Wednesday, August 31, 2016

ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Will a Renewed Church Require New Communications?

Martin Luther spurred a miracle of movement building during the Reformation. (The printing press helped.) Just think what he might have done with social media!

I'm excited by a movement for change within the Lutheran denomination in the US. It's called "decolonize Lutheranism" and you can get at taste of it on Twitter at #decolonizelutheranism.

By coincidence -- or not? -- Lutherans (and others) are marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation over the next year.  Along the way we'll be talking a lot about Martin Luther and and all the different ways he played a role in renewing the Church.

Andrew Pettegree, Brand Luther
It's interesting to note that Martin Luther was a person who cared as much about communications as about theology. (Or, you might say, his ideas about communications were inherent in his theology . . . . )  The title of a recent book by Andrew Pettegree says it all: Brand Luther: How an Unheralded Monk Turned His Small Town into a Center of Publishing, Made Himself the Most Famous Man in Europe--and Started the Protestant Reformation.

This led me to wonder: Communications is central to renewing the Church. So what does this mean for us today?

First, I think we need to EMBRACE social media. I was struck at a recent presentation on the subject of young adult ministry when the pastor was showing the congregation the Facebook group for the young adult group. She gently reminded her audience, "online community is community." It was a small thing but it was part of the process of getting encouraging all of us to "get with the times."

Food for thought: do we understand our theology differently if we begin to envision our community as much in terms of a social media network as we do in terms of people in the pews?

Second, we need to have a functional understanding (as well as an app-specific one) of why some things "go" on social media. Some people love to use Twitter, some people love to use Facebook . . . but some of the breakthrough insights of social media are application-independent. Like ... visuals drive interaction. Like ... people are accessing this stuff on the go.

By the way: as we learn more and more about how people interact on social media, what does this bring up for us? 

Connecting via Facebook
Third, get ready to meet new people. When we go to where the conversation is taking place -- #BlackLivesMatter, #FreePalestine, #LoveIsLove -- we engage with people we didn't necessarily know before. Our ideas of community are challenged.

Cue the ecclesiologists . . . . 

Fourth, think more and more about how connections between things are formed, and give yourself permission to worry less about the perfectibility of any particular thing. Everything we do is interconnected via the Internet these days. But certain threads in the web are connecting many, many more nodes.

I think if Martin Luther were alive today, he'd be less concerned with assembling the ultimate work on theology than with encouraging an information architecture that might help give connection to an renewed mode of Christian life. (#ImAllAboutThatGrace?)

Finally -- and this we Lutherans can do! -- we need to work at it. Effective social media isn't all intuitive, and it takes time. Serious practitioners need to invest in learning, and churches need to recognize the contributions in time and talent that people (staff as well as volunteers) make to do this work .

How, for instance, would you account for social media work within the context of a congregational budget?


I'm looking forward to see how this new reformation proceeds!


Update February 23, 2017: Deconstruct this . . . !


Pope Francis
"Do not underestimate the value of example, for it is more powerful
than a thousand words, a thousand "likes", retweets or Youtube videos.


Related posts

The ELCA's presiding bishop, Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, has set an example: own the white privilege we've experienced in our lives. Will Lutherans step up?

(See "Personal Success Story"? "White Privilege"? or Both?)







As I read the article, I kept hearing echoes of lessons that I have been learning in the last several years as I have worked to communicate online about peace and justice issues. Herewith the top of my hit parade, with reference to stories from the USA Today newsroom . . . .

(See Social Media: If It's Good Enough for USA Today, It's Good Enough for Me )




Eventually, in large part due to Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, the United States was converted from a country in which a small number of people thought slavery needed to be ended into a country determined to act to end slavery. This literary work took the movement wide, and it took it deep.

Why is a novel an important tool for creative resistance?

(See Creative Resistance 101: Uncle Tom's Cabin )






What I'm feeling particularly energized about is the potential for the thousands of people who have already signed on as supporters of World Beyond War -- as well as millions more who are expected to do so soon -- to become active participants in spreading this good news.

(See News Worth Spreading: "There IS An Alternative to War!" )



To be sitting in Berkeley and seeing in front of my eyes the spreading of this idea that started in Texas and was nurtured in Philadelphia and got agitated in Chicago felt like a real Pentecost moment.


