Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Mountain Cheesemaker

Should you be mislead in your search for the perfect cheese recipe, let me assure you, your search continues . . .

Whatever this is, it is most definitely not a treatise on that perfect Gruyere . . .

Allow me to introduce myself . . .

My name is Beth

I live in the mountains

I have never, and I do mean never, made cheese . . .

But I am a huge fan of Monty Python

Love Life of Brian

And fancy myself one of the ‘cheesemakers’ Jesus blessed therein [translate: blessed are the peacemakers]

Admit it - like me, you really wish Jesus had blessed the cheesemakers instead - it would have made life so much easier if all I had to do was go out and learn to make a fine cheddar - with all its challenges, that’s got to be so much easier than making peace . . .

And in the end, the cheesemakers have a fine wheel of something very tasty to show for all their effort, while all I have is more fighting and discord and disagreement and disharmony and dysfunction and and and any other dis– you can think of . . .

Not that I’m complaining, mind you – well, maybe a little. . . but I continue to be surprised that the efforts at peacemaking so often result in more discord, that the attempt to secure justice, at least for a time, increases injustice.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  This Newtonian law of momentum holds that “all forces are interactions between two different bodies.” [fn]

It would seem that Newton’s third law holds true in the world of the exchange of ideas as well.  It’s the only explanation I’ve got (nod to social scientists, who I’m sure can do better) as to why various propositions for peaceful resolution meet such anger and violence and resistance.

Virtually all humans claim to desire, even to long for, peace.  Yet proposals for peaceful change are often, if not usually, met with anger.

Resistance to change and the cost of that change to the individual or its society as a whole can offer only a partial explanation.  For the fact is that every war results in change and enormous cost.  Yet few wars provoke the violent response in the citizenry that calls for peace do.

Hypothesis: humans are on a trajectory of war and violence.  Ways of being peace would alter the trajectory.  Resistance is the predictable result.  Newton was more right than he knew.

Yet, if this is true, why does the trajectory of war and violence not yield an ‘equal and opposite reaction’ of peaceseeking?  Perhaps it does.  Perhaps by its very nature, the impulse to peace is quieter, more low to the ground, than the impulse to war, so that the ‘reaction’ of peace goes by unnoticed, even, sometimes, by those who seek it most fervently.

The Christian answer in these United States today to war and violence often includes statements offered so matter-of-factly that they are proffered as axiomatic: I’m not Jesus.  I’m not that good a person.  Jesus didn’t have to contend with nukes.  Even Jesus was violent (referring to the money-changers incident, but forgetting, somehow, the cross).  They’re evil.  They need killing.  What else can we do?

It is settling for so much less than the gospel of the Risen Christ, these reasons to stay on the course we’ve set for ourselves.

Perhaps peace is the dream of God.  But if there are any dreams in the universe that have a chance of coming true, surely they’re the dreams of God.

To all the peacemaking cheesemakers or cheesemaking peacemakers seeking your blessing, I say, blessed are you.

[fn]  C Hellingman (1992). "Newton’s third law revisited". Phys. Educ. 27 (2): 112–115. Bibcode 1992PhyEd..27..112H, per Wikipedia article on Newton’s Laws of Motion.


  1. LOL - Patti - love it! Think I might use that one on our church sign :-)