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Saturday, August 20, 2011

On Violence

I have typically recognized myself oh these many years as what some might call a “redneck”. No not the racial kind or the kind that drives a “bubba truck” and loves to hunt and fish. I’m talking about the north Charlotte redneck that thinks fist fighting is a viable solution to some problems.

I mean that’s what I was taught as a child. Folks used to chuckle and say “Well … he comes by his temper honestly … then there’s the red hair and all.” Then they’d rub you on the head and tell you what a “little man” you were.

The thing is I loved reading books and other than the Marvel Comics the general gist was to avoid a fight if you could. There was also that nagging, “Jesus thing”. I was pretty sure he wasn’t too keen on “getting in the first lick” and such.

Well I grew up and went in the Navy, hitched across country, tended bar and things like that for a while. The whole time I’m reading philosophy, eastern thought, political science and a lot of psychosocial stuff while living life “leading with my chin”. In the meantime my intellectual, emotional life is screaming at me from a far away, dim and dark place.

I couldn’t help but look at it all and when in my right mind see the most courage in people like Ghandi, and Dr. King, Ralph Bunche (damn near saved the world in the 60’s), Mother Teresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and a long list of peace loving activists that gave their lives and dreams promoting non-violence.

Today I know the truth but it took so long to admit it. Generations have told the boys of the world to “suck it up” and “kick ass” so that’s what they did. If you’re gentle they’ll often ridicule or find a way to run all over you. A lot of that fist fighting was about protecting some poor soul who ran up on one of those people that had been indoctrinated into the pattern of violence that rules our world.

I don’t think that in the end it rules our heart though. When you put Jesus up against fist fighting its no contest. Thing is you just have to keep your eye on Jesus.

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