(See Decolonize Lutheranism -- A Northern California Installment)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

This Week: Thinking About Fall Activism

On my mind this week: Peace Day and peace events in September .... anti-racism and Palestine liberation work in Lutheran churches ... and Taiwan memories ....


Dahlias on my desk
September #peacework events: I wish I could be in all the places that people are gathering in September to advance their diverse efforts for peace! (OK, I especially wish I could be in Zurich, Berlin, and London!) But all of us can participate in one or more of these events -- or other activities like them -- in some way. And all of us can help get the word out via social media!

I'm planning to visit congressional offices in September to urge action on nuclear disarmament.


Lutherans and social justice: Last week I met with colleagues to work on plans related to the new ELCA resolution on Palestine.

At the church I attend, we'll all be reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates this fall, as part of the churchwide anti-racism initiative. (See: On Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates (A Confession))

And I'm excited about the amazing #decolonizelutheranism movement within the ELCA.


 . . . and . . .


Taiwan: I'm reflecting on a recent viewing of Edward Yang's 1991 film,  A Brighter Summer Day, and how it helped me make sense of my time living in Taipei 35+ years ago. (Updated blog post to follow .... )


What's on your mind this week?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

ELCA Resolution on Palestine / Israel: What Does It Mean for Us?

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has passed a resolution concerning justice in Palestine / Israel. What should Lutherans do?


ELCA delegation visits the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem
during January 2015 pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  
(Details at Metro Chicago Synod Working Group on Middle East site.)


I was at a meeting yesterday and we were discussing the upcoming trip of some church folk to the Holy Land, and the question came up: "How will their plans change to reflect the resolution on Palestine / Israel passed at the ELCA churchwide assembly a couple of weeks ago?"

In particular, the ELCA resolved: "To urge this church’s members, congregations, synods, agencies and presiding bishop to call on their U.S. Representatives, Senators and the Administration to take action requiring that, to continue receiving U.S. financial and military aid, Israel must comply with internationally recognized human rights standards as specified in existing U.S. law, stop settlement building and the expansion of existing settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, end its occupation of Palestinian territory, and enable an independent Palestinian state" (Emphasis added - read the full resolution below.)

The simple answer, of course, is "read the resolution, think about it, pray about it, discuss it with others (inside and outside your church community), and act faithfully."

Here are a few more specific suggestions for people to think about in the months ahead:

The next few months . . .  As you gather with other congregants returning from the summer and starting the fall season of gatherings and activities, ask, "Have you read the resolution? What does it mean to you? What are we called upon to do?"

Advent and Christmas - As we think about what it meant that God responded to our expectations by entering the world in the flesh, consider how to take up the words of the resolution concretely. What does this have to do with the here and now? Can we relish what happened in Bethlehem two thousand years ago without being deeply concerned about, and taking action on, what's happening in the lives of real people living in Bethlehem today?

Time after Epiphany - For many of us in the US, this time is referred to as "those long winter months." Take the time to read a book that sheds light on the ELCA resolution. (How about Faith in the Face of Empire by Mitri Raheb?)

Lent and Easter - A time to repent -- "turn around." Join with others in your congregation, conference, synod, and churchwide, as well as those of other church bodies and other faiths to carry out a brand new behavior toward Palestine / Israel. Move from just being "with them in spirit" to being with them in practice.

Time after Pentecost (know to some as "summer vacation") - Will you be traveling to Palestine / Israel next summer? Consider how your itinerary and trip objectives will faithfully respond to the ELCA resolution.

The suggestions above are just food for thought.  Other suggestions? Add them as comments below!


Related posts

Can there be any more clear illustration than the one at left to remind us that the work of the Church is liberation?

(See Christian "Church"? How about Christian "Liberation Organization"? )









Just imagine the effect of qualifying the usual blanket statements about "what Jews think" or "what Jews say" with specifics about which Jews are under discussion. I believe 2015 will turn out to be the year that people everywhere begin to tease apart the the notions of "Jewish" and "unconditional supporter of Israel."

(See The End of the Myth of Monolithic Jewish Support for the Actions of the Israeli State )





To be sitting in Berkeley and seeing in front of my eyes the spreading of this idea that started in Texas and was nurtured in Philadelphia and got agitated in Chicago felt like a real Pentecost moment.


