Saturday, May 31, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

Last night my twin sons Paul and Wesley joined their fellow Centennial High School Golden Hawk classmates in the graduation class of 2008. We arrived at the football stadium around 6:30 and didn't leave until about 9:30, after all the hats were tossed in the air and the confetti was released by well wishing family members. As far as graduations go this one went off without a hitch. I attend graduation every year at my high school, so it is kind of hard for me to get too worked up, even though this one is so special. This particular class was really large, over 500 strong which I believe is the largest graduation ceremony I have ever attended. After number 503 walked across the stage the parents, friends, and other family members stormed the field. It was kind of liking watching a college football game when the crazy fans rush the field after a big upset. We stood around, hugged my sons, told them how proud we were, and took a few pictures. Normally my two sons have no patience for having their pictures taken but on this night they both were on their best behavior. We then went back to the house for some cake and a few more pictures before my two sons took off to a school sponsored graduation function which they later confessed was a waste of time....The evening went so fast and when I left to come home after 10:00 o'clock, I couldn't believe it was over so quickly. The whole evening just seems so surreal, kinda like a wedding. You spend so much time, money, and effort for the big event, and then, bingo, it is all over like a flash. The whole thing just doesn't seem right. Why can't we drag these things on a bit longer. Why can't the parents have a pep rally before the big event? least an afterglow bonfire meeting after the graduates have left the field. It just doesn't seem fair that such big and significant events have to be so quick and is what it is...and...Now father and sons move on to the next chapter of life. The next chapter has an outline but many of the pages remain blank because it is now time for the father to pass along the pen to the sons who must write the rest of the book. The father will continue to offer guidance and proofreading when and if the sons want or need his assistance but it is now up to the sons to use their own imagination and skills to write the ensuing chapters. The father looks forward to reading the chapters that will develop in the years to come and hopes and prays that the stories will reflect and fulfill the deep longings and desires of the authors who are now part of the graduating class of 2008.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A tribute to my two sons

Tomorrow night my two sons, Paul, and Wesley, will graduate from Centennial High School in Bakersfield. I am so proud of both of my sons. It has not always been easy for either one of my two sons during their high school years. Their mother and I divorced when they entered junior high and I have not lived with my two sons for the past six years. I have tried to remain close to my sons over the years and we have spent a lot of time is hard not having your father around when you need him at times...but...despite, the disadvantages and numerous challenges, they both have hung in there and did what they needed to do to graduate. Both of my sons will be attending Bakersfield Junior college next year. Wesley will move in with me after graduation and his brother will live with his grandparents who live only about a mile away...I have many fond memories of the times my sons and I have spent together over the past six years...our three week trip to Canada...our three week trip along the Oregon and Washington coast...going to movies together...moving into my new house last year...and, many, many, more...Congratulations, Paul, and Wesley, you have accomplished a great milestone in life and it is my hope and prayer that you will both find your niche in life and accomplish your hopes and dreams. I am proud to be your father and I love you both...very...very much...Listed below are some of my favorite pictures of my two sons.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It is getting rediculous

I have got to vent just one more time about the recent gas price surge. On Tuesday morning I bought gas for 3.75 at a gas station near my house. This morning, four days later, gas is now 4.09 at the same station! That is a whopping increase of 34 cents in four days! this going to stop? I have read conflicting reports over the past couple of weeks regarding gas prices. Some suggest this current surge is a bubble just waiting to burst and that the current market forces estimate gas should be about 75 dollars a barrel at the present time. Others suggest, it is headed towards six dollars a gallon. I hope and pray the bubble burster senario is the correct one because if it is not than inflation and recession are headed our way. Living in California can be a real drag because many of our cities are so spread out and many of us car pool long distances to work. In my case, I travel almost 80 miles to work each day. Thank goodness summer vacation is almost here. This year I may have to forgo going anywhere because of the outrageous gas prices. I guess I can get just ride my bike up and down the neighborhood and watch Planet Earth/National Geographic on my big screen t.v. and "pretend" I am on vacation.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Who Said What?

