War is not an accident. It is the logical outcome of a way of life.—A.J. Muste, quoted in Practicing Peace by Catherine Whitmire
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.—Matthew 5:9
I wrote earlier about the importance of small-scale peacemaking for Christians and preppers, how we need to live and work with and care for neighbors very different from ourselves, remembering that we are members one of another. Living an alternative to the consumer culture also involves us in peacemaking on a larger scale.
In a world of growing populations and finite resources, war is the predictable result of certain groups of people consuming disproportionate amounts of those resources, whether petroleum or water. The Worldwatch Institute reports that 5% of the world’s people use 33% of its resources. I suspect that most of us are tempted to think “Oh, that’s not me, that’s the super-rich.” But most ‘ordinary, middle-class’ US citizens fall into the wealthiest 5% worldwide. (Wonder about yourself? Check out www.globalrichlist.com) As we learn to live more simply, to reuse more, waste less, supply more of our own needs locally, we help to create a world in which peace is more possible.
The small acts of neighborliness and peacemaking which enable us to build sustainable communities also prepare us to be peacemakers in the wider world. To prepare for hard times or simplify our lives effectively we have to learn to help—and, harder, to accept help from—neighbors whose political and religious views or personal habits drive us right up the wall.
Once we’ve come to see an annoying and different person as a neighbor, a brother or sister in Christ and also a ride-sharing partner or a helper in fixing the leaky roof, we’re less likely to be seduced into fear or hatred of people who are different from us in other ways. We’re more likely to remember that those foreigners, or those Muslims, or whoever we see as “those other people”, are also brothers and sisters, people trying to make ends meet, take care of their families and their neighbors, and make the world a slightly better place. We’re more likely to help them in this endeavor, to act as peacemakers and sons of God with our words, our actions, our votes, our taxes and our prayers.