A post to Ruthie's site... and why I am going to be away from my meeting for awhile...
Without clearness in conflict, in the face of rumor that I cannot see in anyway as true, after speaking to my wife and a Friend close to the issue, but not the Friend in conflict, who flatly refuses the process of clearness committee, isolation is better than open conflict. There has been months of anger on one side and pain on the other, the Friend who is angry feels perfectly justified in anger, and I feel completely and physically in pain from that anger being directed at me in a way and at times, for which I cannot see the reason. Added to this conflict in my life at every turn, I find a situation I could never imagine before, the meeting in which I grew up, the haven of my soul brings me only pain. So, for a time, I am going to spend time away, not in anger, not to force anyone to come to clearness, not even to run from rumor, but to walk towards peace, where ever it is.
A little more on the Peace Testimony...
I am always uncomfortable to gloss over the issues of WWII when speaking about the Peace Testimony.
In reality, the evil of nazism was absolute in the expression of nazism in the death camps. But, the fact is the war aspect which fed that evil is common to all human conflict wither interpersonal or international... mass delusion (individual self delusion repeated in millions of lives ) and striking out, then resolution talking and peace.
We Quakers through clearness try to reverse the process, begin with talking then peace.
So, let's look at the occasion of war in terms of two people as well as two nations. The leaders of the nation have their goals, their world views and dreams... in the case of Germany it was a belief in some mythical golden age that could be restored to bring about a world without ambiguity. To achieve this there had to be a unifying myth... "look at the Jews, you can tell they are the evil rot in society because..." and things are pointed to out of context to "prove" the myth. The specific was made general, and prejudice resulted.
We are seeing this today in the war against... who knows what?... England and the United States are committing in the Middle East... "look to the event of the World Trade Center ( look to the Ruben James... look to the Gulf of Tonkin, look to the Maine... look to the gift of Tennis Balls given our English King by the French King for his coronation..." and on an on before us and behind us...) , ... taken out of context of history it proves... all we need to fight.
Two people, one points to an event, a perceived trait and says to friends... look at this, this is why I am in conflict with that person, it is obvious that... because of... and the support of others is employed to carry on conflict so that the result of the lack of clearness between two people becomes lack of clearness among others... divides the community and the result is like war, in our meeting we have not been able to choose a clerk for over a year, friends spread rumors to prove... XY&Z... other conflicts take on the same process... we go from being a Utopian community based on love to being a community at war, then Friends get tired of the pain caused, like the unacceptable death and destruction eventually arrived at in war, peace becomes the preferable to continued hurt to each other ... and clearness is attempted.
However, when clearness is attempted after all the pain, it is so much harder to achieve, there is so much more misunderstanding to overcome... so much more obvious to one and not the other on both sides.
So, we Friends encourage each other not to carry tales, to enter into clearness at the start of conflict. But, we are human and that often does not happen. It is the same with war. War seems inevitable because peoples, like people, do not enter the process of making peace before the conflict. Mass anger in injected into the process in the same way individual anger is injected into the process and the result is the same, a clouding of issues, the unbelievable becomes the commonly accepted, the best reputations become sullied and conflicts become set in stone, and Friends leave their meetings.
Talk. That is way the Peace Testimony becomes real... talk to each other dear Friends in conflict, talk in a loving way to the God in each other and if you can't, enlist the aid of Friends to keep that talk centered in God. The same is true with nations... talk, and make peace before the wars, during the wars, because after the war it is too late for so many.
Talk, lovingly and with and to God who dwells in all of us.
And a note to the Amazing Rutherford... I hope thee is no longer hungry, no anger here, all the forgiveness in the world, even if the fault is all mine, or not, fault has no place in clearness, forever best wishes no matter how far away I have to be... but... I am at a complete loss to understand.