So, do you think you are smart?...then, see how you do on my latest, but not my greatest, quiz called,who said what?....Listed below are 10 famous quotes by 10 famous people. If you want to play, than reply by matching the number with the correct letter and I’ll get back to you to see how well you did. Good luck. Please don’t cheat…or, I’ll send you to the principles office....P.S. You get a bonus point if you can guess whose picture is portrayed above.

1. I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us
as equals.

2. Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one;
enemy to none.

3. When you stare into the abyss the abyss stares back at you.

4. Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we

5. Spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds

6. The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend."

7. "Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow; Don't walk behind me, I
may not lead; Walk beside me, and just be my friend."

8. Give me chastity and continence, but not yet."

9. "Give me a museum and I'll fill it."

10. In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the
silence of our friends"

ANSWER KEY…..Aristotle, Augustine, Martin Luther King, Confucius,
Nietzsche,Franklin, Churchill, Einstein, Camus, and Picasso.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

3.80 and Rising

In 2000 during George Bush’s first year in office the price of a barrel of oil cost 27.18 cents. Earlier today a barrel of oil reached 130 dollars. That is an increase of almost five fold…so…what’s going on and when is this going to stop? Well, from where I sit it will only stop or slow down when… the value of the dollars stops dropping… the oil investor/speculators decide the price of oil can’t go any higher and they opt out and look for some other investment industry to ruin. Apparently ruining the housing industry didn’t satisfy their unquenchable thirst to make a quick buck …or…we become serious about creating new alternative sources of energy. Personally, I am not optimistic about the price of gas coming down soon anytime, if ever, and I can imagine in the near future that gas may reach six or seven dollars a gallon. By near future, I mean, a year or two…Advocates of the free market believe that market forces will eventually lead to alternative sources of energy because there is too much money to be made. That may be true…but…the oil companies and certain sectors of the auto industry also have a stake in the use of oil and high gas prices. So, when will the market forces eventually lead us to the promise land of alternative energy sources. That is the million dollar question, now isn’t it? Only time will tell…In the meantime, we all need to hold on tight, conserve as much as we can and hope that our government officials from the top down realize that our government has a role and stake in doing what they can to move us as quickly as possible to alternative sources of energy…before…we are not only paying six or seven dollars for gas, but are also paying four dollars for a loaf of bread and five dollars for a gallon of milk.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Sometimes we don't have the words to describe how we feel so we have to rely on images or the words of others. Today is one of those days.

I have climbed the highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you

I have run I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
Only to be with you
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in her fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire
I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for

I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
But yes I'm still running
You broke the bonds
You loosed the chains
You carried the cross
And my shame
And my shame
You know I believe it
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Summer Movies

The summer movie season officially began a couple of week-ends ago with the release of Iron Man. My two sons and I went to see Iron Man the other day and the film was as entertaining as the critics advertised. I don’t know if the film deserves the 95% approval rating it received on Rottentomatoes but it was satisfying to see a film that wasn’t totally mindless super saturated with special effects… I have not particularly looked forward to the summer movie menu for some time now because summers have increasingly become the season of sequels for the corporate driven movie industry. Twenty two to be exact last summer and let’s just say watching the second, third, or fourth installment of Shrek is not how I generally want to spend my precious free time. Over the past three summers it has gotten so bad I have pretty much tuned out what’s out there unless I hear from friends or some of “my people on the street” about a must see film. This summer has it’s fair of sequels or ongoing storylines but there are a few films out there that look “potentially” interesting. Here is this summers line up with a few brief comments.

May 16th….Prince Caspian, the sequel to the Chronicles of Narnia. The trailers for this film look very good. I love the story and thought the studios did a good job of adapting the book to film which is not easy to do. This sequel has the potential to be even better than the first film. Let’s hope so…

May 23…Raiders of the Lost Ark…I loved the original series, except for the second film. Generally, I don’t like 20 year sequels because the new and supposedly potential improvements can never live up to expectations…Think Star Wars…I haven’t heard or read anything about this film, one way or another, but the trailers look like a rehash of the classic trilogy which may satisfy the longings of the nostalgia crowd who don’t mind seeing Harrison Ford doing his thing one more time…but… I’ll wait to see what the fans have to say before I spend my hard earned money on this classic blast from the past.

