Monthly Archives: May 2008

Breviary

 

Check out the free online Breviary. It’s a book of morning and evening prayers (drawing from Benedictine, Fransiscan, and Eastern Orthodox traditions) that has been put together by Missio Dei

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Nonviolence for Breakfast

As someone who is against violence in the world- whether in Iraq or Minneapolis, I’m struck at how “passively violent” (causing emotional hurt) I can be at times. I think it’s one thing to be “against the war” and its another thing to be able to share a meal with someone you “love” and show them the sort of compassion, respect, and understanding that are at the heart of nonviolence.

Let’s be honest, most of us can barely get past breakfast without getting defensive, assuming, or reacting in some way. I am finding myself challenged by realizing the connection between passive and physical violence. Arun Ghandi learned from her grandfather that “it is passive violence that fuels the fire of physical violence.”

I think that if we ourselves can’t get past breakfast, then we’ll never find a solution in Iraq. How many of us are willing to look at ourselves before pointing out the speck in someone else’s eye? In the end, it all leads to war.

One of the many things I learned from grandfather [M. K. Ghandi] is to understand the depth and breadth of nonviolence and to acknowledge that one is violent and that one needs to bring about a qualitative change in one’s attitude. We often don’t acknowledge our violence because we are ignorant about it; we assume we are not violent because our vision of violence is one of fighting, killing, beating, and wars the type of things that average individuals don’t do.

Nonviolence means allowing the positive within you to emerge. Be dominated by love, respect, understanding, appreciation, compassion and concern for others rather than self-centered and selfish, greedy, hateful, prejudiced, suspicious, and aggressive attitudes that dominate our thinking.

-Arun Ghandi

Marshall B. Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication (California: Puddledancer Press, 2005). 

The Methodist Covenant Prayer

I am no longer my own, but Thine.
Put me to what Thou wilt,
rank me with whom Thou wilt;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for Thee
or laid aside for Thee;
let me be exalted for Thee,
or brought low for Thee;
let me be full, let me be empty;
let me have all things,
let me have nothing;
I freely and heartily yield all things
to Thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine, and I am Thine.
So be it.
And the covenant
which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.

Amen.

From daily meditations at the North Umbria Community.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

 

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,

vacation with pay. Want more

of everything ready-made. Be afraid

to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.

Not even your future will be a mystery

any more. Your mind will be punched in a card

and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something

they will call you. When they want you

to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something

that won’t compute. Love the Lord.

Love the world. Work for nothing.

Take all that you have and be poor.

Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace

the flag. Hope to live in that free

republic for which it stands.

Give your approval to all you cannot

understand. Praise ignorance, for what man

has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.

Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.

Say that your main crop is the forest

that you did not plant,

that you will not harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested

when they have rotted into mold.

Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus

that will build under the trees

every thousand years.

Listen to carrion- put your ear

close, and hear the faint chattering

of the songs that are to come.

Expect the end of the world. Laugh.

Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful

though you have considered all the facts.

So long as women do not go cheap for power,

please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy

a woman satisfied to bear a child?

Will this disturb the sleep

of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.

Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head

in her lap. Swear allegiance

to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and politicos

can predict the motions of your mind,

lose it. Leave it as a sign

to mark the false trail, the way

you didn’t go. Be like the fox

who makes more tracks than necessary,

some in the wrong direction.

Practice resurrection.

 

Wendell Berry, Good Poems Selected and Introduced by Garrison Keillor (New York: Penguin Group, 2002) 274.