Driveby Conversation: No War in Iran

Every Sunday in Ohio, the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition has a demonstration at a major intersection to protest current wars and potential wars.  The Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition has been doing this every Sunday since the beginning of the Iraq in 2003.

This Sunday we were at the intersection of Talmadge and Sylvania roads near the mall.  I was holding up my sign, “NO in Iran,” amidst about a dozen other peace and anti- holding up various signs for passing traffic to witness.  It is common for passing motorists to beep their horns in support of our peace and anti- messages.  Occasionally, we get an angry rebuke, epitaph, or middle finger.  On more rare occasions, someone will roll down their window, stop for a minute and have a quick conversation.  Usually these conversations are supportive and encouraging, though certainly not always.

I had a drive-by conversations with a passing motorist, a middle-aged white man, in which he was probably not too unlike me.  It went something like this:

Motorist: (sarcastically) I know what we should do.  We should all become Muslims.

Me: You mean Islam, the of peace?

Motorist:  That’s a lie!

Me:  Do you mean or peace?

Motorist:  I follow Christ.

Me:  My understanding is that was a pacifist.

Motorist:  was on the edge.

Me:  Yes, and his way was nonviolent.

Motorist:  [stumbling for words, shakes his head, and drives off]

Given the very short -frames of these drive-by conversations, there is usually very little chance for resolution.  While there certainly wasn’t closure in this particular conversation, I’m not sure the point or purpose is for people to necessarily come to some hard endpoint.  I was satisfied that a self-declared follower of Christ who seemed to be advocating going to against a predominantly Islamic nation, found himself perplexed and unable to respond, at least in a knee-jerk fashion, to the proposition that was nonviolent.  Hopefully, he gave this some greater reflection later.

I am struck by the initial framing of the conversation by the motorist, in that not going to with Iran, or Islam, somehow implies that we would eventually all be Muslims.  The assumption that different religions have to with one another is a lie that has been perpetuated for centuries.  At the of every great religion, at least every large enough to potentially start a war, there is compassion, grace, and peace.  It seems to me that hijacking for violent purposes is the bastardization of any true religion.  I don’t know if the passing motorists caught my reference to Islam, which in Arabic literally means “peace.”  There are many layers of here.

I like the line of thinking that the motorist posited, that was on the edge.  Like a former of mine likes to say, “If you’re not on the edge, you are taking up too much room.”  I strongly suspect that Jesus’ being on the edge had way more to do with peacemaking than warmongering.  I follow Jesus, but I don’t think it’s that’s leading us into war.  Praise be to Allah!  By the way, Allah is simply the Arabic word for “God.”  I that people are open-minded enough to not insist that the world be English only.  Of course, for good Christians this might a problem, not knowing Aramaic, since this was the language spoke.  Hmm…maybe that explains a few things that are apparently lost in translation…

 

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