A few months ago, a friend asked if I would be willing to be a writer for a blog on living non-violence. First, I was humbled that he would ask me, but secondly I was a bit hesitant. I have not written much on this blog due to my hesitation. I’m normally not overly quiet when it comes to my views. In fact, I have spoken quite widely that I am a pacifist, but writing this blog put me to the test. It made me consider, deeply consider what living in non-violence means.
My dad was a Vietnam vet. I have not seen him in over twenty years except for a brief encounter after my middle child was six months old. Dad met me at the beach and he sat in a swing holding Doug. My dad has many demons within him. Some are from childhood, some from the war. All are from being exposed to ways of being human that hurt.
I believe at the center of my existence, that whatever energy of creation humans come from, we have not been created to hurt one another. And yet, we do. We hurt one another. We hurt one another out of our own hurt.
We have a society that perpetuates bullying and our children are learning to be bullies from their parents. We have a society that perpetuates domination of one human being over another and because we like to think we are “nice” people, we never have the courage to call one another out on this methodology.
This is where my hesitation comes in. How do we hold one another accountable to how we overpower, over control, bully, exploit and dominate; and still claim to live in non-violence. Because our own species cannot see the difference between enabling and having expectations on human behavior. Our own society does not seem to know how to gently say, “wait, what you are doing is harmful; harmful to your own soul and harmful to the community of which you are a part,” without seeing these words as being mean or unjust. And so we just continue allowing many levels of violence to exist among us.
When I think of my dad and the violence that was projected into his life from childhood and from war, it makes me weep. It makes me wonder “WHERE WERE THE PROPHETS?” When I see the children in our schools committing suicide due to bullying; when I see our churches becoming places of dysfunctional power, exploitation, and personal temples of greed; when I see our earth being ravished for corporate gain, I wonder “WHERE ARE THE PROPHETS?”
Where are the prophets who have the courage to speak and say, “Children of God, look at your lives. Look and see what you are doing. Look around you and see the destruction. See how the beauty God has created has become places of devastation: devastation within the human heart, that hurts because it is hurt, and the only way it will stop hurting, is if it is able to see that hurting begets hurting; devastation within our children, because parents themselves are teaching inappropriate bullying ways of being human; devastation throughout the earth, digging, polluting, removing, destroying, because humans believe that our worth is found in our possessions. Turn from these ways of devastation and seek a better way of life.”
Some will see this and think I am being violent. Some will think that my words are violent because they are said emphatically and with passion. And this is why I write this blog with hesitation.