Volume 1, Number 2, Fall 2006
In this edition of the Journal of Stellar Peacemaking (JSP), we serve diversity as the key ingredient of a delicious peace repast for the senses, spirit and mind. Variety is the spice that enhances the flavor of our peace servings. It is also a vital component in the presentation of peace. These two aspects of peace development, and life, are evident across contexts where peace has been regained or advanced. As we share the recipes for peace that have successfully satiated unfilled needs, we recognize a common diversity element across many of our preparations for a better world that we want everyone to be served.
Our diverse ways of being humans are core to peace, even though the differences of our values present us with challenges while we develop models of living together. When we are enriched with a multitude of perspectives, ideas and capabilities, we can work through our challenges. The variety of ways we think and live, regardless of the very similar values we share, enables humanity to creatively express our needs and problem solve. For example, we recognize how one culture’s solution to violence can be adopted and used in another context. The concepts and strategies of Mohandas Gandhi and many other peacemakers have been adopted and successfully applied in other regions. The variety of concepts shared preceded the adaptations of them for use by other cultures. Accomplishing this entailed open-mindedness that enabled the valuing of difference.
Seeing through the obscurity of group labels helps us communicate. We recognize that behind the perceived mask of an enemy, there is our common humanity. By focusing on that commonality, we hear and more appropriately respond to distress signals of ‘the other.’ By not succumbing to the production and use of labels and images which build enmity, through the obscuration of others in need, we maintain our focus on peace through nonviolent problem solving. Direct interaction with an obscured individual or group can be beneficial for knowledge enhancement and peaceful conflict transformation. The variety of proactive ways we interact with obscure others have a common goal of facilitating our connections.
By positively connecting with those we distrust, we can demonstrate our willingness to work through our conflict. Reaching out to ‘the other’ is essential for understanding the vast similarities, which our differences sometimes overshadow. Crossing over cultural boundaries associated with ethnicity, religion, class, gender and ableness is done in purposeful ways for the advancement of understanding and the development of empathy. These mental outcomes of connecting across our differences are the foundation of acceptance and respect.
Across the range of diversity in this world we develop our respect for all of humanity and the rich biodiversity in which it co-exists. We recognize the interdependence of all life. By respecting the differences of our values, and the needs which underlie them, we maintain an atmosphere where peace can be advanced. This respect for other forms of life and ways of living enables acceptance of and adjustment to difference. As we accommodate the differences we understand, respect and accept, we recognize our unity in living for peace.
While unified for peace, we remain open to creative means of accomplishing our common goal. Diverse ways of feeling, communicating and problem solving characterize our accomplishments. We know the value of presenting information in a multitude of ways. Our collective, as well as individual, talents produce more than the changes that evidence peace development. They inspire others while building hope in hard times. Hope is the main course of our repast, and the spiritual nutrition of our peace-building diet.
The contributions to this edition of the JSP provide a sample of the many flavors diversity can add to peace development. We hope you will join us in this celebration of peace advancement through the preservation and use of variety.
Author: Reverend Jon Arnold
Author: EdwardJ. Brantmeier, Ph.D
Author: Enest McCray
Author: Terry Baird
Author: Rosemarie Stallworth-Clark, Ph.D.
Composer: Carol Johnson
Composer: Linda K. Williams
Artist: Tom Block
Artist: Rani Jayakumar