Threats and ‘Paddles’

Friday, April 9, 2021

We may think we are up a creek without a paddle,

Doch,

God provides all the ‘paddle’ we need:

God’s blessings and claim that we are God’s own

Isaiah 43:1

Thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

Romans 8:31

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

Words of Grace For Today

The challenges of our days can overwhelm us.

The challenges of Covid 19 can overwhelm us.

Other people’s lack of compliance with restrictions in place to protect us all from Covid 19 and it’s debilitating long term effects can not overwhelm us, it can maim us for life, or kill us.

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

We may be terribly afraid of what can happen to us, or what others will try to do to us, even when we have done nothing to warrant such threats to ourselves.

While we may seek security in all sorts of manners and means, there is only one real source of security, no matter our circumstances, no matter how luxurious our ‘boat’ through the waters of life and Covid 19 may appear to be: Our only true security is God’s blessing and claiming us.

What does God say?

Thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

We can relax, think clearly, plan and work as best we can, be thankful and generous with all we have, even our lives … for we can trust that we are in God’s hands.

When we have eaten our fill …

Saturday, March 27, 2021

No Matter How Luxurious Our Homes

Remember with Thanks

That God Provides Everything Good for Us

Deuteronomy 8:12-14

When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Words of Grace For Today

When one lives in ones own land, owns a home, has possessions that provide food security and financial security (or the appearance thereof), and has seen increases from generation to generation then…

then it is all too easy to forget one’s past.

It is all too easy to forget one’s sins.

It is all too easy to forget God’s great miracles that have and still do deliver us all daily, because it may appear to us that we are captains of our own fate and that we have delivered ourselves and worked hard to earn all we have.

All possessions, position and power, security and safety can disappear in a minute.

There is no real life that forgets one’s past, one’s ancestors’ past, and God’s good works in the past … and in the present.

The only real life that is worth a moment’s participation is to live filled with gratitude for all God provides.

Breathe.

Breathe again.

Breathe deeply and slowly … and again.

That is God’s gift most basic: that we can breathe and their is air that sustains life. Everything else that sustains our lives are also gifts from God.

Real living is wonderfully experienced as God’s overly generous gifts for us, though we deserve none of it, and only because God finds that we are precious.

God finds all other people precious, and in our thanks for all God gives us, God asks us to be the conduits of God’s demonstrating to all others how precious they are.

WORD and CREATOR for US

Sunday, March 21, 2021

The Journey Forward

is on

Word-calmed Waters.

Paddle Onward Without Fear.

Isaiah 48:13

My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they stand at attention.

John 1:1-3

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.

Words of Grace For Today

God, who comes to our rescue, who delivers us again and again, who sanctifies us making us holy and thus wholly capable of bearing the Good News of Grace to all people … God, who loves us, is the One who spoke a Word in the beginning before anything including time, spread out a right hand to create the heavens, laid the foundation of the earth.

The universe was not created by some godlet. Nor is our God some inconsequential being, to be ignored or dismissed.

It’s more than ‘turtles all the way down’ that the earth is founded on; it is founded on unconditional love.

In the beginning was the Word. We later came to know this Word as Jesus, the communication from God in a human life; the language we can understand.

The heavens and earth may come to attention when God summons them. God did not create us so bound to God’s Word. We get to really mess up terribly, ignoring the Creator and the Word if we so choose … which we humans do all too often.

The Word came to communicate that God accounted for our rebellion and sin and evil. God forgives us our rebellion and sin and evil, and sets us right with God our Creator and Sustainer. Thus we may forge ahead each day, each minute, not hounded and horrified by the depth and breadth of our past rebellion and sin and evil. We may live free of that, and bind ourselves anew to receiving God’s blessings in such an abundance that they spill off us to those around us; they flow through us to others even emptying us … purifying us and taking the life right out of us as we become the bearers of God’s Good News of Grace to all people: God loves us!

Now with God standing with us, why would not the hoards of armies surrender to us making noise? Why would the walls of Jericho not crumble at our trumpets’ calls? Why would the chaos of un-creation void (the ocean waters) and the storms of chaos breaking in through the heavens not obey the Word spoken: ‘Be still!’

May our hearts be also stilled this and each day, from the chaos of fear, false pride, jealousy, and greed, so that we can calmly face the challenges of each day, even if it is one day among many of a pandemic.

Breathe deeply

Relax

Meet the challenges with patience and assurance that God is with us, saving us, guiding us, inspiring us to do holy things for all peoples.

Messengers of God’s Word

Sunday, March 7, 2021

God’s Word

Is Fire

In Our Hearts

and All Creation!

