Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Danger of Only Half Remembering


Remembrance Day was over a week ago. Time to reflect and ponder on that event; the people, words and actions that symbolize such an important part of us as a people.
Should I worry if only a small piece of reality was presented? Is it my problem only? Or is there a real danger of partial truths leading to more harm and being even counter to the hopes we wish for?
The names of the dead were shared, along with the names of the wars in which they died. Good. But why did they die? It was clearly said that they died because they were brave, and because our freedom was threatened. They were all heroes, by definition. All who die in uniform, in our popular opinion, are heroes. No other view is allowed.
But our main assumptions just aren't true. Only in one of 'our' wars, WWII, were we attacked, at least our allies were attacked. (This is apart from the many times we were attacked by the United States. In their point of view, they were trying to liberate us, to bring us true freedom. But that's another story.)
In the two Boor Wars we were on the side of the British Empire, fighting against freedom, the freedom of the Dutch settlers of South Africa who only wanted to be left alone, cursed as they were, by occupying space that was coveted for it's wealth. So gleefully went off, for God, King and country, ready and eager to kill, because the very idea of any who didn't want to be like us, was threatening.
WWI had no cause other than the empires of Europe all wanted to become even richer. So we fought, of course, on the side of the British Empire. Brave? The boys were told they'd be home by Christmas. Those Huns didn't have a chance! It would have been a stalemate if the US hadn't joined in the fun. And the terrible terms of the 'peace' only assured the necessity of WWII.
And the wars since? Have our invasions since brought about peace? How's Afghanistan doing? When will we learn that very rarely do people want to be invaded, no matter their motives. (Remember those Yanks?)
I'm not against our gatherings at the cenotaph. But let's try to do the whole thing. When do school children learn of the big picture? When do we get a chance to truly weep about how, time and time again, we believe lies told to us by the rich and powerful, so that we'll give our lives for their 'national good'? There have been many times when the truly brave were those who stayed at home, choosing to live with the insults and stigma of peace. When do we hear of this? Why are the only things remembered are the dead, and not what killed them, nor what will bring new life? Why is the only poem remembered is one that urges us to keep on killing, especially from a war that was wrong and stupid?
I'll keep going to gatherings that remember. But also, I'll continue to urge us all to remember everything. 'The whole truth' is better for us all, I assume.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017



Another mass shooting in The States. This time in a small-town Texas church. The shooter? Thankfully, a white American-born veteran. The answer to the problem, according to those local people who were interviewed? More God and more guns.
I'm an optimist. Usually. But above all, I try to follow the Ways and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. I'm not a Christian, having to believe that believing that Jesus was God saves us from 'hell', a fate we deserve because our ancestors ate a forbidden apple. I believe what I have experienced, that love really IS the Way of God, Who-ever/What-ever God is, and that Jesus, as well as others, teach us in that understanding. And I know that the understanding that supports the whole gun-thing in the US is in total opposition to that rule of love.
I have talked to many of that other way. I don't know how to deal with them. There is no common ground from which to step toward each other. All I can do is to DO what I know, to grow in love myself and share my life with others. I simply have to admit that I can't affect what happens in Texas, other than acting in my knowing that all of creation is somehow connected, and growing and loving here can and will affect all,now and even forever.
But are there others who agree with me? I doubt there are many in churches, for they seem so very satisfied in doing little, not sharing or going beyond the 'usual', especially in the Christmas season. When people of so-called belief are content with bazaars and songs, even amidst the hatred and fears that grow around us, when all of creation yearns and is literally dying for love, how can I not become angry, especially at churches?
Is there hope for real change from the 'spiritual but not religious' majority? When the very word religion has come to be anathema to many, and the sharing of anythings spiritual and personal is taboo and suspect, it would be surprising to say the least. But that's what miracles are all about.
Yet, the ancient season of Advent is near, the time of hope and expectation of new life, the awareness of Emmanuel, God among us. I can't allow my anger to cloud my vision nor slow my steps.
So, I enter this holiday season, trying to prepare for something new and hopeful, trying to give churches yet another chance to become real to their task, but expecting yet again to be frustrated and disappointed by shallowness, conformity and tradition, although the one in who's name they gather, was a rebel, a reformer and a free thinker.
I will try to channel my anger into creative sadness, once again. But don't be surprised, friends, when anger raises it's head. The 'more guns and more God' group plus the 'belief is all that counts' bunch, plus the 'being nice is what counts' folks, all put together, often is just too much for me to handle without getting mad.

Thanks for hearing.