June 13….The Incredible Hulk and M.Night Shyamlan’s The Happening….I actually liked the first Hulk movie even though it wasn’t a huge fan favorite The sequel looks quite different than the first installment with different special effects and different actors. Edward Norton plays in the sequel and I am a big fan of his so hopefully Norton and the special effects crew will bring us something that is at least worthy of the price of a matinee ticket…I am a huge fan of the work of M.Night Shyamalan. I love all his films except for the last one which I didn’t think was as bad as everything thought….Even though his last film was not on par with his earlier work he always brings us a unique story and interesting characters which creates a sense of anticipation for me…so…while his last film wasn’t a winner I still anticipate his next film which will arrive in theatres in about six weeks.

July 4th….Hancock…My son brought this film to my attention. I know absolutely zero about the film and have not seen any trailers…but…the combination of Will Smith and Charlize Theron is enough to get me to take a hard look when the film arrives in theatres on our nations birthday.

July 11….Hellboy II: The Golden Army….The first Hellboy didn’t get as much attention of some of the other Marvel comic book blockbusters. Personally, I liked Hellboy, more than I thought I would, and I especially loved the performance by Rod Perlman, who played Hellboy. I anticipate this film will be bigger and better than the last because the director Guillermo Del Toro has been perfecting his craft and is a rising star in the film industry. While Hellboy is not as dark as some of his other Gothic dark fantasies like Pan’s Labyrinth, his mastery and reputation with the critics and serious fans of the fantasy genre has increased with each film. Let’s just hope this trend continues.

July 18…The Dark Knight…I am not a huge fan of the Batman series but I really did like the last Batman film. I found the history behind Batman fascinating. I just hope they don’t screw up the next Batman by making it more about special effects than the story. The trailers are full of shoot em up, explosions, but lets just hope this is your usual run of the mill marketing technique to wet the whistle of those movie junkies awaiting their next adrenaline rush.

July 25….The X-Files….I am withholding my enthusiasm for one of my all time favorite television series. I loved the X-files but did not like the previous X-file movie. The story of alien abduction and the never ending government conspiracy theory has gotten old for this X-file fan. They need to go back to some of the other interesting paranormal stories…and…If they rehash the alien abduction storyline one more time than expect this X-File fan to stay away from the theatre and spend my time watching X-file reruns.

August 22….Crossing Over…Crossing Over stars Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd, and Sean Penn….I am not a huge Harrison Ford fan, because I consider his acting abilities somewhat limited…but….I do really like Ashley Judd and Sean Penn. Crossing Over is a story about immigration. The story is set in L.A. and from what I can gather, the plot involves exploring how difficult life is for immigrants who come to this country. I haven’t heard any initial rumblings about this movie but the subject matter and the combination of acting talent intrigue me, so I’ll be keeping my eyes open to stories in the weeks and months to come regarding this film…

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Contribution to Peace

Whoever fights monsters….should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster”…Friedrich Nietzsche

“One always becomes the thing one fights the most”…Jung

Yesterday while participating on another blog a fellow blogger made the following comment regarding what McCain might do if he were elected president. “If McCain is the guy, I think we’re in for what could turn into WW3 depending on who gets involved, but that is what needs to happen. Leadership in Iran has got to go down, and some things really are worth fighting for. Theocracy + Ignorance = a lot of pain for a lot of people.”….When I read the part “that this is what needs to happen”, I was stunned and speechless…Last week Hillary Clinton warned that if Israel were attacked by Iran, and if she were president, she would “obliterate” Iran….and…John McCain awhile back laughed while he sang the lyrics, bomb, bomb, bomb… bomb, bomb, Iran… to the melody of a Beach Boy song…Do any of these people understand or even care about the “potential” implications of another World War? Were they awake during their history class in high school or college?...Here are a few facts that might send shivers up your spine. 72 million people died during World War II and 47 million of those were “civilians.” Over the last two centuries of war, half the casualties were civilians…and…how many more might die in another World War?...32 million people died during WWI. That number was doubled during WWII. If the number of casualties is doubled again due to World War III, then we might expect the death of at least 140 million people, including a civilian death total as high as 90 million. I am deeply concerned by what I consider a very cavalier attitude regarding the potential cost of war to human life from both our politicians and the general public…and…it is beyond my understanding why so many people would apparently be so eager to support a war with Iran and thus risk the potential outbreak of another world war.

