Tag Archives: peace making

chain

Today, I’m linking up with the voice of southern exposure, Amber Haines  for her Concrete to Abstraction series. My friend, Ashley Markin is hosting today in Amber’s absence. The piece she offers is pristinely powerful. Read it. This is not the me I usually traipse about as here. These girls push me to reveal one of my more interesting, if not beautiful, personas.

“Chain” –  I see the semi-rectangular links that held my swing at Nana’s under me and to the strong, iron cross-bar. Great heavy links which my Daddy used to pull down oaks follow. I see the charm bracelets which anyone who had the word mama in a name I called wore about their wrist. And then they are the hanging baskets suspended by a bit of chain in our backyard. Chain was not a dark or dreary word in my vocabulary. Chains held and did good work. Until…

Now the word makes me think of a song, a band whose rise to destruction also began by their testimony, in Birmingham. Now, the word “chain” gives rise in me to Stevie’s tortured vocals and Lindsay’s torturing ones. Now it’s all I hear, think about at the word.

I am secured to this place with chains of DNA and debts yet paid and some other oil and exhaust covered thing that feels the way my Daddy’s heavy pulls looked, but I never noticed, as they brought me near to him and warmth into my home. Here it leaves me cold and marred and broken by its weight, though the soul separating power no longer employs it to stretch my frame in twain.

We hammer steel here, no longer under big smokestacks, but in small artisan studios. The big dangers like the old gargantuan iron workings of Birmingham have largely moved abroad to torture elsewhere: racism and class warfare. But, tiny cauldrons still fume and ours was one of them.

The church we so very hesitantly planted was supposed to be a small work of grace. I know now it was neither in his mind – ever. It was to his thinking all his and nothing if it did not grow large and powerful and connected to everyone else so. Our leader was family, by marriage, and he was nearly my death, if not all of ours. I worked for him, wrote some of his stuff. I thought I liked those handling the oversight of our work. Until they didn’t.

It was a classic case of egomania which moved on to more…a deadly infection which cost him his life and all of us everything but ours. It’s been a long time; he has long been as cold in the ground as that chain.

But, when you learn to shoulder such a weight and know its oily feel upon your skin that stains into the mind’s every crevice and all cracking places of your soul… When the smell of such is no secret but a like sentry sound, it is easy to know a brother, another so inclined.  Just such and I have recently locked eyes. And I am wondering is freedom mine to force anew?

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A harvest of righteousness

Matthew 5:9

9“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”

I want to discover my place in God’s family. I want to find that way to relate to everyone in love and respect and with the hope of honest, fruitful exchange. Maybe that’s a pipe dream…and maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s mainly about me dropping my defenses and the handles I hide my ignorance and ineptitude and selfishness behind.

I had a really informative, solution searching/building discussion on Easter Sunday. We were talking about the convoluted critter that is the United States Health Care system. Many at the table worked in that system and knew something of its troubles and strengths. We all had a tremendous opportunity to be defensive – We came from really different places and perspectives. And we almost let that happen – but we chose to respect everyone there and their opinion and their unique perspectives and insights. There was a moment where respect seemed to be fluttering to the ground like a leaf – but a wind of hope, of love and trust that Jesus was at work in us all, lifted it back upon a current of fresh, flowing air.  And we talked and shared and did not use stupid incendiary language. We asked questions to gain more information, more insight. We sought help from one another and grew together in our desire to see a just and righteous way come forth.

I think a little humility…my admitting up front what all I don’t know, need more clarity about, my asking another for their angle of sight, my encouraging others to share with me from their experience, make conversation possible. In humility,we converse. We share ideas and words and find new ideas, more excellent ideas coming forth through the process-like they did when we talked about God the other night at Edge. We listened and considered and God adjusted things for the better in our understanding and then we spoke out of what He showed us and the process just kept going and everyone gained and hopefully we all moved closer in our understanding.`

Why is this conversing so bad, so scary, so wrong? Why is it discouraged so vehemently by many would be leaders? How poor and weak and invalid must our ideas be that we would dare not share them in humility… or maybe they are not ours at all, maybe all we have in our minds and hearts are the words and experiences of others…or worse some catchy slogan that “sums up what I need to know.”

James 3:18

18″Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”

God, I want to be a peacemaker. Show me the path of peace.

Step one seems to be humility. Remind me of all I don’t know less I too quickly seek out step two.

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