Can we just have an honest chat this morning?
I know my last post was...hard...for some people. I know some of you were just plain angry about it. Can we talk about it a bit today, honestly and openly?
It's an interesting thing, as you get older, to find that the kind of soul work that is the hardest, most meaningful for you, often comes across to others as cliche or trite. Please know I didn't intend to be either of those things in the last post. Tragedy and violence in the world are horrors that I feel deeply and I am not simply avoiding or trying to paint a glossy veneer over them when I echo the Scriptures and say "think on these things."
Over the last couple of years, the chronic stress and chaos in our lives has brought me to a new place. I feel depression and despair hunching over my shoulder, just waiting for a chance to be invited in. There have been very dark periods when even "hope" feels like a profane word. The things that have kept me, so far, from making the dungeon my home have been intentional, deliberate focus on beauty, thanksgiving, and prayer. These are the things I shared in my last post, the tools that have been lifelines to me in times of sorrow and desperation.
The kinds of issues we have seen and walked through over these fifteen years - things I can't share freely on the blog - have also led me to a sincere tenderness. I know the kinds of chaos that can live in a young man's heart. I know how low a person can sink. I know how it is to wake up and find that things have entered your life you would have never dreamed possible. I know how it is to live in un-fixable circumstances. So I feel compassion for the brokenness of the world. I don't excuse sin, I'm not "bleeding heart" all over the victims of violence. I just know that we are all sinners: broken, hurting, breaking, wounding, and I find myself unable to stir up the righteous anger people want me to have. I am a woman forgiven much, who can't even make her own life come out right. That is what I know deep in my bones. And I know this too: Grace has given me life and grace is all I have the right to give back to the world.
The other thing I want to talk about is the issue of nonviolence. Some people were greatly disturbed at my even mentioning the word in connection with a situation like the Boston bombing; some were bothered by my mention of the military. Even though I never elaborated on my thoughts concerning how these issues are tied together and rather left the observations for readers to make their own conclusions, I understand these are very sensitive subjects and I certainly did not intend to add to anyone's distress by making them angry in such a hard time.
Violence is deeply entrenched in American culture. So much so, that to many Christians, even the suggestion of a nonviolent response to the world is seen as offensive and outrageous. This is terribly concerning for a group of people who are supposed to be following a crucified King, one who left us with the command to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Part of the problem, I believe, is there is tremendous misinformation about what the term "nonviolence" means. It is quite common for people to think that nonviolence means a passive nonreaction to the events going on around them, literally allowing terrorists and violent men to abuse and kill anyone they want while we wring our hands and turn the other cheek. But nothing could be further from the truth.
In light of such common misconceptions, I would like to invite anyone who wants to join me in a discussion about the topic during the month of May. I'd like to go through the book, "Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way" by Walter Wink. It's not a perfect book, but it is short, accessible and highly enlightening. You can purchase a copy at several online bookstores, but Amazon seems to have the cheapest price right now. (There's also a Kindle version.)
Even if you don't think you will ever agree with the idea of nonviolence, it would be a good discussion to participate in just so that you know what nonviolent advocates truly believe and what they don't believe. Understanding each other leads to more unity and grace for each other and I know we all want that.
As always, I send you much love.
Thank you for grace,
UPDATED TO ADD: I'm sorry I didn't make this clearer at the beginning, I failed to understand that some people were misunderstanding my thoughts. I am thankful for our police force and thankful for brave men and women who protect our citizens from danger. I thought it was entirely appropriate for the Boston police to search for and capture the suspects and I'm grateful they did so with as much restraint as possible.