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Peace isn’t Fuzzy

October 7, 2008

Peace isn’t easy; it isn’t comfortable; it isn’t neutral–IT IS ACTION; IT IS COURAGOUS….I came to this realization this past weekend when I was representing FCNL at the Peace Colloquy, a huge peace event for the Community of Christ, my denomination. Most of the weekend I was standing at an FCNL booth with tons of materials coaxing people over and giving them tons of resources. It was really fun actually.

However, I was very disappointed with some people in my denomination. One of these people works in peacebuilding at the Community of Christ. I asked them if they would take a sign that said War Is Not the Answer. They responded that it might diminish people’s view of them and cause them to not respect their work. This really bothered me as I thought about it more, not because I really needed to get rid of another sign, but because of the lack of courage. Many people in my denomination are very good at talking about the fuzzy concept of peace. We sing a billion songs about peace (unlike many Quakers, our services involve a lot of singing). And yet proclaiming that War Is Not the Answer is too risky. I wanted to take a War Is Not the Answer sign and put it in front of our Temple. And then see who took it down. But I didn’t.

When I started thinking about this person’s action more, I realized that we as a society have come up with a very odd conclusion–publically stating one’s views about politics or religion will make other people think more or less of you. Why is it so wrong to state your beliefs? Especially if they are beliefs you can back up? I think the phenomena of avoiding discussing faith and politics (except in DC of course) is indicative of the lack of courage we have.

So, by the end of the weekend, I was pretty pleased with my denomination’s response to FCNL overall, but I was even more pleased that I was representing an organization founded on the courageous action of PEACE!

-Stephen

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