Jeremiah 1:17

But you, gird up your loins; stand up and tell them everything that I command you. Do not break down before them, or I will break you before them.

2 Corinthians 4:5

For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake.

Words of Grace For Today

It is sometimes presented as a glorious calling that we receive in our baptisms: to serve Christ, to proclaim Christ, to obey Christ.

Jeremiah (though before Christ’s life in time on earth) knew well the calling to serve God, to proclaim God’s Word, and to obey God.

God makes it clear: Jeremiah is to proclaim God’s Word, clearly, loudly. He should not break down in front of powerful people or great rulers or in front of anyone. If he does God will show the powerful people and great rulers and everyone else how much more powerful God is than they: he will break Jeremiah as an example, a warning to them.

Driven by God’s command and warning Jeremiah proclaims God’s Word. Most people do not want to hear it and turn on him, the messenger, as if that could ever stop God’s Word! Jeremiah suffers humilities and punishments that would break most people. He survives and continues to proclaim God’s Word, the true inconvenient Word of God, to an obstinate people. Sometimes it is a Word of judgment and warning, other times it is a Word of love, forgiveness, renewal and hope. The people really do not want to hear any of it; for hearing any of it at all, any at all, requires that they recognize their own sins, confess them and return to serve God alone.

They are having too much of a good time serving themselves. They are having to lousy a time suffering as slaves for foreign powers. They do not want God to change things. They want to change things themselves for themselves. They want to become the oppressors of other peoples so that they can enjoy lives of privilege and power and comfort. God will have none of it.

God desires that all people receive life abundant.

Proclaiming Christ’s Word is exactly that. It’s not admonishments to good living. It’s not threats to live moral lives. It’s not an escape route from suffering and sin. It’s not some holy panacea pill that solves every ill.

Christ’s Word is the old, old story of Jesus and his love; God’s clearest demonstration of God’s unconditionally loving attitude toward all people. When that hit’s us, it’s a life changer, not just the first time but every time we hear it and listen. The Holy Spirit sweeps us off our stayed or escaping feet right into the lap of God’s mercy, love and hope, and then the power of the Spirit inspires us and moves us to exercise that same mercy, love and hope for all other people … so that all people have life abundant.

As messengers of Christ’s Word, we also will be persecuted, riled against, and unjustly blamed for things beyond our possible doing. Welcome to Jeremiah’s club, the club of God’s messengers sent to proclaim God’s Word. God’s Word, the fire giving life to our hearts and all creation.

What a life!

Soon and Very Soon, Please!

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Is it too much to ask,

Your Kingdom Come

Today!

Isaiah 60:3

Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Luke 11:2

He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.

Words of Grace For Today

The Lord’s Prayer is known by countless people, said countless times, and desperately counted on more than a few times:

Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.

For when God’s kingdom comes, then those that have done [fill in the injustice, the lies, the gaslighting, the horrendous abominations] to us and all other people will be brought to stop. Perhaps they will be brought to an end, though God’s preference is that they will be converted to serve God alone.

When God’s kingdom comes, then Nations shall come to God’s light, and kings to the brightness of Christ’s dawn,

and all people will give God thanks for the breath they have, for the water they have, for the food they eat, for the shelter (maybe even homes) they have, for the meaningful labour they have, and for the opportunity they have to love and be loved.

For now … the injustice continues, the lies live on, the gaslighting has not stopped, the horrendous abominations are repeated …

and countless people, suffering heartbreak and …

breathing polluted air if they can breath at all,

having no clean water if water at all,

having little nourishing food if any at all,

having no shelter yet a home at all,

having no meaningful labour if any at all,

and no opportunity to love and be loved at all,

wait

and

pray

and

hope

that soon

very soon

God’s Kingdom will come.

Dread can be Dead

Thursday, March 4, 2021

God, through the Seasons, Removes the Ice

from the Lake.

God is Always Ready to Remove

the ‘Ice’ and Dread

from our Hearts and Minds

Jeremiah 29:11

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

Colossians 1:19-20

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

Words of Grace For Today

Calm

Breathe and Relax

Be Calm

A year ago as Covid 19 spreading across the globe started to invade our lives we were afraid, unsure, perturbed and disturbed though without any focus of at what except an invisible thing that was coming for us! In Lent suddenly we could no longer gather for worship. We stopped and thought we’d start again in a month, right? It was just a temporary restriction, a temporary closure!

