Saturday, October 31, 2009

Where Is The Love?

I was the only person in the bicycle shop.  I was at the counter, making a small purchase and chatting with the owner, when a loud motorcycle pulled up to the store.  The young driver came in the door, walked to the counter, and asked the owner if he had a particular item he needed for his motorcycle.   

The young fellow was tatooed and pierced.  He had on makeup and had spiked hair.  He was wearing all black Goth clothes.  He made his purchase, thanked the owner, and left. 

This was in the early 1980's in rural South Carolina.  Around these parts, we didn't see much of that type of dress.  It brought to my mind images I had seen on television of neo-Nazis and hate groups.  Not saying a word, I just looked at the owner with an expression that said, "I can't believe what I just saw!"  

"Yeah," he replied, smiling wryly as if he read my mind.  "But I had long hair when I was a kid.  And because of the way people responded to me when I was a teenager, I swore that I'd never judge anybody by their appearance." 

His comment brought me back around to remembering my own teenage years, when I, too, didn't always dress or act as my elders would have preferred. 

Lesson learned.  What the bicycle shop owner did was to help me see that young man not as an "other," but as an individual who might be like me, a person who had hopes and fears and motives for his dress.  A person like me, for whom I might have compassion.  That bike shop owner reminded me not to  prejudge, not to put people in separate categories of "otherness", merely based on superficial appearances. 

How often do we judge based on appearance, first impressions, or associations?

I find I tend to judge many things by their appearance or their first impression.  Rap music, for example.  I have a preconceived notion, not entirely unjustified, that much of it is banal and exploitative of women.  I don't normally listen to Rap.  But, like that young man, perhaps some of it should not be judged solely by its appearance. 

As an example, check out these lyrics (below) of "Where Is the Love" by the Black Eyed Peas :

 

What's wrong with the world, mama
People livin' like they ain't got no mamas
I think the whole world addicted to the drama
Only attracted to things that'll bring you trauma
Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin'
In the USA, the big CIA
The Bloods and The Crips and the KKK
But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you're bound to get irate, yeah
Madness is what you demonstrate
And that's exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y'all, y'all
People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love (Love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love
The love, the love
It just ain't the same, always unchanged
New days are strange, is the world insane
If love and peace is so strong
Why are there pieces of love that don't belong
Nations droppin' bombs
Chemical gasses fillin' lungs of little ones
With ongoin' sufferin' as the youth die young
So ask yourself is the lovin' really gone
So I could ask myself really what is goin' wrong
In this world that we livin' in people keep on givin'
in
Makin' wrong decisions, only visions of them dividends
Not respectin' each other, deny thy brother
A war is goin' on but the reason's undercover
The truth is kept secret, it's swept under the rug
If you never know truth then you never know love
Where's the love, y'all, come on (I don't know)
Where's the truth, y'all, come on (I don't know)
Where's the love, y'all
People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love (Love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love, the love, the love?
I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I'm gettin' older, y'all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin'
Selfishness got us followin' our wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema
Yo', whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness in equality
Instead of spreading love we're spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading lives away from unity
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' under
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' down
There's no wonder why sometimes I'm feelin' under
Gotta keep my faith alive till love is found
Now ask yourself
Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love?
Sing wit me y'all:
One world, one world (We only got)
One world, one world (That's all we got)
One world, one world
And something's wrong wit it (Yeah)
Something's wrong wit it (Yeah)
Something's wrong wit the wo-wo-world, yeah
We only got
(One world, one world)
That's all we got
(One world, one world)

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

10 Things We Can Do to Contribute to Internal, Interpersonal, and Organizational Peace

(1) Spend some time each day quietly reflecting on how we would like to relate to ourselves and others.

(2) Remember that all human beings have the same needs.

(3) Check our intention to see if we are as interested in others getting their needs met as our own.

(4) When asking someone to do something, check first to see if we are making a request or a demand.

(5) Instead of saying what we DON'T want someone to do, say what we DO want the person to do.

(6) Instead of saying what we want someone to BE, say what action we'd like the person to take that we hope will help the person be that way.

(7) Before agreeing or disagreeing with anyone's opinions, try to tune in to what the person is feeling and needing.

(8) Instead of saying "No," say what need of ours prevents us from saying "Yes."

(9) If we are feeling upset, think about what need of ours is not being met, and what we could do to meet it, instead of thinking about what's wrong with others or ourselves.

(10) Instead of praising someone who did something we like, express our gratitude by telling the person what need of ours that action met.

 

IMG_0703

 

(This list is directly quoted from the web page for the Center for Nonviolent Communication.  The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) would like there to be a critical mass of people using Nonviolent Communication language so all people will get their needs met and resolve their conflicts peacefully. They write:  "[original copyright] 2001, revised 2004 Gary Baran & CNVC. The right to freely duplicate this document is hereby granted." ) 

 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

HAPPY MID AUTUMN FESTIVAL! zhong qiu jie kuai le! 你好吗

4 October 2009

Today is the day of Mid Autumn Festival.  On this evening, the moon is its roundest and the fullest of the year.  Contemplating the roundness of the moon and the fullness of harvest leads us to contemplate our own blessings in life.   This evening in China is traditionally celebrated by families gathering and sharing dinner or walking outdoors under the light of the moon, to enjoy the beautiful evening moon and to celebrate the richness of the blessings of family life.

Blessings to you!  Enjoy this video!

 

My blog post from last year on this same subject is HERE

 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

TriPeace: the Web Site of Trinity Presbytery Peacemakers

Justice Like Waters w words banner

I've just created a new blog for Trinity Peacemakers, the peacemaking committee of  Trinity Presbytery in central South Carolina. 

This is not my personal blog, it will be a collaborative effort by all of the peacemakers in the central South Carolina, Presbyterian community. 

 

Click

HERE

to check out the new page! 

 

 
Not Presbyterian?  
Well, maybe you should be!

 

We're bringing peace to the world, one person at a time.