Honk for peace…..do you do it?

honk for peace

By Kenneth Justice

~ I always wonder about the people who don’t honk….what kind of people are they; people who enjoy murder and desire others to kill each other?

Who doesn’t want peace?

To tell you the truth, I’m beginning to wonder if more and more people….are against peace.

Do you think I’m nuts?

Think about it for a minute, consider all the relatives and friends who are at odds with each other, how many people have treated you poorly and won’t apologize?

How many people are just downright mean?

Do you work in customer service; how many customers are rude?

Have you ever had to go to customer service; how many CSR’s are rude to the customers?

It seems to me that people in general are acting less and less civil toward each other…..peace seems to be something we don’t think about very much.

Growing up in protestant evangelical church culture I’ve seen some of the worst that human nature has to offer; protestant Christians are among the most contentious people I’ve ever had to deal with…..

It is rare to find a protestant church that hasn’t gone through at least one or two ‘church splits’ in their history. The people who preach the peace of Christ have often been the root of my own frustrations; they are the people who seem to have very little peace to offer.

At one particular church pot luck I attended (Protestants love pot lucks the way George W. Bush loves oil) one of the 40ish aged church leader’s got into an argument with a 60ish aged parishioner over politics; and in front of everyone at the table the church leader started yelling at the parishioner…….

Later that night the parishioner (who never raised his voice) called me up to apologize for the argument,

“Hey, I wasn’t a part of the argument” I said, (I do everything I can to stay out of political conversations, especially public political conversations)

“Yea, but I felt bad that you were at the table and had to witness it” he said,

“But why are you calling me? You weren’t even the one who was yelling and being rude…shouldn’t the leader be calling you to apologize?” I asked

“Well, —— doesn’t usually apologize to anyone when he starts yelling” he said.

Isn’t that typical?

A church leader, a pastor, a boss, a manager….they start screaming and raising a ruckus BUT they don’t apologize; they don’t take responsibility for not practicing peace?

Church culture has  left a bad taste in my mouth….I’ve seen the worst side of it….but in many ways I am connected to it at the hip; I have a passion for what church culture should represent so I can’t really get away from it……

So I guess for now….while so many of my fellow Christians seemed to have forgotten that peace is supposed to have a central role in Christianity…. I will suffer on in the midst of this troublesome lot who don’t have a fondness for peace very much….

At least I have my coffee, which reminds me, it’s time for another cup,

Kenneth



Categories: Religion

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52 replies

  1. Excellent points. The church we attend is a direct result of a split, and i have heard all abiut what brought the split. Sad really.

    • John,

      yup…sad state of affairs….I’m young but I’ve been around the block long enough to know that if I stand at the corner of any crossroads in america and throw a rock, I’ll hit a protestant church that has gone through a church split.

  2. That is not the spirit that is ruling in those situations, but flesh. Remember, Jesus’s peace is different than world peace. His peace brings us freedom to love others without all the strings attached. I get your point but remember if we are not fixing the problem, we are the problem. Easier said than done. We need to ask God to show us what in our hearts is wrong. Where have we erred. It is only through humbleness that we can be redeemed and made new. There are many churches, and many in the Bible, that were rebuked for their mistakes. Heck, we all make them. What we do in response is what counts in the end. I am still on a learning curve…

    • Jeanne,

      “…His peace brings us freedom to love others without all the strings attached”

      great point,

      I only wish more people in the pews practiced what you just said 🙂

  3. Good post! Thought provoking.
    I was raised and educated as a Catholic, but I have not been affiliated with any religion since I became part of the peace movement in the 1960s. (Not formally affiliated, that is, because as you know when you are raised in a religion it is always with you as an influential memory)
    My whole understanding of Christianity centered on peace, forgiveness, compassion, and striving to love all.
    When I think of how many wars have been waged because of religious ideology; how little care most religions devote to the environment; and how much hate many religious people feel for those who believe differently, it saddens me. I know that I am generalizing and I must say that I have met many good, caring, loving religious people. I guess my life’s work is to be as loving as I can and to raise awareness abiout the environment and the futility of endless series of war.

