Saturday, August 4, 2007

Is Peace Possible?

WHAT IF? What if we all paused for a moment of peace at noontime? What if we all listened more carefully to the world around us? What if this moment for peace inspired acts of peace and compassion? What if the world we all dream of IS possible?

Is peace possible? What would a more peaceful world look like to you? These are the two simple but difficult questions asked by Jerry Leggett a singer touring the country, giving free concerts in communities at noon and hoping to inspire dialog about ideas on peace. Traveling with a vintage RV he has named "The Peace Bubble," Jerry is on a year long mission to hear stories from people in this country about what peace means to them and to provide inspiration to communities about attaining peace in our lives.

All this week, Ottawa's annual summer-time bash, Riverfest has been stirring activity in the community. The Peace Bubble journeyed to Ottawa, Illinois yesterday to be a part of the Riverfest fun. Jerry and the Peace Bubble were sponsored by the mission board at our church, the First Congregational United Church of Christ. The concert took place just across from our church in Washington park, a beautiful historic location where Abraham Lincoln debated Stephen Douglas in August of 1858. Jerry invoked the history of the location as he began his concert, affirming that the surest way to find peace is through open debate of those with differing views and by listening to each other.

Jerry kicked off his concert on the beautiful Friday afternoon and played many of our favorite Beatles songs. Adults and children alike clapped, sang along and blew bubbles. Pastor Lisa was so inspired that she even danced with Jerry as he sang! What is inspiring about the message that Jerry and the Peace Bubble are bringing to our communities, is that peace IS possible. He emphasizes that the concert and tour are non-sectarian, non-political opportunities for people to share their ideas and thoughts about what a more peaceful world would be for them. It is interesting that in the current state of our world, Jerry has had to make it very clear that his tour is not an "anti-war"'s funny that some people think that discussions of peace are ONLY about disagreement with war.....

When asked what he has learned from being on the road since January 1 and having traveled from California to places such as Oklahoma City, Ground Zero, Biloxi, MS, Virginia Tech the week of the shootings, border towns, large towns and small towns like Ottawa, Jerry says that he has learned that there IS enough peace in the U.S. to go around. People are making room for peace in their hearts, homes and communities.

Jerry interviewed many people following the concert including our Pastor (seen dancing above), Ottawa's mayor Bob Eschbach, and several other attendees to record their thoughts on peace. The listening post that Jerry creates at each stop in his tour is posted on YouTube, so check out the interviews from the concert in Ottawa! Browse through them and find out what the many beautiful people from around this great country of ours have to say about peace.

My thoughts on peace:

Peace, I believe begins inside of yourself. By finding your own peace and demonstrating it in the way you think, act and speak, you can spread peace to the people around you. You may even inspire others to think, act and speak with more peace themselves.....imagine if everyone could do that just for one day.....imagine what that world would look like....

I think deep down nearly all of us have a desire for peaceful existence and harmony among all people. The difficult thing we face in spreading peace is being open to listening to and respecting those whose ideas are different than our own. The perfect example is the most obvious one, the current war in Iraq. While I have disagreed with pre-emptively invading a country and starting a violent conflict without first exhausting attempts at diplomacy, I have extreme respect for those men and women who have CHOSEN their job to be that of serving our armed forces. It takes a special person to select such a dangerous and often thank-less job with such strain, stress and distance from loved ones, you cannot deny the courage and sense of duty those individuals have. However, I think a huge part of the great mess we find ourselves in, is attributable to a strong unwillingness of the decision makers to LISTEN to those with differing points of view and ideas about how to bring about peace in other ways.

Please visit the Peace Bubble website and feel free to share YOUR thoughts on peace here at My Life With Dogs.

"If you want peace in your heart make space for it, If you want peace in your world make a place for it." --The Sea Wall Singer (Jerry Leggett)


zztopdog said...

Very interesting and timely! How cool that he came to Ottawa. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Ditto zztopdog. I am so glad that you find time to participate in that kind of activity.

Nice pics.