Monday, February 14, 2005

The Force of War and the Force of Peace? The Same Force Moving in the Opposite Direction?

It seems as if there is a tendency to see war as a very active force and peace as a very passive one. We refer to peace in the negative- nonviolence or non-aggression. As if peace is a vacuum created when the force of war is absent.

The force of war has three central aspects. First it requires a tremendous deal of energy. Both external, physical energy and the internal drive to carry out the external aspects. Second it requires tremendous organization and teamwork. To take on the implementation of a war plan requires a great number of human beings working together. Third it requires a unified vision of purpose. Goals must be established and everyone plays a part in their successful outcome. Unified vision, teamwork and energy are all very good things to make use of to bring about the creation of the Peaceable Realm. But in the case of warfare all of these aspects come from a reverse image- and that reverse image comes from the negative, parasitic energy of Satan. Satan acts as a mimic of God but a mimic guiding us in the opposite way. It functions just as a mirror reverses everything it displays. Instead of compassion there is vengeance; instead of justice tempered with mercy there is redemptive violence. Creativity is harnessed to discover new and more effective ways to kill each other instead of working to discover new and more effective ways of communicating with each other.

This force of war is evident no matter which side of a conflict a country finds itself. The country that attacks or the country that defends uses the same force. As is chess the rules of the game are the same for white, the aggressor, and black, the defender.

Is it possible that this force is in reality a negative, mirror image of the force of peace? And is it also possible that the major difference is that the false, mirror image leads a person, or country or ethnic group to walk away from God and towards the contagion of Satan. Can we defeat the power of Satan by working to create a true image that draws that person, nation or ethnic group into a relationship of walking towards God?

To really create the Peaceable Realm on earth would require a tremendous deal of energy. Highly motivated and committed individuals and governments would need to expend a great deal of material resources to bring about peace. Economic disparity and material greed have fostered a great deal of the war energy over history. To eliminate or at least level out economic disparity has been the stated goal of those seeking peace since the authors of Leviticus and the great prophets of Israel first called for radical economic reform. This call was picked up by Jesus and carried forth by the early Christian communities and still has a voice in groups like the Quakers, the Mennonites and the Brethren.

The force of peace would require a great deal of organization and teamwork. Imagine a moment if the United States government had the same number of people working abroad and at home in the Peace Corps and Americorps as are in the armed forces. And that would just create a degree of stasis. A balance point not really moving us in the direction of God, just keeping us from moving in the direction of the “commander of the spiritual powers of the air” (Eph. 2:1)

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this peace energy would be a unified vision of the Peaceable Realm. We seem to have such a huge range of vision on relatively mundane things like what form of worship we participate in. Yet throughout the Hebrew scriptures as well as the Christian scripture (and the Buddhist and Taoist and yes even a good part of the Muslim sacred writings) there is a unified vision. Both Isaiah and Jesus used the metaphor of the "the way" as did Buddha and Lao Tzu. Mohammed spoke of the "straight path". Are they all talking about the direction the force of peace sends us that brings us to a true relationship with God?

Would it be possible to bring about the Peaceable Realm and still keep our unique modes of worship? Would it be possible to turn enough swords into plowshares to at least create the beginning of an energy reversal away from the false gods of nation, flag and ideology (gods who owe their allegiance to Satan) and towards the one true God of the Cosmos?

The negative mirror image of war can be reversed and begin to be seen as the true image of peace but it will take many, many people being willing “to turn, turn, turn till by turning, turning we come round right” (from the Shaker tune “Simple Gifts”). Only then would our world-view direct all our energy towards God and none towards Satan.