(See Decolonize Lutheranism -- A Northern California Installment






Full text - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) resolution on Palestine / Israel - August 2016 
(retrieved from http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Legislative_Updates_for_the_2016_Churchwide_Assembly.pdf on August 27, 2016)

ASSEMBLY ACTION
YES-751; NO-162
CA16.05.13

To receive with gratitude the memorials of the Northwest Washington, Sierra Pacific, Southwest California, Rocky Mountain, Minneapolis Area, Southwestern Texas, Southeastern Iowa, South-Central Wisconsin, Southeast Michigan, Indiana-Kentucky, Metropolitan New York, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Upper Susquehanna and West Virginia-Western Maryland synods related to Israel and Palestine;

To reaffirm the commitment of this church to:

1. Continue its awareness-building, accompaniment, and advocacy on behalf of a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine;
2. Take steps to assist the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) and other Christians in sustaining their endangered presence in the Holy Land;
3. Promote the economic empowerment of Palestinians, including investment in Palestinian projects and businesses;
4. Promote the protection of the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis and oppose all violence and actions which discriminate against or deny any people their basic freedom, dignity or human rights;
5. Embrace the principles of restorative justice as part of the ELCA’s advocacy and engagement for the just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and actively seek ways to support Palestinians and Israelis engaging in restorative justice dialogue and other projects; and
6. Continue to pray for the ELCJHL and the work of The Lutheran World Federation Jerusalem program;

To encourage this church’s members, congregations, synods, and agencies as well as the presiding bishop to call on the U.S. President, in coordination with the United Nations Security Council, to offer a new, comprehensive and time-bound agreement to the governments of Israel and Palestine, resulting in a negotiated final status agreement between Israel and Palestine leading to two viable and secure states with a shared Jerusalem;

To urge this church’s members, congregations, synods, agencies and presiding bishop to call on their U.S. Representatives, Senators and the Administration to take action requiring that, to continue receiving U.S. financial and military aid, Israel must comply with internationally recognized human rights standards as specified in existing U.S. law, stop settlement building and the expansion of existing settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, end its occupation of Palestinian territory, and enable an independent Palestinian state; and

To encourage this church’s members, congregations, synods, and agencies to call on the U.S. President to recognize the State of Palestine and not prevent the application of the State of Palestine for full membership in the United Nations.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Make Your Plans for #PeaceWork in September

There are abundant events and campaigns in September 2016 that enable people to get to work for peace. Find one (or more!) and sign up, attend, volunteer, share, lead, . . . .


#peacework: September 2016 ... happening everywhere!
(Please share.)


There are many ways to work for peace. One part of achieving peace is recognizing the strength we have through the diversity of our peace efforts, and the degree to which these peace efforts are happening worldwide.

And let's be clear: this is work. All the characteristics that you find in other types of work are present in peace work, too: long-term commitment, attention to outcomes, teamwork, organization-building, resource management, problem-solving . . . .

September is a big month for peace work organizing - the UN International Day for Peace is September 21.  As you plan your peace work for September, consider how you will directly and/or indirectly participate in and support of these activities taking place around the world.

And please help involve more people by using the #peacework hashtag!

(event hashtag to be advised)
September 9-11
Build Peace 2016
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Convener: @howtobuildpeace
Description: "How can we use technology, arts and research for peace, towards transformation?"
More information: http://howtobuildpeace.org/programs/
See also: #peacetech

(event hashtag to be advised)
September 18-25
Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions 2016
Location: may locations - see website
Convener: @campaignnv
Description: "During Campaign Nonviolence Week, September 18-25, our goal is 500 marches for a culture of peace and nonviolence in cities and towns in all 50 states and in nations around the world, Campaign Nonviolence will march against violence and for a world of peace, justice and sustainability."
More information: http://www.paceebene.org/programs/campaign-nonviolence/campaign-nonviolence-week-of-actions/
See also: #nonviolence

#PJSA2016
September 22-24
Peace and Justice Study Association Conference
Location: Nelson, British Columbia
Convener: @PJSAtweets
Description: "At this year’s conference, we will explore methods and strategies that not only address the challenging attributes of our relationships and our world, but also showcase the success of visionary projects and movements that have built new ways of being and doing (that is, building the world we want) from the interpersonal to the global."
More information: http://www.peacejusticestudies.org/conference
See also: (additional hashtag(s) to be advised)

