It occurs to me that where Friends are very privileged and protected by Caesar’s might, we are far more likely to set up “reasonable” arguments for the Peace Testimony, as a matter of public policy, or to abandon it altogether.
The third alternative, to justify the Peace Testimony as a recognition of an inward reality, requires that we confront the question: “are we living in the Life and Power that gives forth this testimony?” When we are not ourselves in the position to live out the peace testimony, when, instead of putting our lives on the line, we hide behind the walls of Empire, we are loathe to justify our doctrine by the Light, which would convict us in our hearts. It is easier for us to ground our testimonies in “reason” and liberal “sensibility,” or to abandon it altogether, than to really examine what it is we believe – and, more importantly – what it is we are living in the terrifying Light of Christ that demands that we purify our lives and turn away from our own comfort.
We Friends can stand with integrity on our Peace Testimony if we are speaking out of our experience, and if we are living faithful, vulnerable, endangered lives. Of course we hide behind “reasonable” arguments when we are not putting ourselves in harm’s way. We can only proclaim peace from a position of vulnerability.