“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
As mentioned before, peacemaking is not just a virtue of personal character, but is virtue acted into the world.[A] Such a great deal of spiritual preparation has preceded its acquisition. For, without spiritual maturity the peacemaker ends up little more than an earnest meddler. For the Euro-Identitarian, Rad-Trad, or NRx Christian, this call to peacemaking posses particular challenges, for we have much to consider in discharging this duty. We often find ourselves a few days late providing input, as the status-signaling Progs have already put their hasty plans into action while we were still considering the best course. Then we are left feebly presenting the bad news that these Utopian schemes are doomed, and only to deaf ears..
The Progressive Christian may have less thinking to do, or so they may comfort themselves. Treating all the world as an indivisible whole, they tend to act with a singular principle to fulfill their duty to peacemaking, whatever the longer term affects of their actions may be. This is typical of Left morality. It simply reacts event by event according to its current norms, paying little or no attention to the real worrld results of these norms. Failure of said norms to fulfill their beneficent intent is taken as failure on the part of unbelievers, or those who fail act out the norms devotedly. Democracy is the foundation of all Prog norms intended to accomplishing social good. Hence, we are to assume, democracy is the best method of peacemaking. Democracy and Tolerance. This pair then copulate and spawn Socialism, which according to the faithful inevitably brings the gift of world peace.
Sad how much of the Church is committed to these norms; to this secularized vision of the Kingdom of Heaven. On the surface this tends to give them the gloss of simple piety. Part of the ease for Christian Progs is their moral proximity to current norms. Because of this their actions and opinions are not critiqued theoretically. Traditionalists have no such ease. As soon as we open our mouths our words echo back off a massive edifice of what-is-obviously-best-to-anyone-who-has-love-in-his-heart-to-see-it’. Because we insist on considering tradition, a broader social and political context, long term implications, and the reality of physical and biological limits, we have a great deal more to consider when attempting peacemaking. Because we do not immediately run to ‘happy’ answers (nor do we expect to find them), we are branded curmudgeons. Meanies. Malthus was one such meanie. People just hate that what he said might be true. This would set limits to fancy.[B] But as an Anglican cleric, he was not writing out of meanness, he was writing what he saw as true, and only policy based on truth can bring social stability and lasting peace. But we live in a generation of supercilious liberals, who play toady to their own ideals, banking the destruction of civilization on the next generation rather than appear mean even for one afternoon today.
I have moved from the personal and meditative to the socio-political realm in this post. The nature of this beatitude prompted this. We may be inclined to think Jesus only intended interpersonal virtue in peacemaking. That community and national and global peacemaking are quite beyond the scope of the Beatitudes. If so, His phrasing would be reduced to, “Blessed are the non-confrontational”, or “Blessed or those who use non-violent communication”. Without getting too far into it, the following and final beatitude indicates otherwise, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake”. If we can perturb power enough to invite persecution, we must be acting in the political realm, and potentially acting outside the interests of power. So the idea that the end goal of the discipline of the Beatitudes primarily leads to personal piety or a hermetic life is not supported by the final beatitude. There is a potent enigma here . A good deal of this spiritual work is for personal awakening, for the development of spiritual gifts. Yet, having reached the pinnacle of this ascent, having seen God, we are brought back to the world to make peace. The world being what it is may be perturbed by our newly acquired righteousness. So this very personal venture that began with emptying ourselves, out of a profound desire to become something new, necessarily brings us transformed into the world. Here we face the quite natural social implications of our newness. So we may move back into the the world, but we must return with the mystical insight we have gained in our meditative states.
The subtle requirements of Traditionalist moral reasoning can be daunting. Easy moral choices, as brief as these beatitudes, would be nice. But as each of these statements of the Master tells of years of practice, their brevity should be seen a beautiful mnemonic for a life of becoming, rather than as showing ease in what they point to. A good deal of our difficulty is artificial. Our values are no longer assumed. In fact they are vilified. So we end up with a lot of explaining to do, being out of the ideological territory of the broader community, both ecclesiastical and secular. Quietism as peacemaking tempts. Can we really hope to stand against such powerful social forces? To what end? The reward of being right in some abstract way? What good is there in upsetting folk along the way who don’t really understand what we are going on about anyway?
We must remember, though, that the Master delivered these Beatitudes to a small group of listeners upon a hill. And these listeners had much less access to power than we do today. And we are convicted by the demands of righteousness that the contemporary moral modus operandi is counter-natural and so counter-Logos (dare I write Anti-Christ). We see that the current course of the West leads to disaster. So not only do we have a practical duty to warn a people who are partying hard on a bridge that is about to collapse, but we have a duty in our Christian call to posit what is best into the communities we live in. Difficult as our task may seem, and this difficulty is used against us by our opponents who tell us, “God can’t really mean for this to be so hard. We should just love and share. This will bring peace”, we have no choice. This is the age that God has placed us in. We have a moral duty to posit a healthy peace leading to a hearty feast, not this cheep fast-food-counter meal of appeasement our contemporaries have prepared.
We should conclude this post with some general comments on peace and why peacemaking is so highly esteemed by our Lord. Considering the placement of this beatitude in the sequence, it stands in the place where the fully transcended disciple, the one who has seen God, reengages the world. Another way of seeing it is that ‘peacemaking’ is the summation of all of a disciples duties in the world. Having received what we have from the Master all that we do in life is to promote peace. This vantage does afford us the need to meditate and ruminate on all we do, to consider carefully if it conforms to this intent. It is hard to imagine a better summation of our duty than peacemaking. What else would be so inclusive of all we will find to do? We might bring honour or moral reform or charity or even speak truth to power, but the summary intent of all these is to heal society and to bring concord, to bring peace. So indeed mere placation will not suffice. Rushing to make peace is not what we are called to. In truth peacemaking as peacemaking should be doubted. It has the ability to regress into mere etiquette and so not fulfill our moral duty of being makers of Peace.
My tendency in these musings has been to address issues often ignored. In doing so I have tended to ignore important aspects of our topics that are well established. Yet, I would be remiss not to state, if only in closing, that key to being able to bring peace is knowing peace in ourselves. That the spiritual ascent we have come through over the arc of discipleship has developed in us a capacity for calm strength and peacefulness. As well we have not mentioned the blessing given to peacemakers, “they shall be called the children of God”. Having seen God, we then go about the family business as His children.
“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:15
Image: Detail of Scythian gold vessel. 4th C. Kul Oba from @
I Just came across this image on twitter today (I suppose on Twitter things find us.) I felt it was a fit metaphor for our mediation on peacemaking. There is so much in the body language of these two men, one pulling the other’s tooth. The one in misery needs to endure a spike of pain at the hands of the other in order to restore peace.
[A] The use of the Greek word translated ‘peacemakers’ in its few other occurrences in the NT (eg: Mar9:50, 2Co13:11, 1Th5:13), and the commentators, confirm this.
[B] My daughter informed me the other day on the way to school that in her high school geography class they dismissed Malthus with the standard techno-cornucopia critique. This while they also talk about population boom in Africa. No discussion how that the short term check to Malthusian predictions, will only make things worse in the long run; short term peace, for long term war and potential European dispossession.