My heart, as yours I’ll bet, is being whiplashed by violence. The most ominous violence I see and am a part in committing is to the Earth and thus to all living things. Then it’s guns and jihads, terrorism and shock-and-awe retaliations by nation states. In all cases, innocents are killed. In all cases, the killing is justified in terms of whatever greater good the bombing ones, the polluting ones believe in. And I am a part of all of this. My taxes buy our weapons as do yours. As a culture we have faith in weapons. And our cultural adversaries have faith in their weapons.

My soul shouts out, “Weapons are not the answer!”

My mind asks my soul, “OK, what is the answer?”

My hearts joins my soul responding, “Love.”

Over the course of years I’ve preached, paraded, petitioned for justice, for the liberation of the marginalized and oppressed. There have been times like this in the past, times we must stand and be counted, must not be silent and at the same time must learn to listen to the cry of the victims and the cry of our opponents. It’s the listening that seems wanting these days; these are days of polarizing certainties.

Will anyone vote for humility these days, stand with a movement or candidate that says there are no easy answers, that all issues are complex, a candidate who appeals to moral values? I want direction, not easy answers.


When easy answers are not acceptable where do we go for direction? We go to our core values, our moral values all of which are rooted in love.

A central faith statement of Christianity is that love casts out fear. But love is not easy. It calls for courage which is another name for faith. Jesus takes this premise to its rock foundation when he calls his followers to love their enemies, listen for their humanity.

Could anyone be elected on that platform today, or any day we’ve known of for that matter? Probably not, but I’d vote for her or him.

In the meantime, what do we who know that weapons are not the answer do? Your specific answer to that question is to be determined between you and your God. What I do know is that it is time for each of us to discern what love calls us to and to be about it. It will have much to do with what we do best that multiplies justice and love.

Along with the various ways we have to be counted – contributions, petitions, letters, demonstrations and voting – I’m going to offer another class in spiritual life and growth I call Living Faith. It will meet on Tuesday evenings, 7 to 9, in rooms provided by the Yarmouth First Parish. Email me if you are interested and I’ll tell you more about it. The goal of the class is to cultivate a deeper understanding and experience of love as understood in the Christian tradition, toward the end of following where Love/God is calling you, me, us.

As is always the case, whatever we as individuals do in the face of terror and fear, even in the name and spirit of love, seems weak, but it isn’t. It is the true strength that will save the life of our planet and of those we love. Fear shrivels in the face and courage of love.

Keep the faith. Keep the face of your moral compass clean and follow where love leads. We are not alone. And in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. who wrote the book, “Love Is Something You Do,” we shall overcome.

Bill Gregory is a writer, teacher, retired minister ordained in the United Church of Christ. He can be reached at:

[email protected]

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