have for myself, and also for you, is that we might live peacefully and be at peace.  There is lots more that I think is worth being said, but I think that is a good place to stop, for now: May you live peacefully and bet at peace.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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