Why are so many people apparently eager to risk life and our national treasury? Is it because we have been insulated from the effects of war? It is true that Americans have been largely insulated from a significant amount of the cost and effects of war. We didn’t enter WWI until the last year and we have never been invaded or suffered the human and collateral damage that ravished Europe during the first two world wars. Whatever the reason, a significant majority of American’s appear to be willing to support going to war, especially, if they think the war is justified.

In the last six years we have spent billions and billions of dollars but more importantly, thousands of Americans, and tens of thousands of Iraqi’s have lost their lives in a war that could have been avoided. While most American’s want us to get out of Iraq there are those in high places who are currently beating the war drums again. I hope I don’t come across as an alarmist but I am becoming increasing frustrated by a series of conversations with friends, colleagues, and bloggers regarding the nature of war…so…in an effort to do my part, I intend to write and pass along information from those who believe our government foreign policy ought to restrain itself and seek alternative non-violent solutions…before…it is too late. I’ll leave with these words from Walter Wink, a theologian who has devoted much of his life to the cause of promoting peace through the use of non-violent actions.

Nations seem to be sucked into wars like dust into a whirlwind. Reasons of state are a smoke screen, and change as propaganda requires. War is the work of the gods Mars and Venus. Those who consider war become possessed by these Powers. They insulate themselves from dissenting views. They are exalted by the heady prospects of victory, heroism, and the display of toughness. They usually underestimate the difficulties and duration of the fight. Their minds are darkened. Prohibitions against harming or killing others dissolve. Reasoned arguments are silenced by an atmosphere charged with a collective will that sweeps everyone along with it…

Once children have been indoctrinated into the expectations of a dominant society, they may never outgrow the need to locate all evil outside themselves. Even as adults they tend to scapegoat others ( The Commies, the Americans, the gays, the straights, the blacks, the whites, the liberals, the conservatives), for all that is wrong in the world. They continue to depend on group identification and the upholding of social norms or a sense of well-being.

Evil is contagious. No one grapples with it without contamination…and….When we resist evil with evil, when we lash out at it in kind, we simply guarantee its perpetuation, as we ourselves are made over into its likeness.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Holy Ignorance

In his book, The Soul’s Religion, Thomas Moore has some interesting things to say which I would like to pass along for everyone’s consideration…These excerpts are from his chapter entitled, Holy Ignorance…

Moore writes…

Holy ignorance asks that we confess our limitations.

With holy ignorance we don’t have to berate ourselves for not knowing everything. There is no one to blame. We can even feel relief at not having to know everything. It is obvious, anyway, that we can’t handle our most basic problems….To know that we don’t know the ultimate secrets of human existence should give up hope, because the failure confirms that our efforts by themselves are incomplete. There is still room for that which is beyond comprehension and for a way of knowing that is profoundly satisfying instead of only superficially workable.

Our problem with knowledge is largely an emotional one. Above all we don’t want to be wrong. The secular form or scientific knowledge, in bracketing out mystery, and mysticism, leaves us on shaky ground…because…Only part of intelligence is engaged, the part that works with facts and measurement. Since that approach is incomplete, it leaves us worried, because intuitively we know that there is more to be considered.

Insecurity can also derive from a failure of faith. Everyone needs a philosophy of life and a religious position that is worth the risk on one’s life. A religious imagination that satisfies intelligence and inspires with honesty can give a person confidence and stability, but only if a degree of mystery is allowed.

Anxiety stems from a weakness in imagination. Instead of living courageously at the edge of understanding, knowing that they don’t know everything, many latch onto a system of belief that answers any and all questions. These answers then become a protective fence around a nervous core. But this illusory edifice creates false certainty. The failure to find a satisfying solution to mystery translates into extravagant claims and an attitude of righteousness.