A year later, again in Lent, we think we have seen it all, and with vaccines being distributed slowly we hope that it will soon come to an end, though we are dreading what may come first, or almost never voiced, we dread most of all that it might never end. We dread now what we know is not just a very painful death, but even with mild symptoms the effects of the virus’ invasion into our body can leave long term ‘scars’ or scares, as strokes, organ failure and even heart and brain failure, strike without warning. Long-haulers refers to those who get sick, quite sick, but recover only sort of as they remain incapable of working, functioning, or thinking straight for fatigue and pain and …. The cost to all humans is more devastating than we could have imagined. Now the variants spread more quickly, perhaps more deadly, perhaps more devastating in the long-term disruption to our bodies’ functioning.

This is our life, suddenly foisted upon us, whether we were settled and bored or at least boring in our privileged lives, or whether we struggled to survive each day as our very lives were under threat of war’s violence, starvation or dying of thirst for lack of water … or whether our lives were already lost to an existential thirst for living water. No matter where or how or what we were before, now Covid 19 is upon us and has been for quite some time now, still an unknown quantity despite all we have collectively learned about it.

God remains.

God remains as always with us.

God remains as always with us and for us.

God has plans for our welfare and not for harm, to give us a future with hope.

To demonstrate God’s intentions and plans for us, Jesus lived as one of us, and as we (not God as some would claim) demand payment for sins God sacrificed Jesus’ life to our jealous, sinful, greedy, corrupt injustice.

Through him God was pleased to reconcile to God’s self all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of Jesus’ cross.

What lengths God goes to. What lengths we need God to go to, in order that we may be convinced that God’s attitude toward us is reconciliation, forgiveness, redemption, sanctification, and renewed life!

There are countless reasons to panic, to be in dread, to be overwhelmed with angst.

There is one ultimate reason to be calm.

God is with us and for us, and spares nothing to convince us that our future is good; we have every reason to hope.

For all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.

Relax.

Breathe.

Be Calm.

Be God-made saints (though we remain simultaneously sinners.)

Breathe.

God’s got this (Covid and all), too.

God’s Wonders Keep Us In Life, No Matter What Comes Our Way

Sunday, February 28, 2021

God is with Us

Always

Though we Despair,

Nothing Can Separate Us From God’s Blessings and Joy.

Isaiah 43:5

Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

Words of Grace For Today

God promises us no easy or comfortable life. God promises us, though, when life is horrendously challenging, we need not fear what may come our way: We need not fear.

Some people somehow learn not to panic in the most stressful situations, though we all have our limits. There are things that drive everyone of us over the bend, and into such distress that we cannot see our way forward.

Life with Christ as our guide, though, need never leave us in doubt; God accompanies us, and when we stray, God gathers us and our offspring in from all the corners where we have strayed and been scattered like dandelion seeds in the winds of summer thunderstorms. Life can be rough, so rough that it will easily appear to do us in.

God promises us we need not fear that such misadventure will do us in. Paul puts it well: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

God calls us to be saints, the people who reflect Christ’s light to all the world. As we work to bring to light the wonders of God’s miracles among us, there will be no end of challenges that we will face, that will tempt us, and that will do us in, except God finds us, delivers us, and sets us right again, to breathe for yet another day of service.

Light and easy our lives may not be, though accompanied by God we can trust we will endure everything that comes our way. Knowing God’s promises are sure, we need not panic. Not because we are so great or practised or immune. We need not panic because God guards our hearts and minds and strength with God’s own strength. Life for us never ceases to amaze or challenge or inspire.

Breathe. God’s spirit enters us, cleanses us, and inspires us.

Breathe. All will be well. All will be well. All manners of things will be well.

Breathe, Relax, Choose, Do the Saints’ Work

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Relax, Breathe,

No Matter the Path We Choose,

Nothing Can Separate Us From God’s Love.

2 Samuel 22:3

My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my saviour; you save me from violence.

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Words of Grace For Today

Covid 19 has brought many of the challenges to abundant living to the fore, making it impossible to ignore them. Poor care in (only some) senior care facilities, the real costs of homelessness (which we used to minimize by large social housing projects which were stopped decades ago, resulted in large homeless populations nearly everywhere, which we are only recently addressing and saving money doing so!), the huge percentage of our populations who have absorbed as the basis of their ‘rational’ thinking ‘Querdenken’, false-news, science-deniers, and wild conspiracy theories, which has fed racist and minority focused hate – this is possible since the powers that be have long since used propaganda, and all the above to rationalize their corrupt agendas and to remain in power. Fear mongering by politicians and power brokers and even courts has long term costs for a society and we are paying for it now, again, and will be for decades.

While the stress of isolation taxes each person’s resilience, the first step in responding to each new wave of stress is to relax. It is in fact the only healthy thing we can choose to do in the face of overwhelming stress.

Breathe.

Breathe deeply and slowly.

