Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Peace, Love, and Understanding

As I walk through this wicked world

Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity

I ask myself, "Is all hope lost?

Is there only pain and hatred and misery?"

And each time I feel like this inside

There's one thing I wanna know

What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?


And as I walk on through troubled times

My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes

So where are the strong and who are the trusted?

And where is the harmony, sweet harmony?

'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away

Just makes me wanna cry

What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?


So where are the strong and who are the trusted?

And where is the harmony, sweet harmony?

'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away

Just makes me wanna cry

What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?

          Words by Nick Lowe, Sing by Elvis Costello



For me the question is this;

What is so hard about peace, love, and understanding?


Why is it so hard to be kind?

Why is it so hard to put down the guns?

Why is it so hard to listen?

Why is it so hard to put the other first?


It is a serious question.

Some people say the answer is fear.

People are afraid of what is different.

Afraid of change.

Afraid of losing power and influence.

Afraid of not having enough.


Ok, perhaps.

Some say our minds have been tainted and twisted by political agendas,

the lust for power, the desire for wealth.

They say that we have become programmed by the manipulators and have

become ideologically impaired.


That we are walking through life under the influence of malign forces.

That too is probably part of the problem.


I suspect one could ponder for hours, even days,

and we would always circle around to this.


Peace, love, and understanding will always seem “funny” and weird,

and functionally unobtainable

if we haven’t experienced or don’t trust our God-given “power within.”


If we are not “filled with Sacred (Spirit) we are afraid of everything, and our response is to exert too much power over others in order to be safe.


In our distrust we have created enduring structures of “power-over,” like patriarchy, white supremacy, and rigid capitalism, and keep others “down” and “controlled.” 


We have created what Beatrice Bruteau calls the “domination paradigm.”  And this is a paradigm that kills peace, love, and understanding. Domination is not an equal opportunity concept.  In that paradigm relationship are not multi-directional.  People are not equals.  Power does not move the same in both directions. One commands, the other obeys. One shows respect, the other accepts it but does not return it. One gains privileges from which the other is excluded.


The church, which was meant to destroy the domination paradigm for the communion paradigm, where people are in communion and work for others, all others, has instead embraced the domination paradigm and become ugly.


With the domination paradigm God plays favorites.  God blesses our tribe (God Bless America) but not other tribes.  We fail to accept that God does not play favorites. That God loves all equally.


Until we are willing to accept that we were designed to be in community.

Until we are willing to believe that Jesus meant it when he said we have to die to our toxic individualism.

Until we are willing to give up our rights, our privileges, our power, our resources, so that all can not just survive but equally flourish,

Until we grab hold of the model Jesus gave us of “emptying”, kenosis,


Until we take the cross seriously,

not as divine punishment, and then, weirdly divine rescue

but as human ugliness, and divine model for reconciliation and restoration,


we will not get to peace, love, and understanding.


But if we do?


Well, that is when we get the peaceable kingdom

a “new heaven and a new earth”

the Kingdom of heaven


Domination will not get us safety, or ultimately real power

Community will.


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