Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wendell Berry at Peace Camp

Wendell Berry at Peace Camp
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Last week, several people from Jeff Street and many from around the nation and world took part in the annual summer conference of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, better known as Peace Camp. As always, there were some powerful teachers, musicians and speakers taking part in the meetings, including Wendell Berry!

Some quotes from Berry on Peaceable Living:

The aim and result of war necessarily is not peace but victory, and any victory won by violence necessarily justifies the violence that won it and leads to further violence...

We have an inescapable duty to notice also that war is profitable, whereas the means of peaceableness, being cheap or free, make no money...

An economy based on waste is inherently and hopelessly violent, and war is its inevitable by-product. We need a peaceable economy...

Glen Stassen

Glen Stassen
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
The incredible lineup of folk participating in the camp continues with one-time Louisvillian and long time Just Peace activist, Glen Stassen. Stassen used to be a professor at the Southern Baptist Seminary back in the day and now teaches at Fuller Theological Seminary in California.

Stassen wrote the (relatively new) classic book on peacemaking, Just Peacemaking. This is a must-read book for Christians or anyone interested in peace, seems to me.

Stassen was also part of a group that pulled together the "Ten Practices of Just Peacemaking," posted here:

Strengthen Cooperative Forces includes:

* 1. Recognize emerging cooperative forces in the international system, and work with them.
* 2. Strengthen the United Nations and international efforts for cooperation and human rights.

Advance Justice for All includes:

* 3. Promote democracy, human rights, and religious liberty.
* 4. Foster just and sustainable economic development.

Taking Peacemaking Initiatives includes:

* 5. Reduce offensive weapons and weapons trade.
* 6. Support nonviolent direct action.
* 7. Take independent initiatives to reduce hostility.
* 8. Use partnership conflict resolution.
* 9. Acknowledge responsibility for conflict and injustice; seek repentance and forgiveness.
* 10. Encourage grassroots peacemaking groups and voluntary associations.

Michelle Tooley

Michelle Tooley
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Peace Camp was held this year right here in Kentucky, at the beautiful campus of Berea College. Former Jeff Streeter and wunder-preacher/teacher, Michelle Tooley, is a professor at Berea and took part in the leading of the meetings.

Hooray for our Wild, Wonderful Wimmen!

One little person, giving all of her time to peace, makes news. Many people,
giving some of their time, can make history.

~Peace Pilgrim

One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.

~Agatha Christie

Look closely at the present you are constructing.
It should look like the future you dream of.

~Alice Walker

Down to Earth

Down to Earth
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Also playing a role in the peaceable festivities was Jeff Street's own, Down to Earth (aka Kate and Paul)! I hear they put on a fantastic concert and thoroughly impressed veteran folk singer, Si Kahn.

And speaking of Kahn, here are some lyrics from his song, Love Like Freedom:

They found some common ground
Where they meet and speak their mind
Where each could have the space and time
To be themself and hold their own
They didn't know if their wedding dance
Would last as long as the wind and rain
But each had a sense of the other's pain
And love enough to take a chance

Talking about the time gone past
Wondering what the years will bring
For love like freedom is a hard won thing
Only struggle makes it last

Peace Camp 2007

Peace Camp Friends
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Michael or someone did an excellent job of taking photos! These are just beautiful. Thanks for all who attended, we appreciate your being there.

More quotes:

If there is light in the soul, There will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, There will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, There will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, There will be peace in the world.

~ Chinese Proverb

One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.

~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Vern Ratzlaff

Originally uploaded by paynehollow
One of the speakers at Peace Camp this year was Canadian Mennonite, Vern Ratzlaff. Michael gives a bit of a report on him at his Levellers blog.

I'll offer here a quote from fellow Mennonite, John Howard Yoder, from his book, He Came Preaching Peace:

The cross of Christ later comes to have other meanings. It may be spoken about as penalty, as sacrifice, or as victory. But all such additional depths of meaning derive from and are dependent upon the social and historical one: a righteous man was put to death because of the way he refused to let stand the unrighteousness of the powers in control of the people he came to liberate. It is also the way he calls his followers to take. That is what causes us to stumble: not that the cross is weak, but that it asks of us too much strength.

To be authentically safe does not mean that to every threat one can pose a counterthreat. It means either that the threat is not there, or that one chooses not to fear it. The prophets, Jesus, and the early Christians faced real threats, but they chose not to fear them. Some of them faced martyrdom, but they did not fear it. It was given to them – by grace through faith – not to fear but to love.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Jeff Street Picnic at Deams Lake

Brady Reading Harry
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
A grand time was had by all. We mostly fought the urge to sit around and read Harry Potter.


Jesse and Kids At Deams Lake

Jesse and Kids At Deams Lake
Originally uploaded by paynehollow

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Obby Lobby Land

Obby Lobby Land
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
And here's one of our relatively new joys, the multi-talented boys from Obby Lobby Land (spelling uncertain...)

Another Grace-Full Goatwalker Night

Piano Paul
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Last night was our regular Urban Goatwalker Coffeehouse night. If you're unfamiliar with it, you can read this earlier story.

As the Goatwalker is all about Grace, I thought I'd include this little ditty that I've read recently - a rather poetic exercise in logic from William of Occam...

All Grace is of God, God is Grace.
Grace does not require belief. Grace does not require submission. Grace does not require confession.
The origin of Grace is Love.
Grace does require acceptance.
The only sin Grace will not erase is the rejection of Grace, either for
one's self or for another.

Friday, July 06, 2007

A Promise...

House of Prayer Fireworks?
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Excerpts from one of Cindy's recent sermons - the sermon that followed Karen's story in the three prior posts.

This morning's psalm describes a similar scene: If it had not been God who was on our side, then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; then over us would have gone the raging waters. If it had not been God who was on our side…

Karen would be quick to point out that God was on her friend Samya's side, too, even though she died, and Karen did not. That God was on her friend Leslies' side, too, even though he suffered a brain injury and was never able to resume his teaching duties.

And that is, for me, the difficulty of this psalm. Because so often when we say that God is on our side, we mean instead of your side, instead of their side. But as our beloved Karen said, “NO! God loves each and every person who died tonight just as much as God loves me.” God loves the Sunnis and the Shiites and the American soldiers, too. And though that may or may not have been the psalmist's stance, it is the lens through which we can approach this morning's psalm...

The psalmist is just an inch away from death. The imagery that he or she uses here about being swallowed up whole is used at some other places in scripture, and it's referring to a dragon or a sea monster. So it's like you're just about to be swallowed up whole, you can feel the dragon's hot breath, see the saliva dripping off it's monstrous teeth…

Or it's like the floodwater is rushing down the street, sweeping cars and grocery stalls and people toward you, a torrent of muddy brown pulling you down, dragging you away from every last thing that you love…

And then, and then, just when you thought you could bear no more, and then, and then, just when you saw that there was no way out... the God whose very name is Way Out, the God whose very name is HELP, the maker of heaven and earth, the God who is on your side pulls you from the swelling waters and holds you fast until the waters subside...

Karen... said, “It was good to remember this story this morning as a promise.”

And that is what this psalm is: it's a promise. God is on our side. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

by Pastor Cindy, who has a voice to speak