Theological Reflection on Counter-Recruitment

Matt Guynn -

These reflections were created and shared in the context of counter-recruitment networking calls organized by On Earth Peace, 2003-2007.  On Earth Peace is an agency rooted in the Church of the Brethren, committed to confronting violence with God's love.

The Paths that Lead to Life

"You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence."
Acts 2:28

On Earth PeaceMy friend Bob gave me this metaphor: In the woods, in fields, in cities, there are often beaten paths that go to the usual places - which keep getting deeper and stronger with use.

Right now, the paths that are more well-beaten in our society often lead toward separation from each other, toward isolation, toward self-satisfaction, toward "bigger-than" and "me" mentalities. They often lead at the social level toward resource to violence, an overweening obsession with national security as opposed to human security, toward dehumanizing each other and writing off segments of the society.

There aren't many who will be the first to try a new path -- willing to be the first to make that path.   But there are many more who will at least try a path that at least has been tried before.  We may also find that there are old paths that lead to life and we have to uncover.

What if counter-recruitment organizing were seen as a way to invite people off the beaten path, to incite people to another path - not just countering military recruiters and their work, but inviting people to another way of living?  Counter-recruitment at its best may responding to the deep yearnings in people's soul, for lives with meaning, that contribute to the betterment of society.