The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Standing Against Violence

Flag of Truce ... we need to talk!
In June of 2013, the American Baptist Churches USA denomination held a Mission Summit on violence. It is a timely document, given what is currently going on in the world at home and abroad. Here is a summation of what we as humans should be doing in the face of an increasingly violent world. The time to sit on our hands, keep our mouths shut, and hope violence does not find us is long past. Actually, it never was. We are supposed to be looking out for each other and helping each other through this challenging life ... rather than being cruel to each other and reverting to our most primitive "might makes right" state of being. We have to be better than that. We have to speak up and act. We must work hard to end situations like those facing Ferguson, Missouri, the Love Park beating in Philadelphia where a skateboarder assaulted a park ranger who asked him not to grind on the stairs (it's against the law) while others stood by watching and filming the attack, the extended misery in Gaza for all involved, and all the cruelty plaguing humanity around the globe. This violence is part of us. We need to own that rather than blaming others for it. We need to struggle to curb it and make sure the hand we offer others is open and not in a fist.

Here are ways in which we can work daily to end violence as suggested by the mission summit. These fell under categories of "insights," "challenges," and "experiments." I'm editing down to some of the best. I'll give you a link to the rest. See if you agree ...

  • We are all victims of violence, but we are also practitioners in violence (in the language that we use, in meetings on hot topics, etc.)
  • Justice is a precondition of preace as a way to overcome violence.
  • Open our hearts to people; do not stereotype. 
  • Violence is not about "them;" we need to be able to look at ourselves and how it touches us. 
  • Many issues breed violence: mental illness, drugs, poverty, alienation (I'm sure we could all add many more)--there is great complexity. We need more awareness of the faces of violence (economic, cultural, environmental, systemic). 
  • We need to accept our complicity in violence and promote healthy conversations against it.
  • We need to reject violence in all its forms, denouncing cultural violence and bullying. 
  • We need more respectful language with each other and about each other. What we say and hear repeatedly will eventually impact how we think ... and right now there is an awful lot of irresponsible bile out there.
  • Addressing and rejecting violence in all its forms is essential.
  • We must have far greater education about violence in all its forms and violence prevention. 
  • We need to be willing to speak out and stand out with others working for justice and against violence. We must be willing to stand up and risk much to provide a safer world for us all. 
To see the entire document, see: It is a start but by no means an end.

To explore a response to the excuse to do nothing "We don't have all the facts yet," see: and Martin Luther King Jr.'s profound "Letter from a Birmingham Jail:"

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