(event hashtag to be advised)
September 23-25
No War 2016: Real Security Without Terrorism
Location: Washington, DC
Convener: @worldbeyondwar
Description: "As the war system keeps societies in a state of permawar, we have reached a stage in human history at which we can say with confidence that there are better and more effective alternatives. Of course we know the question: “You say you are against war, but what’s the alternative?” This event will develop answers to that question, building on World Beyond War’s publication A Global Security System: An Alternative to War."
More information: http://worldbeyondwar.org/NoWar2016/
See also: (additional hashtag(s) to be advised)

#TalkingPeace
September 21 - October 2
Talking Peace Festival
Location: London, UK
Convener: @talkpeacefest
Description: "Art, Food, Film, Technology ... The Talking Peace Festival is a global unique arts and cultural platform organised by peacebuilding charity International Alert designed to engage people in the most urgent issues of peace and conflict around the world."
More information: http://talkingpeacefestival.org/
See also: #peacehack, #ART4PEACE

(event hashtag to be advised)
September 30 - October 2
Disarm! For a Climate of Peace – Creating an Action Agenda: IPB World Congress 2016 on Military and Social Spending
Location: Berlin, Germany
Convener: @intlpeacebureau
Description: "Talks, presentations, roundtables, panel discussions, workshops, information booths, exhibitions, cultural activities; high point in the recently-launched Global Campaign on Military Spending; apart from the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (mid-April), preparatory events will be held in major cities around the world over the coming year."
More information: https://www.ipb2016.berlin/
See also: (additional hashtag(s) to be advised)

 . . . PLUS more peace events worldwide - hashtag #PeaceDay!


Related posts

I've realized that when we ask ourselves, "What is it that we hope people will do?" we must include an element of recursivity: One of the things we want people to do is to involve more people in doing it. In a way, that element of recursivity -- dare I say "evangelism"? -- defines what it means for people to really become part of a movement.

(See Invite More People into Activism! (Pass It Along!) )











It will benefit us antiwar activists in the US to attend to and reflect upon the importance of these Sustainable Development Goals to achieving the goal of ending war.

(See PEACE DAY 2016: What comes first? Demilitarization? or Development?)













Yesterday was the UN International Day of Peace. The day nudged me to think about what -- if anything -- I feel I really know about peace and the movement for peace. Here are 10 things that are true for me . . . .

(See #PeaceDay 2015 - Ten Thoughts on Peace)


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Is There Space for Anything Besides War in the US Constitution?

Devote some of your "100 hours for peace" to a better understanding of the fundamental US document on war and peace: the US Constitution.

The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second
American Revolution, 1783-1789
,
by Joseph J. Ellis
I suggested people take back control of (at least some of) the time that the election 2016 circus is stealing from all of us, and put it to work thinking deeply about how to work better for peace.

An example of something US people who want peace need to think deeply about: does the US Constitution help us or hurt us?

My sister's book, Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom, makes strong arguments about what the Constitution really intends, and what it should cause us to do differently if we really intend to follow it.

The case of US Army Captain Michael Nathan Smith should force all of us to go back to the Constitution and try to understand what kinds of military structure and actions are permissible under the law of the land.

And, like or not, this is also going to force us all to really confront what our national agreement has been in the past -- and needs to be in the future -- about guns.

I have spent the last several days readying a wonderful book, The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789, by Joseph J. Ellis, about how the U.S. Constitution came into being. It's at your local library. If your eyes glaze over when you hear "Constitution" and "Federalist Papers," this book will rescue you. (Extra incentive, if musical theater inspires you: one member of "the quartet" is Alexander Hamilton; the others are George Washington, James Madison, and John Jay.)

For instance, The Quartet makes clear that, first and foremost, the impetus for the U.S. Constitution was (a) to assure that funds would be available for carrying out war, and (b) to enable the unimpeded occupation of much greater amounts of territory [see (a)].

The story only begins there, and, as one would expect, the eventual course of events has been conditioned on the diverse attentions and interests and moods of the leaders involved and the public that has acquiesced in their leadership.

It seems to me that it is necessary for all of us to step up and understand what the US Constitution is about. Like it or not, it creates the ground for dialog with a greatly expanded circle of people about the direction of warmaking and peacemaking by the US and its citizens.


Related posts

"I am investing these 100 hours in thinking deeply about what it will take to change the war-like ways of this country I live in. I am going to ask hard questions, confront what's really standing in the way, think creatively, and come up with new ways to be an effective peace worker. This is my time and I am going to make the best use of it."