Acknowledging basic ignorance offers a measure of security. We can be as ease in our honesty, admitting that we don’t know much about the most important things. Pretending that I know more may make me feel superior, but the price is deep anxiety. Owning our uncertainty, we can laugh in our ignorance and enjoy the cosmic nature of our puny efforts. An ironic trust in life comes into existence at that liminal point between knowing and not knowing. Take away the ignorance and there would be no room for the faith that keeps us going and the humor that keeps us sane.

Knowledge always has a wedge of ignorance in it, because the only way to be wise is not to understand everything. Ignorance, too, should have a wedge of intelligence so that it isn’t mere stupidity. Real understanding is a creative mixture of certainty and unknowing. The trick is to know even when you don’t understand.

Rooted in holy uncertainty, we are left with approximations…our language for God is like a polygon made of many tiny straight lines passing for a true circle…and…If we look closely at our reasonings, we find that for all their brilliance, in the end they come up short.

The holy person is the one who has broken through self deception and knows nhow much they don’t know. The point in thinking is to reach the far edge of understanding and to stand there in wonder

We are only approximately correct when we speak about spiritual matters., the part that remains unknown and unspoken gives our words and ideas the emptiness they require. If there is no respect for that edge of illusion, then we left with literalism and fundamentalism.

The sensation of knowing offers a certain kind of security, but it can easily be challenged. Religious and spiritual people are forever defending their beliefs, often with a belligerence that is unbecoming to themselves.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

On the verge of.....

After tonight’s big victory in North Carolina and a close second in Indiana it now appears to this armchair political junkie from the Conservative Capital of California that Barack Obama is now on the verge of wrapping up the nomination of the Democratic party. I don’t expect Hillary Clinton to quit, lay down, or resign the nomination to Obama in the next few days or week but from where I stand I think it’s now a done deal…it's's finished...I don't want to gloat or announce that I told anybody so, but tonight Obama has proven, to me at least, and I suspect many other super delegates, that he "is" the candidate. ...the people have spoken.... Personally, I feel gratified on tonights monumental victory because despite all the criticism and negative publicity over the past two weeks Barack Obama has demonstrated that he has what it takes to "stay in the kitchen"...but...equally important...the American people have demonstrated that they are able to move past and rise above the political nonsense and trivia that has flooded the airways over the past couple of weeks...This is very encouraging...and...I confess, while I never had any doubts about Barack Obama's abilities during this most difficult time of his campaign, I wasn't sure if the American voters would be able to rise to the occasion...but...they have...and...all that remains is the coming out party of the super delegates which I expect to began in earnest as early as tomorrow...It is also very satisfying to see that political gimics, negative campaign tactics, comments taken out of context, and guilt by association strategies apparently no longer carry the my hope has somewhat wavered over the past three or four weeks it is now good to feel a new surge of hope again.

Friday, May 02, 2008


"Summer 2008 is here – and it is here to kick our ass with a beautiful iron boot." Harry Knowles Aint it COOL News

My son asked me the other day if I would take him to see Iron Man this week-end.I hesitated, and then replied, "We'll see...let me see what my people on the street are saying about this movie." This morning I got up and checked to see what my people on the street were saying about Iron Man...and...I was surprised to read that Iron Man has the highest rating to date on Rottentomatoes. ...A whopping 95%!...Those are the kind of numbers generally associated with The Lord of the Rings, Schindler's List, The Godfather, etc...After reading a number of reviews I took a step back and realized this film is not in the league of the films I just mentioned but apparently the vast majority of the critics around the country do believe the film is entertaining enough to warrant the high ticket prices these days...So, if you are up for some entertainment this week-end and don't mind spending somewhere between 7.50 to 10.00 bucks for a couple of hours of entertainment you might want to check out this summer's first blockbuster....IRON MAN...

Here is what "my people on the street" are saying about IRON MAN...

Iron Man has equal parts brain, brawn, and balls, but what it doesn't want you to know is that it has an equally bleeding heart.

Based on yet another Marvel series, Iron Man has plenty of things going for it, the main assets being an enjoyably sardonic Downey, his hardware, and the downturned mouth of his new metal visage - a warning that this self-styled messiah means business.

