Friday, June 16, 2006

About time they discussed this!

I saw this paragraph on the Washington Post website today.

As the Pentagon announced the 2,500th death of a U.S. service member in the conflict, the House embarked on its first extended discussion of the war since Congress authorized force nearly four years ago. More than 140 lawmakers took the floor to applaud or attack President Bush's prosecution of the war in an 11-hour debate scheduled to last until nearly midnight.
(emphasis added)

The most important public issue of the decade (so far,anyway) and the politicians are just getting around to dealing with it. I am reinforced in believing that the real seeds of change are planted outside the political process in social and spiritual movements; they only bear fruit in public policy, legislation, or even mainstream debate after hearts and minds have already been changed by the witness of "impractical", "radical", "unrealistic" visionaries.



Blogger Mystical Seeker said...

Not only are politicians just now getting around to discussing this, but none of the options being discussed by either major party involves an immediate end to the occupation and an immediate withdrawal. The best anyone in Congress can come up with is the idea of continuing the occupation and war for another six months, and only then would we withdraw. The morality of the war wasn't even an issue in the 2004 election. Voices for peace continue to be ignored by politicians of both parties as they have been for years.

11:55 AM, June 16, 2006  
Blogger Rich in Brooklyn said...

I emphatically agree with Mystical Seeker's comment.

2:27 PM, June 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rich --- You're such a windbag with such a huge streak of sterile religiosity ---- couldn't you just be quiet for a while and try to actually DO something instead of your constant obvious and foolish blather?

11:45 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Rich in Brooklyn said...

Anonymous may be right that I am a windbag. I certainly do like to talk and to write. I hope my spiritual concerns are something better than "sterile religiosity" but I am not in a position to make this judgement about myself.

The request to "be quiet for awhile" may reflect this Friend's belief that I speak too often in Meeting for Worship. While I don't accept any rigid definition of what "too often" may be, I have been trying in recent months to wait longer with leadings to speak and to test the leadings as deeply as possible. My most recent message in meeting was at least 3 weeks ago.

It isn't strictly true that I "never do anything", though I acknowledge that I have not been very active during recent years in either public witness or in doing concrete service to people outside my own family and (to a lesser extent) my own meeting.

I can't fault Anonymous for violating gospel order, because I think she has expressed this criticism to me in person (assuming that I am correct about my private guess as to who Anonymous is).

However, I think in general it is better for those of us who comment on each other's blogs that we identify ourselves a little more fully.

- - Rich

11:24 AM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger ef (Pam) said...

Rich, seriously, "anonymous" is (maybe) a person that you know? I thought it was a random spammer making stuf up to be obnoxious.

I think most quakers are exhibiting serious windbag tendencies lately (myself being the worst offender) I find that I am anxious for us to be more like Tom Fox - putting our lives on the line, being outrageous, taking risks, for what we believe in (be in God or Justice, or Light) Sometimes, though, I feel paralyzed, and often I just feel complacent and lazy.



3:21 PM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger Rich in Brooklyn said...

I admit I don't know for sure who Anonymous is, but I know a Friend who has said I am a windbag and who has complained to me about my "religiosity". I would rather think it is her than to think that I have two critics with the exact same point of view (it would start to suggest they must be right).

My relative inactivity on the pubilc scene opposing the war and pushing for social justice has more to do with being overwhelmed by issues even closer to home than anything else. I don't feel great about it, but I take some comfort in the thought (or rationalization?) that in contributing to the life of my Meeting I am nourishing a community that supports the witness of others, just as Tom Fox was nourished by his meeting. The whole I Corinthians 12: 12-31 thing. (Of course, not all may agree that I am "contributing" to the life of my Meeting; but that at least is my intent).

It was not always so. I spent over a month in jail (in smaller pieces, the longest being 14 days) for anti-war protests in my youth and was also prosecuted for resisting the draft. Who knows? There may be activism in my future as well as my past. I believe that Tom Fox had spent some time at the relatively tame task of teaching First Day School before he went off to work for peace in a war zone.

- - Rich

9:59 AM, June 22, 2006  

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