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Friday, July 20, 2012

Bringing Peace to the Streets

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” (from Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson).

An oft omitted word in the above quotation is the word “foolish.” This is a very important qualifier. For wise consistency is the bread of life and a key discipline of love. Sadly, its absence can be seen manifested in children. Rather than being centered and undergirded by a sense of inner tranquility and peace, consistency starved children are characterized by agitation and a generalized, ill-defined and neurotic discontent. One of love's most important disciplines therefore is to provide a wise and nurturing environment characterized by consistency. Closely allied with consistency is stability. When these are absent in the streets it becomes a blighted society and informal associations are formed to provide some semblance of them such as store-front churches or, more negatively, gangs. The consistency provided by love is by nature a very personal product and it is well-neigh impossible to meet the problem of its lack with imposed propagations of bureaucracy. There is a saying that all politics is local—meaning in part that it requires personal connection. Meeting the inner need for peace requires personal connection. This means it is a labor intensive task for the closer one can get to one-on-one relationships the better. Criminal rehabilitation, for example, depends most essentially on cultivating self-reliance and self-discipline. These are not the dry products of program instruction but instead the fruit of loving relationships. So, an effective approach to prison reform will have the ingredient of personal warmth rather than institutional coldness. Since the necessary financial investment will likely not be forthcoming, a successful program will include a substantial recruitment of volunteers. This will be fortuitous since volunteerism arises from generosity and love – precisely the thing most effective and called for in the implementation of tranquility.

Music video:
Church In The Wildwood sung by Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Robert Emhardt

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