An invitation from Susan: Begin the process of conversion

[A reflection from Susan Crane, February 1, 2012, FCI Dublin on the US military base Camp Parks]

Dear Friends,

Thanks for your prayers and letters, articles and books.   Life here continues to be simple in some basic ways. In prayer I don’t have to discern whether to live or work here or there, to cross the line at this or that military base, or to begin to disarm these drones or that nuclear capable missile. What I can do is be neighbor to the people around me, sharing, listening, reminding myself and others that the use of violence is never in conformity with the gospel or the god of love.

I was having a conversation with a friend here about a woman who had just been taken to the SHU. She had been fasting from water and food as part of her prayer for her daughter who has cancer. A drug test (urine) was demanded of her, and (we hear) she didn’t break her fast to drink water to be able to comply. My friend said, “A woman of God would be obedient, not stubborn and rebellious.” And that statement pretty much sums up the thinking among many women here. How is it that we so easily confuse the authority of the state with God’s will?

And here I sit, in general population, while Steve and Bix are both in the SHU. Am I confusing the authority of the state with God’s will? How much does fear or the desire for comfort influence my thinking?

I’m reminded of the story of Eleazar (2 Maccabees 6:18-31) who refused to act in contradiction to the tenets, as he understood them, of his faith.

The doomsday clock was just moved a minute closer to midnight. Our country still spends half of our federal tax dollars on warmaking. Stringfellow’s words about the state still ring true to me. He reminds us that the only sanction the state relies on is death, or some status that embodies the same meaning as death: imprisonment, deportation, loss of reputation or property or employment, or intimidation that causes fear and conformity.

If we were living in WWII Europe and there was a concentration camp in your neighborhood, would you work there and demean and kill people? If you didn’t work there, would it be enought to live a good life doing works of mercy?

The crimes of our government are not talked about on Fox news or in many places of worship. But we still have a responsibility to speak out and act nonviolently to begin to convert our warmaking hearts and economy and Empire.

Pray with friends! Breathe together! Practice love of friends and enemies! Walk into Lockheed Martin and other weapons manufacturers. Walk onto military bases. Begin the process of conversion!

We are all responsible for the collective acts of our warmaking state. Here in prison, there is a special kind of rest for my conscience. Join me! For love of the world we hammer swords into plowshares.

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