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

    Sunday, November 07, 2004
    Feelin' like Joe

    Joe Sacco, artist, writes in (and of) his book Palestine, "My comic blockbuster depends on conflict; peace won't pay the rent."

    I'm like Joe, or so it feels at the start of a week where I shall immerse myself in others' conflict to get the material I need for Sunday's Remembrance service, immerse myself in others' sorrow to get the inspiration I need for the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed. My liturgical creations depend on conflict; peace won't pay the rent.

    This year I hope to resist the temptation to lecture the Remembrance congregation on nonviolence; I think I shall find that easier than previously. Age has wearied me; I'm now liable to be critically aware of the peace movement - still my people, but so often a hectoring, quibbling, stone-hearted bunch with terrible blindspots. Ironic - the peace movement's energies depend on conflict; peace won't pay their rent either.

    Most things depend on conflict, according to Rene Girard. He and his disciples like James Alison are among the few struggling to find a theoretical world outside of conflict, to frame a differently-shaped future. I based today's sermon on their mimetic theory. Deep stuff, subverting the life-death conflict to try to comprehend a God to whom all are alive, for whom death is not. Went down like a doodlebug-struck balloon. Seems the people's God-picture is comfortably wrapped up in conflict; another reason peace won't pay my rent.