I called a friend who lives in downtown Louisville to check on how he was doing. He lives “too close” to the where peaceful protests are occurring as well as where the violence is taking place.  As we chatted, “worrisome” was a word he used.  He is okay or at least has convinced himself that he is okay.  His concern is both for the immediacy of the situation as well as the longer term effects that sanctioned or unlawful violence will have on his community and our country.  My conversation with him got me wondering and it was not a sit back in my thinking chair enjoyable kind of wondering.  Sometimes I just feel frozen (which is a way not to say helpless) particularly when it comes to the vastness of the violence in our culture.
I read an article Digging Up the Roots of Violence.  The author wrote this, “There is no single cause of violence. Convincing arguments can be made for increased levels of violence being due to disrupted upbringing, situational stress, economic inequality, deprivation of justice, extreme poverty, low wages, unemployment, social isolation, overcrowding and poor housing. We accept that all of these are contributory factors. We are also persuaded that violence is increased by a culture of violence, it is increased by a culture absent of moral or spiritual character, increased by exposure to violence in the media, and increased by the easy availability of firearms…”  You don’t have to agree with the author’s position.  What do you think are the causes of violence?
I started reflecting on how I have become complicit or co-opted into believing that violence is a normal part of our lives and that I don’t have to affirm some prevailing belief system that glamorizes violence and then uses it as a means to control or resolve.  Because I believe that God has better things in mind for us, I can be more useful in creating a less violent community and that is worth my effort.

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:11-12
“Let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Reflection Questions:
What do you think are the causes of violence?
What does it mean for you to pursue peace?
What is the Spirit encouraging you to see?

Prayer:
Holy God, see me as one who chooses to do good.  Help me somehow find a path to pursue peace and don’t let me give up to the powers and principalities of this world. Amen.

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