Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Reflections on Memorialization

I walked past this graffiti on Sunday...just before they did a 10-cannon salute on the other side of the river. At first, it frustrated me, but living in Portland, as I do, with so many white educated kids, I wondered if this is the prophetic voice here.

While I don't agree that "peace is for cowards" I feel like I can sympathize with some of the gist. That is, peace is not a clearly defined term. It's alot like saying love or God. Everyone has their own understanding of what it means.

And for so many folks in this town, they simply hate war and Bush and most all things Republican. Now I, too, have a general distaste (and perhaps even burning anger from time to time) toward those things as well. And most of these good folks would offer peace as the alternative.

But sometimes peacemaking can come at the cost of true confrontation or true reconciliation or true conversation. That is, some times, peace is simply the easier option. And that definition of peace could really be the same as evasion. And that sort of peace is not sustainable because it's based on the assumption that each party will keep secrets and not really lay anything of value on the table, lest it cause war (whether verbal, emotional, ideological, or governmental). The cost is always some form of pain, some sort of death (whether relational, emotional, spiritual or physical).

So, while I'm dubious of blindly supporting war as a real option in our current time, I'm also skeptical of blindly supporting an idea of peace that doesn't really get at the stuff that would cause war.

Real peace is for people willing to walk humbly, but with conviction. A listening ear as well as a confident word.

and war (depending on how you define the words) could both be cowardly.


jeramy sossaman said...

great stuff ryan.

brooke said...

True. You should look into Johan Galtung, who is a father of the field of Peace Studies. In short, he writes about the difference between a positive peace and a negative peace. A negative peace is merely the absence of war, but a positive peace encompasses social justice, and that should be what we work towards. He says a lot more than that, but that is the gist. Miss you! And, is it weird living in a place dominated by white educated kids?

nikki said...

good word. seems like a healthy perspective...a friend of mine is always talking about balance...and how often in seeking true balance it requires the most humble among us to confront, to question, and in some cases destroy (not so much in the literal sense) so that transformation can have a place to take shape...thanks for sharing.

Ryan Lee Sharp said...

Ken Wilbur speaks about pre-conventional thought and post-conventional thought and how they often get lumped together since they are both un-conventional, but they arrive at their perspectives in quite different ways.

I don't know that I'd say that I feel a whole lot different living in Portland than in any of the other places I've lived. There's always minorities and majorities and those who make the rules and those who set the tone. It's just another city in that way. But I do love this place. It's magical.

Tom Patterson said...

Nice post! Reminds of John Lennon, et al, singing: "All we are give peace a chance..." - a "nice" song, but pretty much devoid of substance. The reality is that to be decisive, or to hold a conviction of any kind will unearth the fear in someone's heart, somewhere - even when kindly expressed.

Tom Patterson
(friend of Dan and Bethany's)