A slightly-better-than-average popcorn epic featuring a performance from Downey that is so funny and inventive and entertaining that he pretty much winds up carrying the entire movie on his shoulders.

It's as if someone snuck a hefty slug of bourbon into your cherry cola; all of the sugar and flavor and fizz you expect from a well-made comic-book movie are there, but there's something a little more grown-up going on behind them.

Iron Man is the rare comic-book movie that makes the prospect of a sequel seem like a promise instead of a threat.

[It's] an absolute blast to watch, a consummate piece of popcorn entertainment made with wit and class, and it leaves you so pumped for a sequel that it is practically guaranteed to become a huge hit. The bar for the summer movie season has been set.

The ticklish fun of Iron Man comes from watching a happy cast in fighting trim make a concept that should sink like a lead dirigible do cartwheels on the ground and barrel-rolls in the sky.

Industrial-strength comic book moviemaking of the most entertaining order, Iron Man is darn near invincible fun, a perfect mix of high-tech dazzle and good old-fashioned charisma that's bound to leave audiences begging for more.

One of the hippest, best-written and best-directed superhero movies ever -- a splendid way to kick off the summer movie season.

[M]ight well be the perfect comic book movie... It's just pertinent enough to feel like it's set in something like the real world and just tongue-in-cheek enough not to get too heavy about it, but it's got enough self-respect to be sincere.

Despite several adrenaline-pumping moments, Favreau and Downey stay focused on the real story -- about a man learning to take responsibility for his actions. For all its firepower and CGI slickness, that's what really makes Iron Man fly.

Beneath the requisite spectacle is an issue-laden storyline with heart to go along with its brains.

Brilliant first hour, but then becomes like some strange legend about a Norse god who descended into the molten core of the earth and forged upon a mighty anvil...a Crosby, Stills and Nash album.

The combination of its realistic backdrop, boy's own adventure and Robert Downey Jr makes for a blast of a new style comic book hero in Iron Man. Above all, humour is what elevates this highly entertaining fantasy into something beyond our expectations.

Iron Man may not make the A-list of Marvel Comics' stable -- home to Spider-Man, X-Men and the Hulk -- but he may be the cinema superhero for the rest of us.

How much awesome was tonight’s screening of IRON MAN at the Alamo Drafthouse South with Jet Pack Man? It was like freebasing pop tarts. Ridiculously Fucking Awesome Fun.

This is the very first time in film history that a Comic Book movie wasn’t made by a Hollywood Studio, but by a Comic Publisher that decided to make movies on their own properties. MARVEL COMICS made IRON MAN. Paramount has done a fantastic job selling the movie, but MARVEL COMICS developed it, paid for it and made the film.
They have made the very first 100% uncompromised perfect SUPERHERO movie.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Six Popular Myths of Pacifism

True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to an evil is rather a courageous confrontation with evil by the power of love, in the faith that it is better to be the recipient of violence than the inflicter of it, since the latter only multiplies the existence of violence and bitterness in the universe, while the former may develop a sense of shame in the opponent, and thereby bring about a transformation and change of heart."

Martin Luther King

Over the past three or four days I have been engaging fellow bloggers on the topics of Barack Obama and pacifism. While I hope some fruit has come of my efforts, it has been frustrating at times having to respond to the various“caricatures” of what it means to be a pacifist….so…in an effort to not allow others to define what “I” and other pacifists “actually” believe, I am submitting a series of blog entries on the topic of pacifism for everyone who reads this blog consideration. My first entry is on the topic of the Myths of Pacifism.

Myth number one: Pacifism means you don’t do anything in the face of evil, except maybe stand around holding a protest sign while singing Kumbaya….