    • whataheartcanhold,

      ‘religious ideology’ is definitely the root of a lot of strife in our world

    • Before leaving the Church of Christ I listened to members bad mouth the Pope, the Catholic Church and Catholics in general at every prayer meeting and pot luck and picnic I attended. The preacher and his wife went to Sao Paolo as missionaries to convert those “heathen Brazilians.” And when I was protesting the war in Vietnam, they reminded me that it was “unpatriotic” to oppose our “government’s policies.” render unto Caesar. . .” They said.
      As a stressed-out war veteran, honking horns trigger my hyperactive alarm as much as fireworks do, so I disconnected the horn in my car and hope others will do the same. For my own peace of mind, I hope everyone will band together to outlaw fireworks, especially the explosive kind.

    • Ron,

      Protestants are really good at bad mouthing other denominations, and they especially seem to love bad mouthing catholics….I think its in their DNA from 500 years of post-reformation theological arguments and bloody warfare

  4. Another excellent post. Unfortunately, too many people’s lives and livelihood depend on there not being piece. Although of course they wouldn’t admit it. From government to religious organisations to the NRA to big corporations. Whether it’s outright financial gain or ego stroking or personal ambition… conflict is big business for too many people. Morals mean nothing. It’s sad.

    • Mark,

      you hit on a point I didn’t mention; peace would hurt the pocketbooks of a lot of corporations….

      and in a religious sense, I know of a lot of religions and churches that thrive on hostility and anger; they keep people coming back by telling them how bad ‘the other guy’ is…..

    • It’s enough to make me want to go all hippy… imagine if they all put that much effort and passion in to helping people. Unfortunately, that’s a futile line of thinking. We can at least affect those closest to us and do what we can personally for those further away.

  5. I agree, seems like the common trend in the world these days is fighting. What I hate the most is all the yelling. Seems people think the louder they are the more likely they will win. I’m not sure what they think they will win when the other side just shuts up and walks away because they get tired of the process…the issue that started the yelling to begin with is still going to be there but because of all the yelling and frustration nobody cares anymore if it gets fixed or not. Who the heck wins when that happens? Sigh…..it really is a sad state of affairs when most people think being right is better than doing right.

    • Billie….

      100% agree…..gosh, turn on cable news and it seems like ‘yelling’ is all these damn talking heads know how to do….

    • Not only that, but the words are never filled with passion about the merits of the position they are fighting for. Instead the main argument for why they are right is because the other side is stupid. People just don’t think anymore.

    • Maybe you read today’s Wall Street Journal in which the prime media mover of the WMD excuse for going into Iraq was Judith Miller; well she’s at it again, pushing for more cops and more CCTV to Big Brother us.

  6. Well, I don’t believe in churches, but I do believe in people and that there are some really good people out there too. 😉

    • Erica,

      agreed…there are still good people out there 🙂

      I definitely don’t think what I referred to as “church culture” is for everyone…..

      personally, I think there are tons of people that are far better off staying away from church culture as their spirits could be really wounded by what many churches have to offer….

    • So true and it’s people’s own decision to go to a church or not. As long as no one is harmed… Hahahaha!!!

  7. I don’t honk because I don’t like distracting sounds when I am driving, and don’t wish to cause someone else to run into a pole or something BUT I do make eye contact, give a thumbs up, and WAVE like crazy. “Make LOVE , not WAR type creature from way back tho! 😉 Yes, generally, society has developed thick skin, and in dealing with others. Sad! Good post as always Kenneth! Thanks.

  8. From my personal perspective I think peace is something that has to begin as a state of mind in the individual before it can become a social phenomenon. Unfortunately as you say it would seem that it is becoming cultural habit to be rude to one another without reasonable forethought. I think it is in part a product of modern living where time seems to be something that nobody has these days, so perhaps people just don’t have the time to be nice. I think also it is something that is deeply ingrained in humanity, the urge to defend yourself against that which threatens you. After all, people who are being rude are being defensive for whatever reason is motivating their behaviour. Perhaps then, people are feeling more threatened and out of their depth by the societies they live in, and I’m guessing here that that could be for a multitude of reasons i.e. economic inflation, rises in population, natural and man-made crises etc, etc the list could go on.
    Very interesting post, you raise some good points. Also thank you for being a familiar face on my blogs, it means the world to me 🙂

