I just got home from a play called Whatever Kindles. It's about Christian Peacemaker Teams, a group that does nonviolent resistance, intervention and accompaniment in conflict situations around the world. This play is by a f/Friend of mine named Tricia Gates Brown, and it is amazing! This was the first time the play has been produced ever (well, last night was the first performance). Tricia did a wonderful job of showing the good things about CPT, the hard things, and the internal struggles that happen when in the midst of conflict situations--how everything is suddenly not so black and white, so easily categorized, so easy to tell people to "just get along"...
In the play the characters tell their stories of involvement with CPT, their hopes, fears, doubts, uncertainties, joys, and conviction. It was inspiring, but not in the way that you want to go out and join up, but in the way that it forces you to seriously think about all the options, and hits you squarely in the conscience in a way that's hard to ignore.
I've wanted to join CPT for several years now but the timing hasn't been right yet. Now with a little baby I don't know when the timing will ever be right, so I ask myself, why not now? If not now, when? Other people's children live in those conflict areas (Israel/Palestine, Colombia, Iraq, etc.), and they can't leave. How can I say, "I have a child," as an excuse not to go help them? At the same time, is it helpful to put myself and my child's future at risk unnecessarily when my being there won't change the situation for those other kids and families?
But the thing is, my being there would change the situation. For some reason, when people are there watching, others have a harder time being so violent. When those involved in using violent force encounter someone who sees them and treats them as a human, they are less able/willing to dehumanize all the people they are told to victimize. So my being there could change the level of danger for someone else's kids, and it's not likely I would die (only one CPTer, Tom Fox, has ever died as a result of their presence in these conflict areas).
And even if I died, wouldn't that have a positive effect (in some ways) on my little boy, who would grow up knowing that I lived what I believed and was willing to die for it?
I guess I just feel like a hypocrite sometimes--no, maybe more than sometimes. I feel like I do a lot of talking but not much putting my life on the line, not much where I have to get outside my comfort zone. At the same time, CPT is a "safe" thing for me to do that would sound really amazing and world-altering, but am I able to do peacemaking in my own community? Shouldn't I start here? Am I willing to step out and "Get in the Way" (as is the CPT motto) here, where I have more at stake? Even closer to home, am I willing to work on the places of violence in my own heart here and now, to make peace in my relationships and family? Wouldn't it be just as hypocritical to go out and try to make other people make peace without making peace in my own area of influence?
Perhaps, but at least I need to be doing something. How much waiting around and planning and "getting educated" can a person do before they act? Will a person actually act if they get stuck in the rut of "preparation"? I need some motivation to actually get out there and do something.
The title of the play comes from a quote by Theresa de Avila, where she says to do "whatever kindles love." What kindles love in me? What kindles love in you? Why is it so hard to get ourselves to do the things we love and are truly passionate about?