Monthly Archives: September 2008

Ordinary Radicals

I came across this trailer at Anamchara and wanted to pass it on as well:


Today’s Examen from Thomas Merton

One of our great problems is to see clearly what we have to resist. I would say that at the moment we have to understand better than we do the war mentality. If we do not understand it, we will run the risk of contributing to its confusions and thereby helping the enemies of man and of peace. The great danger is that under the pressures of anxiety and fear, the alternation of crisis and relaxation and new crisis, the people of the world will come to accept gradually the idea of war, the idea of submission to total power, and the abdication of reason, spirit and individual conscience. The great peril is the deadening of conscience.

Thomas Merton, The Book of Hours (Notre Dame: Sorin Books) 124.

Jesus Are You Real?

The video is a little shotty, but it’s such a great song I had to share it.



“Jesus Are You Real” by Mason Jennings off his album, Boneclouds.

To the Spirit of Lake Mille Lacs Kathio

Come in old Spirit, come in

Come in and heal me

My silence is your invitation

I am quiet while you work

Into the depths,

Into my heart you minister

Your work is a mystery to me

I may never know what gifts you left my soul

So I’ll trust the quiet

As I breathe it in deeply

Your peace is my command

Moving Toward Enemies

Be sure to listen to Steve Wiens’ latest sermon, “The Way of Forgiveness”. Steve invokes the words of Jean Vanier who says that “an enemy is someone who stands in the way of our freedom, our dignity, and our capacity to grow and love, someone we avoid, or with whom we refuse to communicate.” He challenges us to move “toward our enemies as God moved toward us”. Steve helps us define what it really means to forgive, challenges us to identify our enemies, and choose “the way of forgiveness”.

Contemplative War Protesting

Yesterday I went to Saint Paul for the Iraq War Protest outside the Republican National Convention. This was very much a spiritual discipline for me. As I walked the labyrinth which led from the State Capital to the Excel Energy Center and back, I reflected on a few different things.

This was a time for action. A time to stand in solidarity with those being oppressed by war. As we marched along our permitted route, we came upon riot police, clubs drawn, blocking unpermitted streets. At one point, we had riot police on two sides, blocking any exit. I felt claustrophobic and even a sense of panic in the presence of these powerful, weapon toting police. My thoughts then turned to the people of Baghdad and other parts of Iraq where people live with life-threatening danger every day. Not fear from the danger of tear gas or clubs, but fear of bombings, home raids, and all of the other horrors that accompany war. In most ways, I am so disconnected from their suffering. My tax dollars are funding the war, and most days I forget that it is even happening. Slowly, methodically, I kept my feet moving towards the RNC.

This was also a time to be God’s presence on earth. I wore a white t-shirt which read “CHRISTIANS FOR PEACE” on the front and “‘LOVE YOUR ENEMIES…’ (-JESUS, MATTHEW 5:44)” on the back. As I quietly walked past the Republican war supporters outside the convention, many people were yelling back and forth. The Republicans held signs that said, “Victory Over Terrorism, Let the Troops Win”. I wonder how many of them, especially those who are Christians reconcile the teachings of Jesus with the war in Iraq. I passed the Excel Energy Center and began the march back the capital.

The was a time for personal reflection. I asked myself what I was doing to promote peace in my own life and the lives of those around me? What more could I do to connect myself to the victims of war and the movement to end the occupation?

This was a time to pray. Praying gives me hope. Not Obama rhetoric “hope for change”, but hope in a living God whose Kingdom will come. As I marched, I imagined this kingdom of harmony, peace, and justice here on earth. And I felt hope that the mustard seed of faith in me that begs for mercy, asks forgiveness, and channels the love of Jesus will prevail over warplanes, tanks, and submarines. Most of the time, it seems that only a miracle of God could possibly bring an end to this war.

We returned to the state capital, and the crowd dispersed. We went back to our homes to eat, sleep, and rest for the work ahead– of bringing about this imaginary Kingdom.