I remember learning about the concept of “pax” back in college. The fact that “peace” was not believed to simply be the cessation of violence, but active sharing/pursuit of right relationship. That has come up again in both my reading and my parenting.
I’m naturally a “lover, not a fighter” (aka – a wuss). I remember attending one wrestling practice with my big brother back in high school, jus to check things out. The amount of grunting, sweating, and sizing each other up to see who could best who…for some reason wasn’t appealing to me. To brag about how much you can lift, curl, crunch, or how many times you can pull yourself up on a bar….yah, I never understood that. But someday when the zombies attack and I’m eaten first, all the jocks will be able to say “I told you so.”
I generally find myself agreeing with the kinds of things that pacifist Mennonite and Anabaptist writers might say in regard to conflict/war/etc. But I was reminded recently by Jurgen Moltmann is his book “Ethics of Hope“, there must be something more. That it’s not simply about allowing swords to do their thing, and retreating into ploughshares; but rather reforging swords into ploughshares. Moltmann says:
“Nonviolence, like the forgiveness of sins, is only a negation of the negative, out of which nothing positive as yet proceeds.”
Or the more obvious quote: “We are not told: ‘Blessed are the peaceful’ but ‘blessed are the peacemakers'”
It makes sense. I don’t want my girls to simply shy away from an inflammatory situation. Especially in our drama-rich culture that celebrates the ability to reduce your opponent by well-placed physical or emotional blows. It can be easy for someone who’s been taught humility and gentleness to simply bow out, quietly walk away, and keep to themselves. Certainly I hope they know when it’s wise to walk away. But that’s not always the best response.
I want to raise my daughters to be filled with the wisdom, hope, and Love it will take to diffuse a tense moment. To help bring healing and reconciliation when two of their friends are conflicted. To mediate arguments, and offer solutions. To speak up for the voiceless, and reveal the underlying and uniting Truth beneath the facade of drama. To enter the places where swords are drawn, and bring redemption for the sake of all involved.
Oh snap. It sounds like I want my daughters to be like Jesus…