Channel our compassion into peace

Wednesday January 9, 2013

Thank you Don Lathrop for highlighting one of the important ironic issues of our time in you peace column (Eagle editorial page, Jan. 5).

As he points out from his workshop experiences, we at times behave like people suffering both a terrible background and imprisonment, who may unwittingly accept the ways of violence and war rather than choosing the common sense of peace-making. We become acclimated to how bad things are and fail to imagine how better things might be. But usually we do not have the prisoners' excuse. Most of us have it pretty good.

This is most frustrating in regard to the good, well-intended people in our own nation's communities. We are extraordinary in our generosity to the victims of violence, war, and ecological disasters. We donate time, money, and effort to help charitably. Yet we have such difficulty translating our compassion into effective systematic change in our politics, economics, and social policy.

Our religious institutions may celebrate the outspoken challenges of the Prophets against structures of oppression, and repeat the admonition to "Love our enemies," but when it comes to effectively challenging the power and principalities that perpetuate evils (often unintentionally), we the "good people" fade away from such efforts. We fail to see such as our calling as citizens if not as followers of a spiritual mandate clearly outlined by our claimed faith.

Once again I thank the Lathrops for their efforts toward peace and justice by modeling another way. JOHN F.




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