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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, January 24, 2003
    The Cost of Living
    In a recent Times article entitled The United States of America has gone mad, John le Carre wrote,
      Last Friday a friend of mine in California drove to his local supermarket with a sticker on his car saying: "Peace is also Patriotic." It was gone by the time he'd finished shopping.
    ItÕs a wryly amusing observation, but also a reminder that itÕs tough being a peace activist anytime, and at this time it must be particularly tough being a peace activist in the States.

    So it was good to hear from Rose Marie Berger, Sojourners Associate Editor, after yesterdayÕs little gesture of support from this website:
      ÓWe have been working hard and sometimes feel tired. Your generosity allowed us to stop a moment and remember how grateful we are for the work God has given us and to allow our spirits to be refreshed and renewed in joy. Thank you.Ó
    Peacebuilding is a small world and Rose Marie knows Corrymeela and has warm memories of the Croi. Today also our Parish Magazine came out and I re-read my Corrymeela reflections published there, which included the observation that itÕs easy to dismiss peacemaking as being ÔsoftÕ and ÔunrealisticÕ, but thatÕs a harmful lie. In Northern Ireland I saw how it took a great deal of tough-mindedness and strength of character to build peace in divided communities. It's the 'weaker' ones who are content to throw stones over 'peace walls' (or brickbats across political arenas).

    I noticed how often conflicts are maintained when good (and not so good) people keep quiet, pretend everytingÕs ok, live a lie, and that itÕs those who are committed to breaking the conflict who inject reality into the situation, often at cost.

    We could, perhaps, call it The Cost of Living. ThatÕs the title of a book by author/activist Arundhati Roy, from which this excellent quote, following, Rose Marie sent me.....
      To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.