Why do we do this to each other?

A good friend of mine recently forwarded an article to me which spoke of the discovery of the remains of a 1,600-year-old Byzantine basilica at the site of the Councils of Nicaea, at the bottom of a lake in northwest Turkey. According to a local expert, the church was most likely built in the 4th century in honor of St. Neophytos, who was martyred by Roman soldiers (in a most brutal manner) during the time of Roman emperor Diocletian in 303.

Reading this has once again caused me to reflect on how, throughout thburning at stakee ages, we have used violence to silence people who dare to threaten the status quo – those who dare to speak truth to laws, dogmas, and social mores which are not life-giving. To take it further, what of using violence against each other in the name of religion? The fruits of such behavior can be manifested in many ways, such as through racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, xenophobia, and classicism. This certainly also gives us an opportunity to consider our image of God. Is it one who is “all-powerful”? Angry? Vengeful? Or, what about a God who is vulnerable, peaceful, and loving? To go even deeper, what or who is God to mdove of peacee?

On a personal level, I know that I, as an imperfect human being, must also consider what violence lurks in my own heart at various levels, even if it be in thought only. I pray that I will always strive to have a heart which is peaceful and compassionate.

Seeing More Clearly

HELLO! Well, I’ve returned from a 2-year hiatus. Happy to be back! I hope to be more faithful to sharing my thoughts and impressions of living a peaceful and just life in the years to come!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I’ve long been terribly nearsighted. In fact, I’ve been wearing glasses since the 5th grade. The thing was, back in the elementary school days, I really didn’t realize what I was not able to see. Since I had no prior experience, I was oblivious to so many sights and corresponding understanding of life that I was missing.

. . . and then it happened . . .

I still recall it vividly: My Mom brought me to the optometrist’s office to fetch my new glasses (yes, the black, plastic-framed nerdy kind; but hey – it was the 1960’s) on a clearClear vision, sunny morning. On our way home, we stopped at a grocery store and I remained in the car as my Mom shopped. As I gazed through the windows, I looked up at a billboard that had long stood adjacent to the parking lot. Lo and behold – I could actually read the words and see the images clearly – something that I had never been able to do, or realize that it was even possible! With my limited life experience, I had just assumed that was how things were. My sense of wonder and amazement continued as I gazed upon buildings, various flora and fauna, vehicles, etc. with much more clarity! It was amazing! As the days and weeks unfolded, the astonishment continued through other events such as being able to read the chalkboard at school and to be able to watch TV at home farther than 3 feet away!

Such it is with life, I believe. As I struggle with the current divisiveness in our country’s politics and the discrimination that many people living on the margins endure worldwide, I often catch myself saying, “Good Lord! It’s the 21st Century! Don’t they ‘get it?’” Why do horrible things such as racism, sexism, classicism, homophobia, and xenophobia still exist? Yet, as I do honest assessments of myself, I can see parts of myself in my former years (and even present-day) embracing some of those same “isms” and “phobias” on different levels. Why? Well, for various reasons, mostly due to my lack of life experience, along with being a child of the 60’s and 70’s, I wasn’t even aware that I wasn’t seeing clearly – until certain life events nudged me into seeing things with more clarity and reacting (hopefully) appropriately.  My prayer is, then, that as I work for justice for those living on the margins. I also have a heart filled with compassion as I build bridges of understanding with those whose vision is not the same as mine.

Deep peace to all . . .