Apparently a lot of people associate pacifism with becoming a doormat and allowing others to run over you. Theologian Walter Wink asserts that the teachings of Jesus encourages us to, “Stand up for yourselves, defy your masters, assert your humanity; but don’t answer the oppressor in kind. Find a new, third way that is neither cowardly submission nor violent reprisal…Jesus says…Do not continue to acquiesce in your oppression by the Powers; but do not react violently to it either…Jesus in short, abhors both passivity and violence. He articulates, out of history of his won people’s struggles, a way by which evil can be opposed without being mirrored, the oppressor resisted with being emulated, and the enemy neutralized without being destroyed…Leo Tolstoy, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez…and countless others less well known—point us to a new way of confronting evil whose potential for personal and social transformation we are only beginning to grasp today.”….Pacifism is pro-active…subversive…and…at times confrontational and coercive. Wink goes on to state, “Jesus is not telling us, in his admonitions to obey the government, to submit to evil, but to refuse to oppose it on its own terms. We are not to let the opponent dictate the methods of our opposition. He is urging us to transcend both passivity and violence by finding a third way, one that is at once assertive and yet non-violent.”…and…finally, Wink tells a an interesting story of a boy who creatively exhibited the “third way” of which Jesus’ teachings and actions imply…According to Wink there was a boy who rode a bus and was picked on every day by a bully. “The child was too slight of build to fight the far sturdier bully. But he has a weakness that he made into a strength: chronic sinusitis. One day, exasperated a the bully’s behavior, he noisily blew a load of snot into his right hand and approached his nemesis, hand outstretched, saying, “I want to shake the hand of a real bully” The bully retreated, wide-eyed, to his seat…and…That ended the career of the bully. Those sinuses were the ultimate weapon, and they were always at the ready!”

Myth number two: Pacifists are naïve

What seems naïve to me is the notion that we can solve our international problems/challenges by emphasizing and flexing our military muscles. We have spent around 21 trillion dollars since the 1960’s on our military and are we any closer to peace today than we were fifty years ago?...In fact, it seems from where I sit that we are not any closer to peace today than we were 50 years ago…and…I don’t see any correlation between peaceful societies and military might…In fact, one can argue the opposite might be true…and…the more we use our military muscle the more isolated from the international community we seem to become…Maybe if we had spent four or five trillion of those dollars on helping countries with poverty or rebuilding their infrastructures maybe we just might have created some friends and allies for life. Just a thought.

Myth number three: Pacifism doesn’t work or it exclusively only works in countries which are Democratic

I used to adhere to this myth before I, and the rest of the world, witnessed in utter amazement, the transformation of Eastern Europe and Russia through peaceful means. Some want to assert that Regan’s military arm race with Russia is what brought the once mighty communists down but this assertion negates and is a slap in the face to the heroic efforts of everyone from Lech Walesa, the Pope, the Solidarity Union, Gorbachev, and the millions of brave citizens who took to the streets for weeks and months.

Myth number four: Pacifists are narcissists who only care about their own personal comfort

This assertion was leveled at me personally during a recent online discussion about the war in Iraq…but…nothing could be further from the truth. Pacifists are trying to save lives of both civilians and soldiers alike. What is narcisstic about that. This assertion makes no sense…None..

Myth number five: Pacifists are all the same.

No one generally make this assertion explicitly but when I hear people talk about pacifism the caricature of a pacifist sounds pretty much the same which implies that all pacifists must think and act alike. While it is true that all pacifists are committed to non-violent actions the means in which that vision is carried out dramatically varies from one group or individual to another. Some are much more confrontational…others are willing to use coercive measures…some more traditional…while some lean towards more indirect subversive methods…in other words, the methods used by pacifists are much more fluid than what most people understand or suspect.

Myth number six: Pacifists are naive regarding human nature

Many critics assert that pacifists don’t take seriously the dark side of our human nature because if they did they would realize that pacifism doesn’t work in the face of evil. While it is true that not all pacifist methods work equally the same in all situations that does not prove that one cannot find a way to penetrate even the hardest of hearts or the most evil regimes. Many cite Nazi Germany as an example where pacifism would never work but one cannot, imo, make such an assertion because Germany was a militarist society where pacifism was not a part of the cultural ethic to begin with…and…if millions of Germans would have taken to the streets like they did in Eastern Europe and Russia as they did in the late 1980’s I propose Hitler wouldn’t have been able to stop them any more than the leaders of Eastern Europe…