Edvard Munch — The Scream

By Dennis Rivers — June 24, 2016

I find myself praying for Divine intercession a lot these days.  Even though I am not much of a believer in direct divine intervention any more.   As I read story after story about toddlers accidentally killing their mothers with loaded guns left carelessly available, I am reminded once again that God will not save us from the tragic consequences of our own carelessness.  And I have similar thoughts about the new military tensions rising between the United States and Russia.  Did the USA really have to park missiles right on the edge of Russia?  Would we accept Russia putting missiles on the Canadian border, pointing toward us? What a headache and a heartache of carelessness. Which leads me to some thoughts about the direction in which the United States appears to be drifting. 

I am convinced that since the start of World War 2, the United States has become profoundly addicted to war.

>> addicted economically (war industries, weapons research and arms sales are woven through the US economy — an unacknowledged sort of military socialism —  for example the $1.5 TRILLION program to build the F-35 high-tech fighter plane, and the more that $6  to $7 trillion spent so far on nuclear weapons and the systems, such as nuclear submarines, to carry and deliver them).

>> addicted culturally (having an enemy is a seductively easy way to know who we are and what we need to do, and the more flamboyant the enemy, the easier it is to blot out of our awareness the knowledge that we have not lived up to our own professed values of liberty and justice for all),

>> and addicted psychologically — aided and abetted by war movies and violent video games (focusing on our outrageously evil enemies allows us to avoid facing our own many mistakes and shortcomings, and to adopt the “It’s all their fault, they started it” attitude.)  This propensity to blame others, avoid responsibility for one’s own actions, and seek empowerment through violent fantasies and bullying, can become so pronounced that they function together like a mental illness, blinding a people to the ways in which they may be hurting others and radically diminishing their own lives. 

How we will extricate ourselves from such a deep addiction is one of the great creative challenges of our time, along with fighting global warming and moving toward global social justice.

In a society addicted to war, it is really difficult to become a fully-developed person, because at every step along the way one is urged to collaborate the the current crop of war-related lies and evasions… such as the prayerful moments of remembrance we are invited to join for soldiers who died fighting in countries where they never should have been sent in the first place.

The U.S military-industrial complex is now engaged in a very profitable game of threatening Russia and then using Russian responses to prove that we need more weapons. We are seeing the return of the “nuclear chicken” games of the 1950s to 80s. We do not seem to have learned anything from our previous close calls with mass death, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

My friend David Hartsough has gone on a peacemaking and fact-finding mission to Russia. You can read his reports at May each of us find deeper and deeper way of bearing witness to kindness and sanity, no matter how dark it gets. Share how you do that with me, and with the world, on  

Coming back to my mullings about divine intervention,  I realize that I believe in it more than I thought.  I think that the God-who-is-Love intervenes in human life through the love in each of our hearts. But that would mean that we need to lovingly help the parents lock up their handguns.  And we need to lovingly help the generals and admiral put away their missiles. We are part of the process.


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