beginning with ourselves

So instead of loving what you think is peace, love other[s] and love God above all. And instead of hating the people that you think are warmakers, hate the appetites and the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, , then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate these things in yourself not in another.

  • Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

wendell berry on peace

Peace assuredly would pay even larger dividends [than war], but to the wrong people. It is not at all clear how you could make a billion dollars by being peaceable. And so we don’t consider or study the means of peace, or make them available to our leaders. We speak well of peace, we say we want it, we have paid the lives of innumerable other people and unaccountable wealth supposedly to get it, but we seem not to mind, we seem not to notice, that all we have got for so much loss, for so long, is more war….

Of course Christians want to kill the enemies of Christians. How could this not be so when Christians have so often and so happily killed other Christians? But it is remarkable and disturbing that Christians were pointedly instructed by Christ not to do this. In most of historical and institutional Christianity there appears to be a void where should have appeared Christ’s requirement that we should love, bless, do good to, and pray for our enemies, and forgive those who offend us. In order to end war, somebody, some nation, would have to stop fighting. In order to stop fighting there would need to be an alternative, something to do instead. After 2,000 years all Christian nations and most churches have found nothing preferable to war.

Only a few marginal Christians have dared to think that Christianity calls for the radical neighborhood, servanthood, love, and forgiveness that Christ taught. I agree with them, and much against my nature I have tried to make my thoughts consent.

– Wendell Berry, from an interview in The American Conservative