Last night we watched "Lord of War," the new (at least new to the video store) movie with Nicholas Cage. It's about the illegal small arms trade, and how the biggest dealers are the top five UN countries. Great...
The movie's really well done and even has a documentary-type thing as one of the DVD features if you want to learn more about the reality of the arms trade. We were pretty depressed by the end of the movie, with a grim understanding of another thing that sucks about this world we live in.
There was a mention of Quakers, which we laughed at really hard--Cage's character says, "After ten minutes there were more guns on that aircraft than on a plane full of Quakers!" (or something to that effect).
So the movie got me thinking about my outlook on life. I was making fun of myself the other day to a northeasterner (I think here they have more of a pessimistic attitude than most northwesterners), and I called myself an "eternal optimist." I think that's true of me--and still I think I'm pretty realistic, too. These are hard things to balance!
I believe that there are tons of things wrong with the world, and sometimes I get so loaded down with it all that I wonder how I'll even continue going on with life as usual--like after watching "Hotel Rwanda" last year, or when the Iraq war started even though there were so many people protesting and it seemed like the whole nation was against the idea of going to war... I see all these things and they hurt my soul so deeply that I can hardly go on and I wonder how a little group of peace-loving Quakers can ever do anything to affect change.
And yet, we're a small group of people, and we're known all over the world for the work we've done for justice and peace--real peace, not just lack of violence.
I have to believe that still there is hope, even though we can't change the world completely, we can change it for good. "The Kingdom of God is at hand," Jesus said, and scholars are realizing that the way he said that meant that it's here already, continually effecting the world--and the Kingdom of God is us. It's us working for truth and justice and peace and equality and discernment and listening to God, as Quakers have traditionally stood for.
Yes, it's so hard and frustrating and sad and heart-wrenching that so much evil exists in this world. It's hard to imagine how a good God could "let" all this happen. But y'know what, I'm a stubbornly-realistic-eternal-optimist, and I think there is good in this God and in the humans God brought into existence, and we can do something to continue influencing this world for good.
Who's the "lord of war"? Well, God's in control as we fight the Lamb's War, and although I don't think God likes war, somehow good is prevailing and the Kingdom is coming and is here as we act for justice and peace.
A song by David Wilcox sums up this idea incredibly well--he has a way of doing that! It's called (Love Will) Show the Way, and you should definitely go read it...right now...what are you waiting for??? =)