*For the quick read, skip to the last paragraph.
This morning at 5:30 am, I received an email from those I know in Israel, in Gaza. I received two photos of two children, one in a hospital bed, and another of a child playing with a balloon amid the rubble from a missile, a bomb, meant to do one thing and one thing only, shatter, take apart and destroy. I then watched the New York Times docu-narrative of a boy in Brazil, who flies kites. He makes them, glue and paper, string, and stick. He says: “I think everyone should have wings just like the birds and since we don’t have wings, I fly kites.” These children are the heart of the matter.
Someday these children might reflect on the innocence of these days, innocence so easily shattered. What would we have to do to provide protection and space and nurturing presence and wholeness for the children of the world?
Of course, for some the answers are simple: kill or be killed. For others, the answers are some form of a savior which marks the centerpoint of their faith and belief; for others, it is the work of medical research, the development of medicines, for others it is a set of laws, clarity of right and wrong. A leading researcher on AIDS, died in the plane shot down in route to an international conference.
These narratives of suffering, death, destruction leave little room for breathing space; little room for comfort. We assume that to fly high in the sky will take us always from home to wherever it is we are going and then back home again. We make plans; we expect to find and keep an even keel. And then we don’t any longer. We give up, retreat to the narrow confines of our belief, our settled upon answers, our guns, our intellectual reasoning, our prejudices, and forego the unpleasantness. Because we do not have answers that seem to provide a way, we have become polarized, split in two, grasping for an ideology which at least offers some sort of solid ground, but it doesn’t, not really because it creates exclusion and inclusion; fear of anyone not like me.
Every generation seeks to find answers, to prepare to offer the world the gift of an end to violence. The news cycle becomes addictive, the wordiness of editorials, blogs, columnists become predicable. Analysis is unending, updates constant, and answers few and far between.
*Here is what I know: dialogue helps, being in conversation with others is most important, and accountability to what we think and what we say vital; acquiring listening skills, necessary. That is why a Doctor of Ministry is a good idea for those in ministry, both pastoral and specialized. This degree gives room for the both/and of points of view; gives room to be changed, provides companions from all over the nation (and increasingly the world) so that we might have courage, we might continue to live in hope for here and for now; and through faculty and students together, creates a climate for learning.
Link to New York Times Kite Fight: http://www.hulu.com/watch/661868