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Friday, February 8, 2013

Extruding Peace

Compete: Seek or strive for the same thing as someone else; engage in a contest (WordWeb Pro).

To strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective (as position, profit, or a prize) : be in a state of rivalry (Merriam-Webster). 

To define the word "compete" I have consulted two competitive sources. One aspect of competition is that it opens up additional choices for those outside the direct competition. In America we highly value competition primarily for this choice generating aspect of it. Last Sunday millions watched the Super Bowl. This gives an inkling of the value of competition in American lives--but of course athletic competition goes goes back for eons.

Jesus said: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9 NIV). In the context of competition, what exactly is the role of the peacemaker? The peacemaker can help put the competition in context and frame it in human terms to reveal commonality. The peacemaker can point to the future and extrapolate the inevitable consequences if human kindness is entirely divorced from the proceedings. The peacemaker can help devise a structure in which competition is moved from destructive to constructive, productive, and mutually rewarding contention on levels (higher and lower) than heretofore conceived of or entertained. The peacemaker can spearhead inclusiveness and compassion telegraphing to the competitors that hatred and all its manifestations are flat-out out-of-bounds and that hatred is neither necessary nor helpful within competitive environments for it tends to remove all limits from the field--and without limits competition becomes mutually destructive, chaotic, and pyrrhically meaningless. The peacemaker can be an object of trust for both sides, thus providing a minimal commonality. Both sides in this respect also come to share a common leader. The key gift of the leader is to set a tone in which esteem, respect, and regard surrounds both sides and civility and goodwill diminish incessant alarms and animosity--thus pointing a way to solid, positive, and tangible improvement. In case this begins to sound a little too abstract, I would point to Dr. Martin Luther King as a good example.

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