  9. Perhaps by staying among them, you will eventually infect them with the peace bug. Kinda like the flu, only better! Enjoying my coffee, too! xoxoM

    • Margarite,

      ha ha…yes i’m like the flu! I like that lol …I’m sure there’s many times my wife has thought, “i’d rather have a cold than listen to what kenny has to say!” lol

  10. I think a lot of people like an idea of peace without actually realising what actual peace involves i.e. at least tolerating civilly, if not loving people who are different and have different opinions from you. I think the idea people have of peace is a world where everyone agrees and thinks the same way. The church is an organisation where different people come together to work out how they should be living their lives. It’s an emotive subject which can lead to a lot of argument. It means that it is the place you are least likely to come up with the ‘everyone agreeing’ definition of peace. However I would argue that it is also the place where you are most likely to see ‘the tolerating/loving’ definition of peace shown by the parishioner in your example. This is because the church, unlike any other gathering of people with a shared interest, are predominantly people who are trying to be better.
    On a side note I don’t know if I would ‘honk for peace’. I get really stubborn when asked to do something like that. It reminds me of the’like if you love your mother, scroll if you want her to die’ stuff on facebook, or the chain letters from childhood. The honking doesn’t bring about peace; it just makes the people asking you to do it feel more popular.

  11. as i’ve come to expect – wonderfully thought provoking. for me i think part of it is because people in general are becoming more accepting of those types of behaviors and believe that peace will never be possible. well of course it won’t be as long as you think that way and of course it won’t happen as long as we act so ridiculously. add that to becoming increasingly selfish and arrogant (like you said about not accepting responsibility and always thinking they’re right). plus saying “i’m sorry” or “i apologize” is a serious blow to the ego and people hate to do it. there’s probably more i’d like to say but exhaustion and pain in the arm are very distracting. thanks for sharing and happy coffee drinking. 🙂

  12. “Jesus has left the building.” I can almost hear the announcement . . . show’s over. It’s not true of every church, of course, but religion in general seems to be a growing hotbed of rancor. Maybe it is just spilling over from an overall discontent with our present society.

  13. I have wanted to comment on this for so very long. Yes, I am for peace, and as a matter of fact – I have been since I was a little kid back in the 60’s.
    What gets me is the idea that if you hold up a peace sign, someone will actually get pissed off at you. They will call you a hippie, or rant about you not supporting the troops. (If they actually cared about “the troops” they would do everything they could to keep them from going to war in the first place, don’t you think?)

    Asking for peace (for me) merely states what I wish for. Who can NOT wish for peace?
    Yet, as you say there seem to be many people for whom peace is not in their best interest.
    Perhaps so much money is at stake when it comes to the war machine.

    As far as church goes – I’ve come to realize that everyone who goes to church are NOT nice, peaceful people, as I thought when I was little. They are just like everyone else. Thank goodness that my partner has helped me (he is a Christian) realize that there are indeed some very wonderful church goers, and though I am not a regular attendee – I can attend on occasion and understand and accept everyone.

    I have a peace sign on the front porch of my house, and my mom (who lives next door) says she heard some kids saying, “Hippies live there.”

    When she asked how they knew that, they replied, “That sign on the porch is something hippies have.”

    I wonder who taught them that ridiculousness? Parents? Friends? Teachers?

    Peace, man! What’s not to like.

    I have even created a website where I collect signs of peace.
    It’s called, “Signs of Peace.”
    It’s at http://www.signsofpeace.com if anyone is interested in seeing it.

    Thanks.

    I think I’ll have another cup of tea….

  14. I’m a minister, and some of the things I hear my fellow ministers and laypeople say are heartbreaking–I would agree with you. It feels like a great deal of our culture is opposed to peace and, sadly, the church culture is following suit. Excellent posting. I really enjoyed reading it and I really needed to read it today!

