Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Jesus Freak-Peacenik

Back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s I was going through a lot of  turmoil, not unlike most teens my age. Being involved with the Jesus Movement during that time gave me the inner peace that I was craving.

But, becoming a Christian also challenged two very important passions of mine, Science and the Anti-War Movement. In my earlier blog post, I'm Losing (And Finding) My Religion - Again, I wrote about my faith journey and my love of science and how I finally reconciled the two

Here, I want to tell the story of my other passion and how being involved with the Jesus Movement caused me to abandon the Anti-War Movement for a period of time.

During the Vietnam War I registered for the draft as a Consciences Objector. The Great Command to “love your neighbor as your self” along with the Great Commission to “go and make disciples” could not be reconciled in my mind with going to war. I would often make the point of how totally incompatible spreading the Gospel is with going to war by saying “Hello, I am a christian and I am here to let you know that Jesus loves you... BANG!”

On one hand I was hanging up anti-war posters while on the other hand I was passing out Gospel leaflets. At the height of the Jesus Movement a very popular and influential singer named Larry Norman wrote a song that prompted me to give up my anti-war activities. Larry’s song Right Here In America has a line that says:

“I'm not talking religion, I'm talking 'bout Jesus, Put all your plans on the shelf. Let's stop marching for peace, and start marching for Jesus, And peace will take care of itself.”

That is exactly what I did, I shelved my plans to help end the Vietnam War and literally marched for Jesus. I felt that investing time and energy on anything other than spreading the Gospel was sinful. I believed that if I could help convert the whole world to Christianity all wars would miraculously end.

About this same time John Lennon released his hit song Imagine. Imagine was so Anathema to my way of thinking. How could we do away with Heaven and Hell? How could I imagine no religion? I hated that song! I hated it while at the same time I was drawn towards it.

John Lennon’s song challenged me to think about religion in a new way. So many wars and conflicts, so much hatred and division - all in the name of Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, Vishnu, or whatever deity gave someone the feeling that divine authority was granted to kill in the name of religion. I was beginning to understand why John Lennon wrote Imagine. It was not a song against religion, but a song against hatred in the name of religion.

I don’t think that John Lennon would imagine a world without Jesus’ teachings on Peace and Love. Jesus spoke out against hypocrisy and any religion that breeds hatred. Jesus taught that Peacemakers are blessed, he taught that we should love our enemies, reach out to the outcasts, and help the needy.

The eradication of all religion can no more bring about world peace than the conversion of the entire planet to Christianity would. A world totally void of religion or a completely Christian world are both utopian dreams without any basis in reality. With or without religion people still have to choose peace as a way of life, peace is not an automatic byproduct of either system.

I am no longer repulsed by John Lennon’s song Imagine. I came to believe that John was making the point that anything - be it possessions, politics, or religion - anything that causes hatred between people should be abandoned. Imagine is no longer Anathema to me, I now embrace it.

I am still talking about Jesus, but I am also speaking out against war again. I now am actively promoting peace with the full conviction that it is my Christian duty because Jesus said “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”

"We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say "We must not wage war." It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace."
~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - Nobel Peace Prize Lecture December 11, 1964

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Peace Links

Over the last several years I have found some very important organizations working on peace, social justice, and nonviolence issues around the world.

The list has grown to the point that I felt it best to make a separate page just for these links. Two of them, The Fellowship of Reconciliation and The War Resisters League, both allow individual memberships.

The Fellowship of Reconciliation, founded in 1914, is the largest and oldest Interfaith Peace organization in the United States and is dedicated to the promotion of nonviolent conflict resolution.

The War Resisters League, founded in 1923, is the United States’ oldest secular pacifist organization resisting war at home and war abroad.

So, here is my "short list" of peace links. All of these organizations have great resources and information and every one of them is worth checking out. 

Fellowship of Reconciliation

War Resisters League

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft

National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth

Center on Conscience and War

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

The Peace Alliance

The World Peace Prayer Society

United States Institute of Peace

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." ~Jesus (Matthew 5:9)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud) 

Friday, February 07, 2014

Guided Missiles And Misguided Men - Another Quote By Dr. King

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, Dr. King made the important connection between the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.

Here is a link to Beyond Vietnam with the full text of Dr. Kings speech along with an audio file of the complete address he gave at Riverside Church in New York.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

We Need More Than Just 3 Days of Peace & Music!


So, it is August and the end of summer is fast approaching... which brings to mind Woodstock and the question, where is the universal Peace & Love that was dreamed of, hoped for, and idealized at Woodstock back in 1969.

Watching the Director's Cut of Woodstock recently I was amazed to see a different Woodstock than what was portrayed in the original version.

On one hand, the drug use that seemed to be only hinted at in the original version was much more fully documented in the Director's Cut - you could just imagine the vast numbers of brain cells that were lost during those 3 Days of Peace & Music.

On the other hand, there seemed to be more interviews than I remember with idealistic flower children telling of a Utopian world free of war, hatred, and greed that they were ushering in to existence at that very moment

I don't think that the drugs were a positive thing, but where have all of those idealistic flower children gone?

Whether or not you were actually at Woodstock or just experienced  it through film, everyone who identifies with the Woodstock Generation and all of those idealistic flower children struggles with the fact that after the music fades the realities of life begin to set in. Food, shelter, clothing - the basic needs of life that can't be neglected, along with the demands of work and family that must be attended to, all begin to compete for our focus and energy.

But, that doesn't mean our dream of a peaceful world should end or that our efforts to create that world should be abandoned. Where have all the flower children gone? Maybe we should be asking where are the new flower children? Do our children and our grandchildren value peace the way we did in our idealistic youth?

I believe the answer is yes and with the tools of the internet and social media there are possibilities that underground newspapers could only accomplish on a smaller more local level back in 1969.

Keep the dream alive!

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." ~Jesus (Matthew 5:9)

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Feels Like War

General Stanley McChrystal was quoted in the Foreign Affairs article Generation Kill back in December 2012.

"And although to the United States, a drone strike seems to have very little risk and very little pain, at the receiving end, it feels like war. Americans have got to understand that. If we were to use our technological capabilities carelessly -- I don't think we do, but there's always the danger that you will -- then we should not be upset when someone responds with their equivalent, which is a suicide bomb in Central Park, because that's what they can respond with."

For more reading about the use of militarized drones check out KnowDrones.com

"But distance takes away the horror, and we therefore speak of war with too much levity, and even read of it with an interest not sufficiently linked with pain."
~Charles H. Spurgeon


Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)