Another guest post today from Tarah Van De Wiele, an amazing theologian and Biblical scholar living as an ex-pat in England. You can read more about her and her adventures and her adventures living outside the U.S. at ever popular blog: 2 People, 2 Dogs & 10 Bags.
I am a pacifist. But historically I am an incensed one.
This is why it has finally become dire that I expend the energy built up inside me from the endless culture wars that inform our language, plague our dinner tables, and crawl across the TV screen like some bug you can’t seem to swat away. Are you pro or anti? Red or blue? Straight or gay? Black or white? Male or female? Enough. Al. Ready.
The latest culture war sparked by a certain chicken restaurant completely caught me off guard. I spent an entire day stalking the web for pictures of people fighting in the war. After a few hours I managed to succumb to the purest form of rage available to an incensed pacifist, and began to brainstorm what smart but highly insulting sign I would distribute, what post I would send viral, what boycott I would demand. And the only question by 4 in the afternoon was not if I should curse but HOW MUCH.
And then the chickens showed up.
They were in my email. Specifically, this flock of chickens was part of an effort by Episcopal Relief and Development to give a sustainable food supply to those in need. The words attached were: “A gift of a flock of chickens is far more than some hens, a rooster and a daily supply of fresh eggs. Your gift supports training families to raise poultry and sell surplus stock and eggs in the marketplace.”
And that was it—that was the moment my anger faded into something else. It faded into a…smile. What I did in response to the war sparked by a certain chicken restaurant was give a share of chickens to the poor. That was what I did.
It was an action, it was in response to the war, but it was outside of the war. It was living in peace during culture wartime in a creative way.
And it didn’t stop there. I’ve been a functioning culture-war-positive-response-creator since and as a result am learning about new causes and new ways people love each other and their world and all of this thanks to seeing the culture wars in another way.
Here are the wonderful people I’ve discovered in the past few weeks entirely inspired by those generals of the culture war of America (the first time I’ve ever said those words, let me assure you):
The Fox Project: a Wildlife Hospital here in Britain that admits and treats around 700 foxes per year, including 250 cubs
Ryan’s Well Foundation: The Foundation has helped build 724 water projects and 916 latrines, bringing safe water and improved sanitation to 760,512 people
Feeding the Hungry Tampa Bay: Providing food to over 400,000 people in the West Central Florida