Monday, January 26, 2009

Blessed are the Peace Makers

Something's Wrong, Jaffa, israel, April 2008, Canon PowerShot SD870 IS, Exposure 1/400 sec @ f5.8, ISO 80, no flash © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]

This week, I'll begin a themed photo/blog series based on an article by Susan Skog "10 Ways to Bring Peace to the World". The title of this blog is a link to that article. And to reinforce the steps in my mind, and maybe yours, I'll try to marry each one with a photo.

We begin, perhaps, with a statement of the obvious. We have religions that have among their fundamental messages "Peace", and yet we are trapped, often by religious ideology, in a battle that is anything but peaceful. But also we are trapped by our own limited thinking, by our biases and our prejudices. We are not thinking clearly.

Here is Susan Skog's introductory message, and her first step:

As Martin Luther King, Jr. illustrated with his life, the entire world is lifted up by one individual choosing peace. One person can create something that ignites all of our collective hopes, energies, and dreams. What if you could do that too? What if you are destined to be your generation's peacemaker?

"We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization," King said. Here are 10 real ways you can cultivate deep in yourself the loving peace you want to see in the core of the world.

Step 1. Wherever You Stand, Make It Camp David

"The only way we can make peace is for each of us to be the peace we want to see." -- Susan Collin Marks

It's up to us. We can't wait for someone more powerful or wiser to deliver peace. We are the wise and powerful ones who choose peace in every thought and action.

King showed us that even the simplest acts tilt the world toward peace. When his house was burned during the civil rights movement, he raced home not knowing if his wife and young daughter were safe. And he knew whatever he did could affect the anger brewing in the country. He stepped onto his porch and said, "Remember, this is what God said, 'We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love your enemies. Be good to them. Love them and let them know you love them.'"

Global peace is a personal choice, hour by hour. Ask yourself, "Am I going to add to the fighting in the world? Or offer up something greater?"

You really do have to admire Martin Luther King, and his message of peace directly in the face of violence against him and his family. In the culture I have grown up in, even though there is a Christian backdrop, the real message has been one of strength and power. Indeed, "weakness" by not responding directly to the threats and provocations, we are told implicitly and explicitly, will only make you more vulnerable.

Clearly we have a long way to go to create a culture of peace. But one at a time, and one step at a time, we may each begin, if we so choose.

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