Breathe in the Holy Spirit’s presence to be in us. Allow it to cleanse and renew each fibre of our being.

Breathe out the effects of all evil and stress.

Breathe in deeply and slowly. Breathe out every source of stress.

Then we can remember who our rock and salvation is. Then we can remember the words of Paul which have sustained generations of God’s people:

Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So assured, again, that God is with and for us, loving us, now we can return to providing that same unconditional love to those in need around us. We can start addressing, one by one, the ills of our society that Covid 19 has made more obvious. We can in fact bring an end to chronic homelessness. We can in fact provide better value (pay) for essential workers, and less for overpaid un-essential leeches on our society, like money brokers and stock market manipulators. We can ensure all people receive respect and care. We can deal with violence (physical and psychological) against all people by anyone, not just against women by men. We can begin to deal with the many who use religion to accumulate power for themselves, to hide their abuse of others, and to perpetrate violence against anyone who stands up to them. We have more than enough ‘wolves hiding in sheep’s clothing’ in our congregations. We can begin to deal with Querdenken and raw hatred based on religion, ethnicity, gender or any other measure by speaking truth, and protecting those who speak truth for us.

And we can begin and end each day thanking God: My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my saviour; you save me from violence.

Always Darkness in Corrupt Power, Light in Christ

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Even in the darkest of nights and tribulations
God provides a promise of Light

Christ’s Light

To reveal all Truth and Grace

1 Kings 8:59-60

Let these words of mine, with which I pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires; so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.

Revelation 15:4

Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your judgements have been revealed.

Words of Grace For Today

Bill Hordern wrote:

Therefore, as Reinhold Niebuhr saw so clearly, governments are never simply a protection against injustice, they are also strongholds of injustice. Although the Christians ought to seek to have the government protect the weak from the strong, in fact most governments tend to protect the strong from the weak. The sword is wielded to maintain the status quo and all its inequities. Therefore, we should be prepared to see that service to God rather than to man may sometimes bring us into conflict with the rulers over many more matters than just the niceties of theological doctrine or ecclesiastical practice. (Living by Grace p.195)

These words were quoted by a now bishop in a text study decades ago. This year a good pastor added: Hence the wisdom from the theology of the survivors of WW2, and the wisdom of the Civil rights warriors like John Lewis who said:Get into good trouble!’

It is as true today as ever, and especially here at home in Alberta, Canada. A partner Gaslights her partner, children lie, a pastor lies and schemes with the police to gather false reports, and to harass the target. Many false reports, false arrests, lies upon lies already and charges are laid. Church leaders lie to the RCMP. A petition to the court is made to protect the children. It is not only ignored and defeated and used as a ‘blood sport’ weapon against the good, honest, and kind (though not perfect) father to ruin his reputation, drive him so far into debt he will never get out of it, and to drive him homeless. Blatantly corrupt lawyers and their assistants bald face lie to the courts. Prosecutors lie to the Courts. Witnesses blatantly lie to the courts. Dozens of judges deal with the matters, those at crucial turns in the process blatantly lie about the evidence against (most of it lies already) the good father, and even about the evidence for the good father. He is falsely convicted, jailed where his life is threatened – mostly by the staff, and even by a nurse who administers a badly needed drug that has to be ingested with food, and denies him food for more than a half hour – it’s a miracle his stomach does not develop an ulcer – though he survives protected by a host of inmates and a few guards who do not want the old man needlessly hurt.

Denied support the good, honest, and kind father, Gaslit beyond imagination, is driven homeless. His body starts to fail, and he seeks the healing power of solitude and wilderness. He survives despite continuing efforts to kill him by courts, lawyers, and always his ex.

He prays daily in thanks for all he has, especially breath and health and love and work but especially for solitude during Covid 19. The most dangerous thing now is the contact he must have directly with people as most people are in flat out angry denial that Covid 19 is to be taken seriously.

The sin of so many people that has brought him thus far are too many to track, many remain hidden and unknown. This cannot be the first time such gaslighting, police harassment, blatantly false evidence by police and witnesses, false convictions and corrupt rulings, cruel games played by judges to hide they lies in their judgments, and persistent efforts are mounted to kill a good, honest, kind father. It is done so well, so practiced, so effective, so well hidden, with such disdain for truth and without fear of being caught out.

So this good, honest, kind father, now a holy hermit is me. I have forgiven my ex who is surely a borderline personality disordered person, and bound all other’s sins, known and unknown. Now I have prayed daily for God to bring the truth to light, and to deal with truth and justice and grace with those sins and sinners.

So I read today’s passage as if I had written it myself and know that I certainly not the first person to be so treated by other people. We humans really have a tremendous capacity to be cruel to others, and our methods really have not changed all that much since … well since the beginning of recorded history.

