Peace in the Middle East – and America
“Most people go native within three years…and after that, they’re no good to anyone.”
I laughed. “Going native” brought to mind animal skin clothes and battling with poison tipped blow darts. It was funny to imagine myself, or any other Friend, in that caricature.
We sat in a comfortable restaurant talking about NW Friends’ interest in a more sustained presence in the Middle East. As one of the historic peace churches, Friends have a long history of wading into difficult situations, and I’d never known any to resort to poison-tipped blow darts.
That, of course, wasn’t his point. I knew because he didn’t laugh with me.
Sometimes promoting peace is as simple as noticing when I need to ask a person to explain rather than sticking with a light-hearted straw-man caricature.
By “going native,” he’d meant that a person becomes so identified with one of the (many) sides in a conflict—so angry, desperate, or traumatized—that s/he can no longer function as an agent of peace, of creativity, of empathy, of discernment, of hope, of love. The fruits of the Spirit are replaced. “And after that, they’re no good to anyone.”
Sometimes promoting peace is as simple, and as difficult, as taking seriously the potential in each of us to “go native.”
I’m not writing about ME or YOU, of course. I’m writing about OTHER PEOPLE.
Contributed by Elizabeth Todd, Newberg Friends