  15. War is the business of expansionist, colonial empires, which the U.S. has been since 1898 when McKinley, his Republican handlers and Hearst started the Spanish/American war. Eisenhower warned us in his farewell address. My husband did a post about that, and most people still ignore the danger of letting a Military Industrial Complex feed money to politicians who decide how many conflicts, and with who, the U.S. is to be involved in. The British gave it up around 1960…bled dry by WW II, and U.S. was the left to pick up the pieces. Welcome to the occupation. Instead of trying to get the Ten Commandments – the petty, war god of the Old Testament in courthouses and schools and such, how about the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount? There’s a contradiction in tones that might change some thoughts or actions.
    On my Way…

    • Shimmyshark,

      well said….

      the Jesus of the gospels is a far better example of practical living with regard to peace (such as the beatitudes as you mentioned) than the warfare examples found in the books of Moses and the law…..

    • I sure think so. We are of no religious persuasion, but my husband and I both read a copy of The Sermon on the Mount often. It’s just inspired, and inspirational reading. Thanks for the reply.
      On my Way…

  16. Great thoughts! I think as our society has shifted the value of “individualism” from personal freedom to being self-focused, it has cheapened many connections. As a result, personal needs and desires take a forefront rather than considering others in conversations and interactions. We are very disconnected (in my opinion), though the desire for genuine connection is also very evident.

    I think you summarized it well with: “It seems to me that people in general are acting less and less civil toward each other…..peace seems to be something we don’t think about very much.”

  17. Unfortunately protestant christian’s don’t hold the monopoly on being peace hypocrites.It takes time and effort to be a peaceful person.

    • Trinity,

      agreed…..protestants do not….yet since that is what I grew up in and have been connected to it is something that has immediately effected my own life far too often

  18. I think a lot of people like to preach peace as an ideal but have a hard time overcoming their own ego desires to win for the sake of a more peaceful world. Peace is not about everybody being in agreement, but being able to live side by side with understanding and empathy, unfortunately I believe many of us still follow our superficial need to “win”, but a victory in which someone has to lose or suffer, to me isn’t a real victory at all.

  19. Again, I am thinking that you are discovering a basic truth that is not at all worth to be astonished over. Compare to: “wow, that dog is barking at me!”. Would you be astonished to realize that dogs actually bark? No, because that is what they do.

    Same here. What you are describing is no surprise. This is just how they are!

    I guess the astonishment on your side comes from the (in my opinion: false!) assumption that Christians are basically good and therefore this picture of the rude Christians is so off. Uhm, no, I think this is just how they are. The christian culture per see assumes they are better than everyone else.

    Remember the mission, where they went out worldwide to destroy other people’s cultures and forced their christian culture over them, and those people who didn’t want that and fought back were called evil and were often killed! Right there, the refusal to become Christians was often the reason to become attacked and torn into war with these better-than-the-others Christians! The past is overflowing with history like this!

    How do you think Europe became Christian? Because we didn’t have a faith of our own? No, of course not! I am proud to say I am a Saxon. They went into that war which was forced upon them by Karl “The Great” (yes, history is written by the victors, never by the victims!), and 33000 people went into death on a single weekend because they didn’t want that new god who claimed he was the only one existing.

    But we know how it ended, in the end the Christians took over. In the 14th century even the very last European people (in Lithuania) were christianised. The new world saw unimaginable horrors just a few centuries later when those European Christians came to take over.

    And you are wondering why your pastor was yelling at a parishioner at the table????

    All that talk about love and peace etc is all bullshit of them, or let me call it propaganda. Yeah, it is a nice theory, but people who claim to be entitled to kill others because they don’t want to take over that new religion, I am sorry, they don’t believe in peace and love!

    I will admit that at least those local preachers don’t kill people anymore. That pastor you described, no, he has not likely killed anyone nor will he ever. But the rage, the anger is still there. I believe it is part of the christian culture. That constant talk of love and peace is just a nice image they like to put out of themselves.

    Once you’ll notice that Christianity IS NOT per se better than anything else, then you will no longer stand with big eyes and open mouth when you see one of them doing something bad. I think you are still caught up in your own upbringing, you have been brainwashed into thining “Christianity = good”, and now you can’t escape that thought pattern. You are of course not to blame, this is how the human brain is working.

