Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Peace, Anger, and WWJD

I originally intended for "Trauma, Society, and Awareness" to go here, after my Evacuation story. But I picked the wrong date, and it published on Sunday night. So I'm going with it.

I mentioned that there are three books I picked up at the August Chorus retreat. I wasn't sure if I would list them or not. Well, here they are:




Resistance and Contemplation: The Way of Liberation by James W. Douglass.
  • My copy is a reprint of a 1972 text.
  • This book discusses the Catholic background and tenets of Liberation Theology.
  • Part I covers the interplay between contemplation and action in social justice.
  • This is a 2008 text, and so it touches on more recent events like 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • In particular, Chapter 2 is about a "Political Reading of the Scriptures," and the ways in which what we believe, as spiritual beings, affects our politics.
The Nonviolent Moment : Spirituality for the 21st Century

  • This book is a prayer, commentary, and collection of quotes about the U.N. "International Decade for the Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World."
I've been reading one chapter from each book, round-robin, and so I'm about halfway through with each of them. But these are not books to be read straight through, cover-to-cover in a marathon session. They are books to be pondered, considered, and read slowly over time.

There are many within the Feminist movement, within the Peace movement, within the spiritual traditions, who act as if nonviolence means never being angry. As if mindfulness means there is no passion. Something like this: "How corporates co-opted the art of mindfulness to make us bear the unbearable."

And I do practice mindfulness. I pray, I meditate, I occasionally do yoga, I do the moving meditations of hyung, I journal regularly. There are issues in this world, particularly social justice issues, that are worth getting angry about. That are so WRONG that they must be challenged. And yes, I reject physical violence as a solution to anything but self-defense.

It's the verbal, rhetorical anger, that is so often policed. I regularly quote a Yoga Journal article from perhaps a decade ago: "Anger is a sign that your boundaries are being violated."

There are many different kinds of anger. Yes, *some* anger can be the path that leads to the Dark Side. But it is not always that away. My Catholic classmates periodically share this meme:


Or from the UU tradition, there is also this: