Our friend Rachel Held Evans asked yesterday how we live lives of non-violence in the face of so much wanton violence – especially as violence seems to be the only tool the American Empire knows how to do.
Of course, the problem with this is that we rarely question our own violence – or our complicity in the violence around us. I talked before about my boisterously violent imagination, but I guess I hadn’t considered outlining solutions. Here’s some of Rachel’s considerations:
- I can meditate on the teachings of Jesus.
- I can refuse to be violent with my words.
- I can study the imaginative work of peaceful activists like Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr.
- I can strive to internalize and exhibit the fruit of the spirit.
- I can pray for our nation’s enemies.
- I can educate myself on foreign policy.
- I can practice being a peacemaker in small conflicts in order to prepare for larger ones.
- I can control my temper.
- I can love the people in my life that it is hardest for me to love, so that maybe one day I will be prepared to love actual enemies.
- (And I can be grateful that, for now, I don’t really have any. )
I can be faithful in the small things in case one day I am trusted with something bigger.
photo © 2008 Myrrien | more info (via: Wylio)I think these are good focalizing and centralizing points. They help us to prepare the mind and the spirit for the long-haul of passive-resistance, of loving the enemy when the enemy may not be so lovable.
I’d like to consider a few other ways to reduce violence in the world and would like some further suggestions:
- Write your senator, president, representative and tell them that war is never just.
- Phone bank them to tell them to begin defunding the Dept of Defense (or the more accurate name of the “Department of Attax!”).
- Realize that our consumerist way of living both funds and necessitates war and violence against third world citizens.
- Live local. Stop driving.
- Walk, bike, share.
- Buy local foods.
- Buy less meats, and certainly fewer factory farmed meats.
- Buy fewer clothes. Send your old ones to the cleaner for alterations. And buy them second hand. And then give back to the Salvation Army or other thrift store (but not one that sends them overseas, because that destroys native textile work) when you’re done with them.
- Call Obama and beg him to give back his Peace Medal.
- Petition that no public school be run and indoctrinated by US military.
- Ask to de-fund the CIA.
- Buy less crap. A lot less.
And now I’d like to hear some of your thoughts. I’ll add to this list as we discuss this. Thanks!