(See The Election 2016 Diet: Invest 100 Hours for Peace)








US Army Capt. Nathan Michael Smith has sued the commander-in-chief, President Obama, for ordering war in violation of the US Constitution. Therein lie 5 lessons . . . .

(See Confronting Permawar: 5 Lessons from Captain Smith)








Elaine Scarry demonstrates that the power of one leader to obliterate millions of people with a nuclear weapon - a possibility that remains very real even in the wake of the Cold War - deeply violates our constitutional rights, undermines the social contract, and is fundamentally at odds with the deliberative principles of democracy.

(See Reviews of "Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom" by Elaine Scarry )










If you're really interested in effective harm reduction, the solution is a drastic reduction/elimination of the instruments of harm

(See ORLANDO SHOOTINGS: Start with the obvious (guns)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

"Personal Success Story"? "White Privilege"? or Both?

The ELCA's presiding bishop, Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, has set an example: own the white privilege we've experienced in our lives. Will Lutherans step up?


From @scarry:
What if we all did a personal inventory of how our "personal
success story" was built on white privilege? #ELCAcwa

(Image: ELCA presiding bishop Rev. Elizabeth Eaton and quote:
"When my dad came back from the war, the GI bill meant he and
my mom could get a low interest loan. That was not available to
African American veterans. That's white privilege. It's baked into
the system. Now, we didn't create it, but if we don't work to
change it, we are complicit."


The tweet above coincided with the every-three-years national gathering of the major US denomination of Lutherans -- the churchwide assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The presiding bishop, Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, had shared a meme of herself on Twitter, and I found it inspiring. So I added my own take on it, and shared it. It stimulated a lot of activity.

The ELCA has a growing emphasis on anti-racism, and Bishop Eaton's message puts that emphasis front and center.  I found Bishop Eaton's meme powerful for three reasons in particular:

(1) It's about systemic racism . . . in this case, a government benefit. A big part of our anti-racism work is understanding that racism is institutionalized in the US, and that we are called to change that.

(1) It names "white privilege." Without taking anything away from her dad, who served in the war, and worked hard in other ways, Bishop Eaton points out that some of what she has benefited from is based on an inequity: white privilege.

(3) It's personal. It's about Bishop Eaton and her dad and her mom. It's real.

It seemed obvious to me that this act of leadership was saying to all of us, There, I did it; you can do it too: you can think about it . . . you can stand up and say it publicly . . . and you can help spur the conversation! 

Bishop Eaton has a "big soapbox." The ELCA has about 4 million members. Imagine if just a fraction of those people responded to this act of leadership.

So, in response to her initiative, and in the spirit of learning from Bishop Eaton about how to use social media effectively, I'm creating and sharing my own meme about how I've experienced white privilege.

This is just a first step, and it involves selecting one example out of many. This one builds on something I was reminded of by Bishop Eaton's testimony - a benefit stemming from military service in my own family. (Stay tuned for a future installment about my experience with the criminal justice system.)


The personal success story

My mother was the daughter of a coal miner in Eastern Pennsylvania. My "granddaddy" Melker had served in World War I.

My mother got college scholarship money for an essay she wrote for a veterans organization her father belonged to -- the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Together with other scholarship money, that money enabled her to attend college at Temple University in Philadelphia.

My mother met my father at Temple.

They got married.

Time passed.

I was born.


The question

You can't imagine how many times this legend has been repeated in our family. "Just imagine -- if Mom had never won that scholarship . . . !"

Very few teenagers from the coal fields of Pennsylvania got to go to college in those days; my mom was certainly the first person in her family to make the leap.  

And she earned it. She was really, really smart. And she was a hero in many, many ways.

At the same time . . . . I'm now wondering, "Was that scholarship a privilege that could not be accessed by the children of African-American veterans?" I've researched a little, and it's hard to prove one way or another. I did learn that 370,000 African-Americans were inducted into service in World War I. I've seen reference to the de facto (white) ethnic character of particular VFW posts; I've also read that there were all-black VFW posts, and that the VFW wasn't very widespread in the South.

