christine alexis virgins of the screen. fuqvids.com

I’m still recovering from the writing conference, BinderCon, and wrapping my head around the fact that my poems got pubbed a day later…

Then Brussels was terrorized.

It brings up the reason why I developed the SIX DEGREES world religion curriculum and associated interfaith devotional, 42 DAYS THROUGH FAITH. I’m reminded of something the great Jenny Lumet said at the closing keynote at BinderCon:

“They don’t want me to trust you. They want me to be uncomfortable with her.”

Here is the truth brothers and sisters – there are people in this world who want to separate us. There are people in this world afraid of difference and of change. There are people in this world who believe there is not enough room and by allowing change, what they have will be taken from them.

Terrorism is a backlash.

This is a tantrum.

These are the actions of a group of people who are desperate out of fear. They are afraid and they want us to be afraid so they can go back to the way things used to be.

Do not be afraid.

There is no returning to the way things were, which means the only way is forward. How we move forward depends entirely on us. This is a choice. We can allow the fear to consume us. We can allow the rhetoric of desperately afraid people to dictate what we do or we can assert our control and counter it.

We counter this through speaking the language of love and healing in our actions. We can spend time learning about one another and embracing one another’s beautiful difference. We can forgive and accept one another. We can seek restorative healing and peace.

Please.

It is easy at times like these to harden one’s heart, but don’t. Do the exact opposite. Find ways to be more loving – to be more supportive. Extend your hand to those who are different from you. Join an ecumenical action group. Take a class like SIX DEGREES or better yet, start one in your community. Call up a mosque and see if there is anyway you can support that community at this time.

When bad things happen, it’s okay to be sad or angry. Feel these things. And then let them go. Let them go and fill your heart and mind with thoughts of compassion and empathy. Think about the fact that terrorists are a symptom of a larger problem. They are people who had hopes and dreams and felt this was the only path left to them, urged this way through a combination of factors. Their families and friends also suffer through these choices. Their communities suffer too.

It may feel strange to think about these things, to humanize those who commit such violent acts, but they are still human despite their choices. When we humanize those who commit violent acts, we return responsibility to those involved. It also allows us to understand why and prevent it from recurring.

If we truly want to stop terrorism, this is one of the most important paths we can take. Practicing empathy and compassion breaks down barriers and increases the potential for cooperative and collaborative solution building.

This is how we make the world a better place – through love.

If this is something you feel strongly about, I really urge you to connect with me around SIX DEGREES and interfaith peacework. We are better together. Comment below, send me an email using the contact tab, message me on Facebook or mention me on Twitter. I know we can be better, but it takes action from people like you and me.

They want us to be afraid.
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