Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 Blogblast for Peace: Peace Globe

Like a writing spider, I forget. And like a writing spider, I write to remember. 

I blog for peace to remind myself to practice peace.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Act locally: reasons to Blog for Peace

I have been scattered lately.  Is it the change in the weather?  I do love me some cool gray days.  OK, many of you may not consider 85 F to be cool, but I'm in Columbia, South Cackalacka and we pull out our summer sweaters in late September. 

My mind is scattering like the fall leaves (left from last year, most likely) and I can't seem to blog for nuthin.  I can't really seem to do much of anything.  I have brilliant ideas on many many subjects, from developing a child centered, inquiry based middle school to taking a class on tax forms for non-profit organizations to cleaning my closets and the rooms they are in to knitting Christmas stockings for Brendon and Daniel to... well you see what I'm facing.  Myself.

High on the to-do list is: blog4peace.  It's not that I haven't thought about why I would blog for peace if I did in fact blog on a regular basis.  It's not that I haven't read other blogs that make me consider plagiarism as a way of life.  It's not that I don't have ideas.  I have lots of ideas.  No substance.

And so here it goes, Peace around me.  Randoms observations of things people are doing or should do to wage peace in their lives.

#74: basic civility.  Come on people, would you tailgate, flip the bird, & blow your horn if your mother were in the car with you?  Well, apparently yes.  One time, a girl pulled out of a church parking lot onto the road in front of me, nearly hitting me.  She was so full of the holy spirit, she flipped me off with both hands.  Her mother was right next to her.  Her mother did not flip me off.

Why do we think that we are exempt from civilized or moral behavior when we are surrounded by a ton of recycled steel and glass?  Cars are not the manners-free zone.

#73:  Feed people.  It's really hard to feel peaceful when you are hungry.  And it's really really easy to feed people.  If you don't want to go down to the soup kitchen and dish up spaghetti or sandwiches, just grab a few extra cans of food at the grocery store.  Put it in one of the MANY boxes in which organizations collect food.

My church, St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church (shout out!), takes part in the Second Harvest program.  People from the church pick up food from the Olive Garden and take it to the Oliver Gospel Mission.  It's a partnership between the restaurant association and various non-profits.  I remember when they first started talking about this idea in Columbia (and elsewhere).  At first the health department refused to allow it and made the restaurants throw out the food that had been prepared but not served.  Does that suck or what?

#72:  Recycle, reuse, re... something else.  If we didn't need so much stuff we wouldn't need to fight over so much stuff.  I know that's simplistic.  Sue me.

#71:  Teach the children.  If you can't volunteer in a school, and it's not that easy to do, at least buy some wrapping paper or something.  I have some World's Finest Chocolates available.

I could go on and on about teaching children.  Our education system is still using the factory model.  Train children to go to school/work on time, sit & do whatever you are told, eat & pee & talk when you are told... What do you expect?  And then the pundits get all upset about test scores and test the kids some more.  And they look and say: "China has better test scores!  They are beating us!  Let's become a dictatorship and see if our test scores improve!" 

Support authentic learning, in whatever form it takes for each and every child.

#70:  Random acts of kindness.  I have a friend who hands out candy canes around Christmas time.  She just gives them to people.  Not everyone, like someone throwing dollar bills into a crowd.  She will see someone and for whatever reason, give him a candy cane. 

We can all give proverbial candy canes, can't we? 

#69:  Smile.  OK, stop now.  That's not a smile.  That's a grimace and it's scaring the goldfish. 

Relax, think about something good, and smile.  Now keep that expression on your face as you walk through your day.  Smile at the mailman, smile at the lady at the DMV, smile at your boss.  Usually, they will smile back.  If nothing else, it will confuse the hell out of them, and that's worth a giggle, no?

#68:  Rinse, repeat.  I think I'm repeating myself.  I really sound familiar.  Oh well.  That's what we have to do.  Smile, repeat.  Teach, repeat.  Feed, repeat. 

Peace.  Repeat.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Peace within me: Blogbast4peace 75 - 84

As Gandhi is very very often quoted as saying, "be the change you want to see in the world." 

In order to have peace in the world, we need peace within ourselves.  Some days, like those in the past month, that is very hard for me.  It is hard to be a calming, loving, merciful being when I see injustice, arrogance (other than my own), and plain old fashioned stupidity.  I find myself thinking, "If I'da killed him when I met him, I'd be out by now."  And this really isn't productive.

Today, I am going to write ten reasons I blog for peace that have to do with strengthening myself.  "Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me."

I blog for peace so that I can strengthen my tolerance of differences, because peace cannot exist without tolerance and mercy.  An efficient dictatorship may look peaceful --- low crime, trains running on time --- but that isn't peace.  I'm not saying that I tolerate everything, but I would like to recognize and avoid the canonization of my culture.  Cultural norms are not necessarily holy. 

I blog for peace so that I can find the sameness in humanity.  We have sought the safety of our tribes since time began.  We need "us" and "them" to help us define ourselves.  That's way film makers have the Earth attacked by aliens in order to unite the Earth.  But there is always a "them."  A "not us."  I want to define myself without seeking a "not me."

I blog for peace so that I can find the courage to stand up in the face of wrong, even if it's uncomfortable.  I'm not likely to be in a life-threatening situation, but I'd like to be brave enough stand up even in the face of death. 

I blog for peace so that I can develop the wisdom to know when to stand and when to be still. 

I blog for peace because I know that peace is strength, violence is weakness.  Remember the song, "Coward of the county?"  OK, he ends up seeking revenge and killing the guy, but his father's words are the important part.  It takes a Man to ignore taunting in order to do the right thing.   Or a Woman.  Not a saint.  I could go on all day about how the Romans militarized Christianity, but I won't.  You're welcome.

I blog for peace to help me be peaceful.  I want to be the person who calms the waters, not the one who stirs up drama.  This is a very personal thing, but a key to the peace within me.  I am attracted (or attract) people who live life as one crisis after another, and everyone demands my immediate attention.  Calm down people!  The world is not ending.  And if it is, I'm sure as hell not spending any more time on this stuff.

I blog for peace because:
"Fear is a disease that eats away at logic and makes man inhuman."  Marian Anderson.
I blog for peace because I am angry and frustrated and fearful. And those things don't help my blood pressure, my family, or the world in which we live

I blog for peace because I can only be the best person I can be right now. 

I blog for peace because I am a better person than I was before.

I blog for peace because I want to be a better person tomorrow.