Beyond the Bonus March and GI Bill: How Veteran Politics Shaped the New Deal Era by Stephen R. Ortiz says:

While marked differences existed at the leadership level and in the national status of the [American] Legion and the VFW, more subtle differences could be found in their rank-and-file memberships. Both organizations took pride in a cross-class national membership. The thorny issue of race, however, tested the supposed inclusiveness of the organizations. Each allowed state departments to decide on racial matters, in tacit complicity with the southern Jim Crow system and the racial system that was emerging in the north during the 1920s. Therefore, while both the VFW and the Legion included African-American veterans as members, typically they were shunted into segregated posts in both northern and southern states. (p. 19, accessed via Google Books)

This will be a question that I will continue to research. (Maybe some of the people who know the history can share comments to this blog.)

My family went from the coal fields to the college quadrangle,
with the help of a scholarship from the VFW.

"Personal Success Story"?
"White Privilege"?
or both?

(Share on Twitter)


Related posts

"I am convinced that we are in denial about the racism that saturates our society and from which we directly benefit. That denial produces predictable twin reactions from white people: either silence about the racism that plainly reinforces our way of living or surprise at the frustration and outrage African Americans and others express at how they are treated."

(See Can "Lutheran" Be a #BlackLivesMatter Denomination?)









To be sitting in Berkeley and seeing in front of my eyes the spreading of this idea that started in Texas and was nurtured in Philadelphia and got agitated in Chicago felt like a real Pentecost moment.


(See Decolonize Lutheranism -- A Northern California Installment)






I believe that once the Church comes out of the closet -- that is, once we start speaking quite openly about the difference between the world as we find it and the world as we believe God wishes it to be -- there is no way this old world will be able to stay the same.

(See Let the Church Out of the Closet )

Thursday, August 11, 2016

#NOwar Music: Sometimes you hear it in church

Is your church community raising its voice against war and nuclear weapons? If not, why not?

Shirley Erena Murray
I got a jolt when I looked closely at the bulletin in the church service at University Lutheran Chapel a few weeks ago*. It called my attention to the hymn of the day, by New Zealander Shirley Erena Murray, particularly these words:

2 We who endanger,
who create hunger,
agents of death for all creatures that live,
we who would foster
clouds of disaster,

God of our planet, forestall and forgive!
(emphasis added)

The bulletin explained that

The "clouds of disaster" in verse 2 (which is sung in a minor key) refer to nuclear tests carried out by France in the South Pacific, which New Zealand has protested at the United Nations many times.

In fact, the Marshall Islands are currently seeking redress in connection with those tests in international courts: see "MARSHALL ISLANDS HIBAKUSHA: Can social media trump empire and entertainment?"

Coincidentally, just days later people were marking the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki with a vigil and protest at the Livermore Labs, near Berkeley, a major site of US nuclear weapons research. The foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, Tony de Brum, spoke at the event.


2016 Nagasaki Day protest at Livermore nuclear weapons lab
(Image: Margaret Lowry)


Here's the full hymn, "Touch the Earth Lightly":




Read more about the work of Shirley Erena Murray here: "A jolt of reality – the hymns of Shirley Erena Murray."And check an additional hymn by Shirley Erena Murray about the nuclear threat.


* By the way - I really shouldn't be surprised to hear any activist message at ULC Berkeley. See, for instance, "IN BERKELEY: Declaring Sanctuary, Changing Hearts and Minds."


Related posts

AK Songstress connects to the antiwar legacy of world music -- "in the era of legends like Bob Marley, he was always advocating for peace, unity, love and tolerance."

(See Product of Ghana: #NOwar / Pro Peace Music)












An amazing thing that will be happening -- in fact, has already begun happening -- here in Berkeley is a performance of Britten's War Requiem.
(See WAR: Will you hear? Will you perceive? Will you think?)














"We all live in a yellow nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine . . . ."

(See Lady Alba: When Progressive, Antiwar Views Go Viral )







An amazing number of the world's greatest artists are long-time devoted activists for nuclear disarmament and against nuclear power.

(See IT'S SHOW TIME! 2015 Sounds Like "Nuclear Disarmament"! )

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Think About It: "Roles Women Play in Peace Processes"

Want to be (at least) TWICE as effective as peace workers and peacebuilders? Think about "Roles Women Play in Peace Processes" . . . .

A few weeks ago I suggested: take back the time that the election 2016 circus is stealing from you and put it to work thinking deeply about how to work better for peace.

Today I saw this fabulous meme from Conciliation Resources:


Roles women play in peace processes
(Graphic from Conciliation Resources)


I talked about the importance of gender equality / gender equity to peace in this post: Gender Equity and Peace: Let's ALL have a say in conflict resolution. The Conciliation Resource meme is a nudge to think deeper.

