In his article, Virtual Violence on the United Methodist Men’s website, Captain Larry Malone, US Navy Retired, a naval aviator who flew bombing missions off the USS Enterprise in the Vietnam War, considers the power that war and violence can have over people, communities, and our nation. His reflections begin as he wrestles with the realities of soul wounds as encountered by Chris Kyle in the “American Sniper” and his own experience as a bomber pilot.
After raising our awareness to national culpability and responsibility, he challenges the reader. He states, “Healing begins when the spiritual wounds of soul and conscience are considered to be collective community wounds that are shared and grieved.” He moves us to take the “next level” in community action.
As I read this, I see the faith community’s role. As Larry states, “Sad souls and broken hearts find rays of hope in grief. Anger and pain can yield to the power of love and forgiveness.” Rather than allowing violence and war to have control over our communities, congregations can bring their unique strengths and capacities for care toward healing and restoration.
From the article:
“When war and conflict rage within, war finds its way outward. Violence originates in a violated soul; domestic violence begins in the inner soul home of a person who cannot contain it or shield their loved ones from its toxic power. A violent soul is prone to express the brand of violence it receives.”