Strange gifts and good wishes in the darkest days of the northern year
I will follow with great interest Dougald. I don’t have the exact quote but Martin Shaw said recently about the response to malevolent forces in your direction being to “lob a prayer back”. Such a simple turn of phrase has stuck with me due to its power. I think of Alastair McIntosh’s book Poacher’s Pilgrimage, his work on non-violence with military leaders and his references to Walter Wink’s Engaging the Powers book. I wouldn’t call myself a Christian or even attempt to label myself, pick n mix might be easiest if a bit glib. But I share in a Christocentric world view and whether reading Taoist, Buddhist or other spiritual teachings, I often find something pointing back to the power of the cross and that message of sacrifice. So-called peace brought about through violence is never a lasting peace. I remember the Scottish band Travis brought out a song called ‘Peace the f*** out’ as the clamour for war in Iraq began to crescendo nearly 20 years ago. That may not be universally acclaimed message, but there was real feeling in the UK back the against that ‘intervention’. Where does peace start from at an individual level through to a national and global level? Maybe Ivan Illich has a pointer in his definition of convivial society and the freedom that entails. All the best for 2023 and I’ll go for the more widely used, slightly trivialised yet still powerful sign off - Peace Out.
Regarding"I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword" as stated by Jesus (as translated into English from Aramaic, 2000 years later):
Jesus made clear that "the sword of division" is necessary for any process of healing unity. Why? Because those who are unrepentantly for war and conflict as ways of life need to be revealed for what they really internally, believe in and stand for.
Otherwise, without honest exposure by self-revealing actions, the wolves can and do pass themselves off as the peace-desiring sheep. Once disguised as sheep inside the "fold", they wont hesitate to devour many an innocent mutton chop ..
In terms of Judaism, Jesus as the prince of peace and fulfillment of scriptural prophecy knew full well that certain Jewish priests- as lackeys of the Roman rulers- plotted violence against him.
If they truly desired the spiritual peace found only by being still, meditating to learn how to know God, they would have at least honored his controversial insights and saintly presence. Their jealousy over his and his disciples' healing gifts to the poorest of the poor Jews, couldn't be camouflaged.
Jesus desired no lip service. He rejected playing pattycake with those possessed by loathing for what he stood for.
What do you desire- believe in- secretly use as your practical life toolkit? Is it to secretly create division because of this or that excuse? Or is your desire to explore what peaceful power can do and be in your life- no matter what?
No peace is possible without first, self revelation.
Don't join NATO
Merkel disclosed that Minsk I/II was a stalling mechanism as NATO/USA geared up for the inevitable invassion by Russia as predicted by anyone in the know onRussia's red line. NATO got to go. USA military in: Europe and middle east. In Asai, in Japan, in Tiawan, need to be sent home. To all natipns of the world send usa troops home.
I believe that faith prostituted can often lead to secularization--as in Sweden.
I think we'll end up with a much better understanding of the world after we excavate everything that was buried but not entirely destroyed beneath the surface of the world's major religions.
Interesting, but why do you want an end to all war? Without war man devolves into, well, I suppose what we are now in the West.
"I bring a sword " a phrase I've not heard before ??
I also reflect "Religions, belief systems. God's and Goddesses are the best we can do with the information of the time to explain what goes bump in the night "
IE, we are attempting to understand the universal forces we are swimming in
Peace and prosperity Through responsibilities
Do tell more about Patmos, please. When, how, how much etc?