Have you known women who have acted in one or more of these roles?

* Leaders of civil society initiatives or forums
* Facilitators of social reconstruction
* Promoters of women's rights and participation
* Informal or community mediators
* Influencers of armed groups and society
* Carers of the war afflicted
* Formal mediators, signatories, and witnesses
* Delegates or advisors to the negotiating parties

I intend to use some of the time that I've rescued from election 2016 to think deeply about this question. Maybe it will give me something to write about. Or at least some thank you letters to write.


Related posts

"I am investing these 100 hours in thinking deeply about what it will take to change the war-like ways of this country I live in. I am going to ask hard questions, confront what's really standing in the way, think creatively, and come up with new ways to be an effective peace worker. This is my time and I am going to make the best use of it."

(See The Election 2016 Diet: Invest 100 Hours for Peace)








There is no question in my mind that gender equity is foundational to moving us closer and closer to a world where conflict is addressed through cooperation and compromise, and not through domination and violence.

(See Gender Equity and Peace: Let's ALL have a say in conflict resolution)











In a composition suggestive of a yin-yang symbol, a woman in a burka (but wearing audacious red glitter platform heels) is surrounded by genie-ish tableaus of the many male obsessions/pastimes that some of us rail about frequently -- sexualized pop singers, professional sports -- as well as some that we probably should rail about more (such as patriarchy in religion and political violence).

(See VIOLENCE: " . . . and the women must live with the consequences . . . " )

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Trump? Maybe the problem is the NUCLEAR ARSENAL itself ...

Fifty GOP leaders oppose Trump, warning of danger if he controls nuclear weapons. Are they opposed to thermonuclear monarchs in general? Or just this one?


Donald Trump, December 2015:
"Why bother having nuclear weapons
if you are afraid to use them?"
(ICAN graphic)


I am perplexed reading the letter by 50 of the most powerful people in the world -- and they are, considering their inside role in the US political and national security establishment -- in which they warn about Donald Trump becoming president.

Really? A letter? That's the best you can do?

Without putting too fine a point on it: these are 50 of the people most responsible for propping up the current balance of terror, and now that it occurs to them that a catastrophe might occur, they give us a letter?

Make no mistake, even though they soft-peddle it, their ultimate fear is clearly what Trump might do with nuclear weapons:

Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be President. In our experience, a President must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads; must encourage consideration of conflicting views; and must acknowledge errors and learn from them. A President must be disciplined, control emotions, and act only after reflection and careful deliberation. A President must maintain cordial relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their respect and trust.

In our judgment, Mr. Trump has none of these critical qualities. He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood. He does not encourage conflicting views. He lacks self-control and acts impetuously. He cannot tolerate personal criticism. He has alarmed our closest allies with his erratic behavior. All of these are dangerous qualities in an individual who aspires to be President and Commander-in-Chief, with command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal
. (highlighting added)

So now it occurs to you that there's a problem? Up until now, you've assumed the US president would always be self-controlled enough, reflective enough, consistent enough . . . foolproof enough . . . that the nuclear thing would just kind of stay safely under wraps where it belongs?

If you really grasped the risk, you would be standing alongside President Obama urging him to negotiate complete nuclear disarmament as fast as he possibly can, and talking to everyone in Congress you can possibly get to support him.

See OBAMA: First stop, Hiroshima; second stop, Moscow.


Related posts

Elaine Scarry demonstrates that the power of one leader to obliterate millions of people with a nuclear weapon - a possibility that remains very real even in the wake of the Cold War - deeply violates our constitutional rights, undermines the social contract, and is fundamentally at odds with the deliberative principles of democracy.

(See Reviews of "Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom" by Elaine Scarry )










Do we have a way to immerse ourselves in the experience of what the use of those nuclear weapons would really mean -- prospectively -- so that we can truly cause ourselves to confront our own inaction?

(See Stop engaging in risky behavior )







Any advocacy for the elimination of nuclear weapons must sooner or later get around to the specifics of the steps by which we get to zero. U.S. nuclear strategists recognize that 311 is still a large number of strategic nuclear weapons for the U.S. to hold. Shouldn't our minimum demand be to get U.S. to this level (or below)?

(See Why Are These Military Experts Saying CUT CUT CUT Nukes? )