Still I pray knowing countless others have, do and pray the same with me:

Let these words of mine, with which I pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires; so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.

For then

Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your judgements will have been revealed.

That day is eagerly awaited, and until then we all trust that the Kingdom of God is near, God walks with us, even us homeless, gaslit, kind people who are so far surviving the sword of the powerful and corrupt which is wielded to maintain the status quo and all its inequities.

As member Jones said after one of many false arrests, Do you know why I do this? … Because I can.

But God will stop even this evil, in God’s time.

May We have Peace on Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

God Gives Us Light To Find Our Way Home,

To Accept and Give Forgiveness Always to Everyone

So That All May Know Peace!

Psalm 29:11

May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Ephesians 2:17

So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.

Words of Grace For Today

Peace is not the absence of conflict, nor the absence of violence even. Peace can coexist with both of these, though it works to pull us from violence to negotiation with each other, and from conflict with each other to harmony with (not each other) … with God’s Will for us.

CBC gave air time to a woman looking to organize mass fasting to call attention to domestic violence. She wanted those fasting to explain why they were hungry, and how terrible it is, now with Covid 19 restrictions, for women to be caught at home with their abusers. She wanted men to find a better model of what men can be. She wanted to call attention to the many, many women who are killed as a result of abuse.

All sort of good and well, as far as it goes. She seems to want, as many do, for us all to forget that ten times, got that, TEN TIMES! as many men die from violence as do women. Her project is a common one voiced today: women need to be protected from evil men. There are no good men, just evil men.

If similar things were said about women, their would be an uproar of denunciation of the misogyny. But no one even mentions that this woman’s statements devalue men, categorizing us all as abusers and as evil men who need to rethink who we are in order to become something better. No one voices the realization that this is misandry (the hatred of and devaluing of men.)

Make no mistake: some men kill women. AND some women kill men. Some use force, some use manipulation.

As if to make it sound like women are under greater threat, among other misandrist statements, it is said men are afraid a woman will laugh at him; women are afraid a man will kill her. The reality is when a woman laughs at a man, she devalues him, announces it for many to see, and taking his respect from him leaves him easy prey for both men and women bullies and abusers to kill him, if not directly with force then with psychological manipulation until there is nothing left of his life, not at all, not at all. The truth is men are as afraid of women killing him (often using men to accomplish the deed) as a women are afraid that men will kill them.

Abuse is abuse. Gender is not really a factor. Stereotypes are a serious problem because the mask the real issues with false issues.

That’s what is so terribly wrong with this woman’s campaign to get people to fast; it assumes all men kill women, and forgets that lots of women kill men, and regardless of who does the killing and how, many more men (ten times as many as women), our brothers, fathers, uncles, sons, and grandfathers, are dying, murdered by others.

Peace is not to point fingers and eradicate the falsely identified murder or the murderers. Peace is much more profound. Peace, real peace, requires that we acknowledge true reality. Real peace is to first realize that a part of each of us contributes to the conditions and circumstances we all live under in our society. Peace is second to forgive ourselves and accept others’ forgiveness of us, and to accept God’s forgiveness (actually that has to come first before other forgiveness is possible.) Third, peace is to forgive others so that there is no more finger pointing or calling out for others to change. The change has to be made within each of us first, and we have to point to the other as already forgiven … so that they may choose to change. Fourth, peace asks of each of us that we be profoundly thankful that forgiveness is possible, that God starts us off down that path, again and again each day.

If we are going to fast (and some like me cannot fast without putting ourselves at great physical risk of needing hospitalization to recover or we die) then it is to fast quietly, for this is what we need most: an inward healing of our relationship with God, God’s creation and God’s creatures, especially other people.

If we are going to put on a campaign to raise awareness of injustice, and in particular avoidable murder, then we cannot tie that message to misogyny or misandry. That only exacerbates the underlying lies we tell ourselves about the polarized genders, which drives us further and further from any possible reduction of avoidable murder. It in fact raises the conflict to higher levels, which in turn gives rise to more pain, which gives rise to more violence (physical and psychological) and that leads to more destruction of people, including physical and psychological deaths.

We need models for real peace. God sent us Jesus to live that model for us. There are a great number of saints who have provided models as well. We need to remember the old, old story of Jesus and his love, and of the saints that teach us faith and real peace, giving us real hope. Remember the good examples (they were human so they were not perfect) of Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Bonhoeffer, and many others. Above all begin each day remembering Jesus and his love, and all God does for us. From gratitude for all God’s blessing we can find our way to peace, even amidst conflict and violence and injustices all around us.