Five Armies?

On the eve of a Federal Election Campaign.

the five armies

It’s hard not to think of it as a Lord of the Rings or Hobbit event. The Five Armies.

Good arrayed against evil.

The Dark Lord firm in his centre, reaching out tentacles of destruction, seeking to secure his hold, desiring, thirsting, eager in a worm-tongued, psychotic glee to dip again into the life blood of the land and all that sustains it. Gathering his forces misanthropic.

The standards of the four armies arrayed against him.

One for the prince, king in waiting. Young and beautiful and silver tongued. Mobbed as his father was, but lacking, somehow, his father’s gifts. Old retainers round him. Some say ‘bound him’ to loyalties and policies of a bygone day. Speaking with freedom in one voice and oil in another. Committing to fight the despot tyranny with every means. And voting to support despotic law. Afraid to look weak, yet looking all the weaker for it. The Prince rallies his forces, unsure if they will be there on the day.

One for the warrior woman. Green Boadiccia back from time. Once oathed to the Dark Lord’s party, now ready to lead the gathered chieftans against the might of Empire. Down with oil, down with forced unity, down with the old ways, the old armies, the old powers. Down with all who are not with her, and calling all to her side. She holds arms against all armies but her own, speaks of common cause, while insisting she alone will determine who is common to the cause. Clear on who is not.

One for the land of the Gauls. Passionately arrayed against the Dark Lord, against the Empire, against incursions, against intrusion, against any voice that would speak about union in country or in cause. Willing to ally but only in the interests of Gaul.

One for the hard man. The battle chief. Fighter of many wars, scarred, wounded, standing ready. Adept in rhetoric. Uncompromising on opinion or policy lest it give the Dark Lord an opening, an edge, an advantage. Sorting through his standard bearers, insisting on unquestioned loyalty. Driving some to the Warrior woman, some to the Prince, some to the Gaul. And yet many in the provinces answer his call still. Gathering up his forces for one long assault on Mordar.

The Orcs beat the war-drums, the Balrogs roar their fury. The wolves howl, the armies of the dead rise up to meet their master.

Where is Frodo? Where is Bilbo?

That, I think, would be the rest of us.

Tired of the constant cycle of war and attrition of lands wasted, seas used as dumping grounds, water sold, food dumped, housing denied, services withdrawn, humans abused, creatures killed, crops stolen. Tired of a world dancing to an insane drummer.

It is our turn.

Our turn to reach out, to befriend, to find the one to support. To select the person most likely to reach out, befriend, call a dance for the common good of all creation. To bring the multitudes together in common cause and end, once and for all the warfare against ourselves that we’ve been fighting.

Our turn to live fully into what we already know. Harm to one harms all. We cannot be well when another is not. We are in this together. We are not combatants, we are community.

It is our turn. We must not fail.ubuntu


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About Keith Simmonds

Born and raised in the middle north (Kitimat BC and Flin Flon MB), I've worked 30 years in Mining/Smelting and the Pulp industry, while engaging in political action, community organizing, and union activism on the side. In and Out of Spiritual Being, my faith journey is through a Christian context, although I honour, uphold and am fascinated by other paths to the mountain. I began my training in diaconal ministry with the United Church of Canada in 2004, and began serving as a minister in Rossland, Trail, Beaver Valley and Salmo BC in 2009. My family and I moved to Duncan BC in August of 2013, where I serve as part of the ministry team. My partner, Laurel Walton, and I have five children between us. Liam attends Cow High, Jonah lives and works in Duncan, Brenna resides in Courtenay, Amy and her partner, Craig are in Vancouver, and Wade is in Calgary. My parents and siblings live in Kamloops, BC.

5 thoughts on “Five Armies?

  1. To my readers who have expressed their discomfort with the opening paragraphs of this blog. A note of explanation: It is meant to cause discomfort, to contrast the ideology of elections as ‘war’ with a perspective of building communities of peace. I’m sorry I caused so much disruption for so many. I had hoped to cause some, but not perhaps, so much. I appreciate the emails asking me why I wasn’t emulating Ubuntu…thank you.

    1. I find this delightful :) ubunto is non-dual living, and it’s where most of the younger world is going. Dualism sucks – get over it – especially if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, a master of non-dual living.

    2. I don’t think you should be sorry AT ALL. Awareness is the key to what you call ubunto, and its too easy to fall into our old patterns without being aware. This is not time to “party” as usual.

    3. It seems to me that “Winner take all” is where our vaunted democracy has evolved at this moment. If we can’t very soon replace competition with co-operation, war with peace and financial wealth with something more meaningful, we just may find ourselves at the end of the current Intelligent Species experiment. If so and seeing that the great apes were just that, I would be inclined to try the cetaceans next and give dry land a few hundreds of millions of years to recover. Not that it’s up to me of course . . . is it?

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