Wednesday, February 23, 2005


COMPLICITY. I wrote the following piece immediately following America's attack on Iraq in 2003. I read it this morning...and it rings true of my heart and mind today:

I decried the possibility of war
and it was fostered anyway.
I spoke my piece for peace
and my voice was drowned.
I wrote to my governing authorities
and none responded to my pleas.
I stood publicly with others in protest
and we were ridiculed as unpatriotic.
I prayed for war to be avoided
and my prayer was not answered.

Still, I pray.
Still, I stand.
Still, I write.
Still, I speak.
Still, I decry.

That my perspective is not popular
does not diminish its validity.
That my voice is not heard by authorities
does not mean it is of little consequence.
That my stand against violence is ridiculed
does not negate my love for country.
That my prayer is not answered
does not mean it is not considered.
That war prevails for the day
does not make it legitimate.

I have the blood of innocents on my hands today,
and the blood of enemies
for whom I beleive Jesus Christ died,
whom I am called upon to love.
Without approving of war or pulling a trigger,
and even after protesting against it,
I have become complicit in its carnage,
I have taken the lives of children of God.

I dare not justify my complicity
or diminish its consequences,
saying the benefits outweigh the costs,
thinking the end justifies the means,
making noises about the price of freedom.
Lives as precious as mine are being snuffed out
one at a time and hundreds at a time --
in defense of their homeland,
in obedience to their governing leaders --
pierced by hot lead, shattered by bombs.

Their blood is on my hands --
not simply on governing authorities,
or on the military that does their bidding,
or on those who approve of war
and savor its anticipated glories.
I dare not excuse myself from complicity,
carry on as if it were not my war,
blame it on the arrogance of leaders,
pass moral judgment on my fellow citizens,
or diminish my participation in this
orchestration of death.

What can I do?
How can I live while others
die by my own hand?
How can I bear the judgment
for taking the lives of others?

Instead of gloating,
I mourn.
Instead of pouting,
I pray.
Instead of lashing out,
I keep vigil.
Instead of excusing,
I confess.
Instead of dulling my senses,
I empathize.
Instead of yielding to cynicism,
I cultivate hope.
Instead of being swayed by opinion,
I explore the Word.
Instead of isolating,
I neighbor.

I entrust myself and my neighbors
to the mercy of God,
to the justice of God,
the wisdom of to God,
to the compassion of God.

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