The following comments and article links provide more details about the history of peace and ways to obtain sustainable peace.
Peace is a discipline in its own right and deserves to be elevated to the same status as war. Hot peace:
- Is proactive and seeks collaborative methods to build bridges between enemies.
- Addresses societal needs for safety, sanitation and security.
- Engages people and communities in planning and managing conflict to positive ends that appropriate their collective creative energies for peace.
Called to be Peacemakers—Letter to the Washington Post, November 2006
Too often these days I hear people say that September 11, 2001 changed America – that “9-11” is the pivotal point in defining our recent 21st century. I do not agree. This is not to abstract the horrific loss of life in the twin towers, airplanes, or Pentagon. I lost good friends and colleagues on that day. However, what I believe to be pivotal to the definition of our recent 21st century was articulated by our Nation’s president one month later when he eulogized saying that “in our anger we will find our purpose.”
Our nation or the world (including our Islamic brothers and sisters) was never given permission to grieve. For it is in our grief that our purpose is to be found. It is not what happens to a person or group that defines them. What defines them is how they respond. Instead of allowing for hearts to be broken, hearts were hardened. Anger now serves our purpose and this is spilling over into our interpersonal relationships as well as relationships on the global stage. The rhetoric of anger ushers in the wrath it seeks because anger, unchecked, all too easily can create an atmosphere of fear resulting in a terror of its own making.
John Wesley, a spiritual leader, a great man of the Church, and to many still today, once remarked, “Whatever it is that drives you to your knees in prayer, that is your calling in life.” For me personally, that is planning for peace. I find myself saddened that nations plan for war (I have served as an integral part to that end) but seemingly do not think to plan for peace. It seems humanity expects peace to come as easily as the next breath; yet, the work of peace is exceedingly more challenging and elusive than our human body’s automatic and preconditioned responses to life. This is because peacemaking is fall down and get up again relational work. To ensure it, one must never let go of the other with whom you are in conflict and always remain engaged in serving the other to the end that reconciliation is realized and blessing flow again.
So I write to encourage others to take the time to find the way to be peacemakers in their personal lives, families, and communities. Be a peacemaker in daily life – get up every morning and tell yourself you are going to follow a rule of life that helps you be a peacemaker each day. Pray for peace and please pray that the nations expend greater energy planning for peace.
Read about peacemaking and be careful what you watch, what you read, and you view on TV. This includes the movies as well as games that celebrate violence. We are what we eat. Feeding on violent events feeds our propensity for anger. And, finally, find ways you can financially and spiritually support the work of peace.
Visit our library to learn more about hot peace.