The new Lancet report of about 650,000 dead Iraqis due to the American invasion, besides the million or so due to the sanctions regime before that, demands some careful listening too. At least Americans would think so if it were their families and neighbors.
I just realized that the "easy silence" that the Dixie Chicks are singing about, which God does for us, is just what we need so we can endure to pay attention and fulfill our duty to those around us - not ignoring those 650,000 corpses or explaining them away on the way to the mall. Put another way, the bubble of affluence and personal "peace" - the easy silence of our own making that we hide in - is what we do in place of the peace God offers. We pass by on the other side like the priest and the Levite as a substitute for the peace of God.
We spurn the peace of God because his peace calls us to stop for the wounded instead of passing by on the other side. We don't like the prospect of turmoil on the road of God's peace.
Jesus offers us his peace, but "not as the world gives." Well then, the world really does give peace, but what is that peace? Is it not the stuff, the empty entertainment, the lies about how wonderful our favorite empire is, the willful ignorance that hundreds of thousands of people are slaughtered with our indifference or even approval - which we sure wouldn't approve in others if we were on the sharp end?
Does God actually give us this peace that he promises, "not as the world gives" - a peace based on awareness of truth instead of unconsciousness - or are these just empty religious words? Is this peace of God really more satisfying than that which the world gives? Is it really easy silence - the easy yoke and light burden that Jesus promises?
How we answer such questions determines whether we take the broad way to destruction or the tight and narrow way which leads to life.
Well then, a plug for the Dixie Chicks. Go to www.dixiechicks.com for their concert schedule, and for where to buy their new album, "Taking the Long Way," which God's way certainly is.