Thursday, November 19, 2009

on Georgia and the Berrigan Brothers...

Tonight, at 9:30pm, I will head to Georgia with 18 friends and soon-to-be-friends, to put my body and my faith on the line at the annual School of the Americas protest.

This protest has been going on for 20 years which means that, from an American standpoint, it's an utter failure. Where are the results? Where's the individual satisfaction? Why didn't things change right away?

But, from a Christian standpoint, the protest against the School of the Americas is, and continues to be a success. Because we witness. Because we mourn. Because we just show up, which is so hard these days, when there are bills to pay and people to love and a severe lack of time, money, energy, and faith.

The challenge for me is to use this as a first step - I've limited my official protest of violence in our local, and global communities, to letter-writing, public speaking, simple living (or, simple-ish), and prayer. And I want to continue all of those things. But I know there's more that I'm afraid to try, or places I want to go in this world that I don't fully know how to enter.

Whenever I get in that space, I remember this challenging, and true, poem by Fr. Daniel Berrigan. I share it here to inspire myself .

Georgetown Poem (7)
The Trouble with Our State
The trouble with our state
was not civil disobedience
which in any case was hesitant and rare

Civil disobedience was rare as a kidney stone
No, rarer; it was disappearing like immigrant's disease

You've heard of a war on cancer?
There is no war like the plague of the media
There is no war like routine
There is no war like 3 square meals
There is no war like a prevailing wind

It blows softly, whispers
don't rock the boat!
the sails obey, the ship of state rolls on

The trouble with our state
-we learned it only afterward
when the dead resembled the living who resembled the dead
and civil virtue shone like paint on tin
and tin citizens and tin soldiers marched to the common whip

-our trouble
the trouble with our state
with our state of soul
our state of siege -

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