    And this is also the reason why Christians are dragging their young children into the churches!!!!! If they were REALLY certain that their better religion was really the best, then all intelligent, self-thinking adults would find their way to that church at adult age, right? No, they are aware that children have to be brainwashed into it from very early on, otherwise they will lose their (PAYING!!!) members in the long run.

    Oh about the honking: yet another example how unreal these people are… So if I can blow the car horn, peace will come? How convenient! Yeah, I think I can do that. Is that all? Great!

    I am not driving (never learned to drive as in West Germany it would have taken a 5 digit figure amount to get license, insurance and a used car), but if I were driving, I would still not honk, because that is just stupid. People who think that those who don’t follow these thoughtless empty substiture gestures are against peace, well, those are not worth talking to even. Waste of time! How would any war on Earth be stopped when YOU (yes, you, I am talking to you reading this right now, yes you!) will or will not honk???

    Shaking my head, walking away, yet another weird Americanism. Let’s all stand in a circle and sing for whirled peas, then the powerful weapon industry will stop buying politicians and will give up their wars and will seek jobs in other (less paying) fields. Yeah right!

  20. this just touches me at a very deep & sad place. I wish you lived in Boston – we could coffee up and talk. I’ve always wonder why our highest & best ideals are always the first thing over the gunwale. I wrote some poems about growing up in church – maybe I should dig them out?…

  21. Well said and disturbingly true. I read a tweet from Kenny Luck this week that you might appreciate
    “@Kenny_Luck: When a leader has to get aggressive & dominating it is a sign of unhealth. Husbands, parents, coaches, managers, & executives included.”

    Seems to me that the biggest problem in the church today is that it is full of unhealthy people who have no interest in being healed.

  22. So true. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint why this should be the case. Part of it is that we’re human, and flawed. But I think part of it, too, is that it’s become more and more acceptable to be rude. To snap at people. to go on talk shows and scream, and to watch other people (on so-called reality shows or whatever) put their worst selves on display for our entertainment. A lot of people, I suspect, have simply stopped struggling against their worst instincts. Why should we try, when people like the “real” housewives and bachelors and bachelorettes and all the rest are being paid to behave terribly? As for religion — well, I think any time people focus on “my way of thinking is better than your way of thinking,” that’s going to lead to arguments and rudeness and splits. In religion and politics, we seem to have reached a place where each side has little or no respect for the other. That’s not a recipe for peace.

  23. Great post. I feel there are a lot of people out there who want peace in an abstract way, but figure the real problem is everyone else, not them. So they yell at the ‘stupid,’ tailgate the slow, beat up the ref at their kids’ baseball game…and wonder why the world is full of a*holes. My experience with churches, also all Protestant, leads me to believe that wooden seating and lack of a/c just makes people even crankier 🙂

  24. Kenneth, I’m sorry! This one was great and way too funny! I laughed throughout reading the entire post. I come from a large Baptist church family. Each attend church every Sunday, and at least 2 to 3 times during the week. They feel insulting each other is a way of life and there is no need to apologize. On the other hand, I believe in apologizing. So again, great post!

  25. I think it depends on where you live. People in rural areas are often much kinder than people in cities. We recently moved to Colorado from the east coast, and people are more easygoing here, smile more, much less rude. I’m very sensitive to rudeness so I like living somewhere where I don’t have to deal with it all the time. Boston to Miami is all pretty bad, IMO.
    I worked as a waitress when I was younger- and that’s where you really learn about human nature. How people behave in a restaurant (and how they tip) says a lot about them.
    Don’t even get me started on the topic of peace and church… I had a neighbor get into a fight with another woman over “her pew”. You’re absolutely right- Protestant Christians can be very contentious. I don’t know about other religions…

  26. I am an atheist, largely due to my experiences with Christians. I do however desire peace, but I don’t honk in support of any public protest. Honking in my opinion should be reserved for its purpose of alerting other drivers, or that the light turned green, a while ago… Humans are not peaceful creatures, we are creatures of conflict and violence and according to what I recall of the bible, I think so too is god. Thanks for the post.

  27. Im aggravated right now because my church decided to give back to the community one sunday a month and help charitable organizations and PEOPLE ARE LEAVING OVER IT. REALLY? Leaving over what every single person should be doing to help the less fortunate? Appalling.

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