Greetings! Editing PeaceSigns is always an adventure, as we never know what our writers will send in from month to month. But there are times when the Holy Spirit is so clearly guiding our writers in the same direction that all we can do is chuckle delightedly. That was the case this month as we received two timely articles on voting and both a cartoon and article related to Christmas shopping. I think you will find much food for thought in this issue. Enjoy!<read more>
Below are a few PeaceSigns updates and also some news from Mennonite Church USA. On a personal note, I recently resigned from my position at the Peace Advocate office in order to spend more time with my kids, my garden and some freelance writing projects, but am continuing to edit PeaceSigns. As always, I welcome your responses and feedback.
Christian criteria for voting
by Susan Mark Landis
On what criteria do Christians base their voting decisions? Life experiences? Sunday school or small group discussions? Common sense? The Bible?<read more>
Perhaps a recent Pew survey on torture (<http://blog.faithinpubliclife.org/upload/2008/09/FPL%20Mercer%20Torture%20Poll%20Memo%20Final-no%20embargo.pdf>) gives us answers. The survey showed that "48 percent of the general public believes torture sometimes or often is justified in order to obtain information from suspected terrorists, [but that] 57 percent of white Southern evangelicals hold that belief."
by Merrill R. Miller
"Otterville" is copyrighted and is not to be reproduced in any form without permission. Contact Merrill Miller at <email@example.com>
"In Haiti we have a joke," Djakoli told me while I was in the country as part of an MCC-organized learning tour.<read more>
The story goes like this: a woman is sitting on the side of the road, selling vegetables. A slick new shiny car pulls up, driven by a Haitian. A white man gets out, who also looks slick in his new suit and tie.
The man asks the woman, "If I tell you exactly how many onions are in each box that you are selling, will you give me one box for free?" The woman is intrigued and agrees. The man then pulls out his computer. The screen shows a satellite image of the woman and her vegetables. Then it zeroes in on one box and computes a calculation. A few minutes later the man looks at the woman and says, "There are exactly 250 onions in each box."
One hot and humid day in 1972, I was traveling with a Vietnamese colleague in the countryside of Quang Ngai Province, Central Viet Nam. For reasons I do not remember, we stopped at a small police station along the narrow dirt road. Like most police stations in the countryside during the war, it was surrounded by barbed wire and guard posts. We passed through the guarded gate with no problem and as we alit from our Honda 50 and started walking toward the door of the station, I suddenly noticed three or four claymore mines set amongst the flowers growing in well-kept beds along the front of the building. Unexpectedly coming face to face with any mine is, in itself, stressful but when looking more closely I saw, embossed in bold letters on each claymore the words FRONT TOWARD ENEMY. All of the claymore mines were facing toward me!<read more>
"All I really want for Christmas is a little more peace on earth."<read more>
For years, Oak Grove Mennonite Church, my congregation, has begun celebrating Christmas long before Thanksgiving with a "Global Christmas Shop." The Wednesday the week before Thanksgiving, for about two hours, our foyer is transformed into a place to buy a bit of peace and justice for the world in the name of our family and friends.
You will tap your feet and feel good listening to this CD of 14 songs sung by children and adults. There's a contagious rhythm and beat, from rap to country to hip hop to blues--music that makes learning about peacemaking fun. Children hear positive, inclusive messages about getting along with others and expressing feelings. Through catchy and thought-provoking tunes, listeners are introduced to words and phrases that may not be familiar to them--words like mediation, affirmation, negotiation, and "I" messages.<read more>
It is predictably the case that in most discussions of nonviolence, those who favor violent action in a threatening situation will raise the question, "What would you do if ...?" Generally the question takes the form of "What would you do if a homicidal maniac or escaped convict broke into your house and threatened to kill your wife, or your children, or your mother?" or something of the sort.<read more>
Prayer for Peace<read more>
O Great Love, O Deep Compassion, have mercy on us.