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Peace is Not Quiet

“Peace’s sister is justice.” Here is why we get ‘peace’ wrong – and why making peace (real peace) is about storytelling and story-hearing.

(Transcript of the image: “You keep pairing me with quiet,” Peace said, “but my true companion is the mighty clamor of chains being ripped clean from the wall.” – Lort Hetteen.)

Peace’s sister is justice:

“Peace was more than stillness. More than sleep. More than numbness, more than the absence of conflict. Peace was consolation and wholeness. Peace was two men breaking bread together, forgiving an old quarrel. Peace was a mother holding her infant up to its father for the first time, or a mother opening her eyes to greet her child after long illness. Peace was two lovers in each other’s arms after a long, good night. Peace was an open door and a wall torn down.”

That’s from No Lasting Burial, a novel that you can get here: https://stantlitore.com/product/no-lasting-burial/ Or on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ATVTX2K. You would really like the book.

Here is why we think of peace as quiet, when it is anything but:

“The word ‘eirene’ in Koine Greek is profoundly different from ‘peace’ in English, to such an extent that when we translate it as ‘peace’ and read it in an English New Testament, we may read from the text a meaning opposite to that a first-century Christian would have. Consider what we often mean when we say ‘peace’ in English. We tell our dead to rest in peace, we ask for peace and quiet, we ‘make peace’ by ending a battle—because our ‘peace’ is a descendant of the Roman ‘pax,’ which means the absence of conflict. It means order, silence. Yet for many, the Pax Romana was a false peace and an oppression. The Greek word is ‘eirene,’ which comes from the verb eiro, which means to tie or weave. An appeal to eirene is not a call for order or the cessation of conflict; it is a call for interdependency—for a community ‘woven together.’ In a perfectly ordered pax, in a stable status quo with no conflict, people may find themselves stacked on top of each other in orderly castes and not woven together at all; lives may be prevented from full-flourishing because privileging the absence of conflict above all else keeps issues from being resolved, reconciled, or forgiven. But in eirene, we don’t silence dissent or brush issues and conflicts under the rug—*we* are the rug. Woven together in community like a thousand colored threads in a brilliant tapestry. … Rather than resting on top of each other in separate layers of society, the writers of the Greek New Testament imagined an integration of all people into the warp and weft of a shared community.”

We need more of that kind of peace. That is the peace I will pray for, yearn for, fight for, and try always, with my stories, to weave. The quote is from Lives of Unforgetting: What We Lose in Translation When We Read the Bible, which you can get here: https://stantlitore.com/product/unforgetting/ Or on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NTRT4DP People who have read it call it a must-read.

Real peace requires hearing everyone’s story, and creating the conditions in which everyone’s story can be heard. One more quote on peace and justice, from a novel:

“For Dmitri, raised by Ticktocks and abandoned by Ticktocks, justice was an objective thing. Your clock tells wrong or it tells right. Sometimes, the universe’s clock is off the hour and has to be set right. Everything must be counted and accounted for, especially blood spent and spilled. But Katya and I are of the humming people. For us, justice is not a matter of the hours told right but of songs finished, melodies made complete, tales that reach satisfying ends, and no teller’s tale ending too soon. My Mom’s tale ended too soon. No matter how hard the story, you don’t give up until it’s told. When you see another trying to sing and they can’t, you help them. If someone has no voice, you help them make a drum and you learn sign. If someone is captive, slaved by raiders, you break their bonds, take the gag from their mouth, and get them out into the free prairie where they can sing again. If red rain falls, you get everyone under shelter where the hum of their heartbeats can continue, however frightened and quick. You never give up, just as the Founder herself never gave up. You sing and you love and you hum with life until your very last breath, and you do what you can so others get to breathe and sing, too, until all our tales and all our lives are braided together.”

That’s Sasha Nightwatcher speaking, from Incursion (The Dakotaraptor Riders, Book One), which you can find here: https://stantlitore.com/product/incursion/ Or on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08N1LFFRB. Or on Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Incursion-Audiobook/B0947NDSSN. And you would love it – it’s an exciting read and a thrilling ride over an alien prairie.

It takes place on the planet Peace, which is not a quiet planet.

Stant Litore

P.S. If you have been loving my work, whether the fiction or the nonfiction, please come support my work on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/stantlitore A membership at a very small amount gets you a lot of great reads, and it helps me do more of this. The stories we tell are how we weave peace, and I hope mine will do a small part in that. Come join me. I could use the help, and you could use the stories.

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