A song for those considering violence

A friend who is from the Muslim community in the UK asked me if I’d think about writing a song for those considering going to join IS. I wasn’t going to do it – frankly I don’t feel qualified to speak to such an intense issue, and it seemed doubtful to me that any of those people would ever hear one of my songs. But, the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. It really bothered me that I could hardly frame one sentence of what to say.

I have two sons who are young men – they’re passionate about their world views and they want their lives to have purpose and an impact on the world. What would I say to them if they were becoming convinced by others to kill in the name of God. The answer is I would beg them to reconsider, to see the reality of war.

So, this song is for those considering joining the violent. Please reconsider and give your life and energy for the good of others. You are needed in this cause. Not to fight with violence and cause pain, but to love and protect.

Where I live in America mass shootings are becoming more and more common, people are resorting to murder as an answer, an ideology. This is a song for my sons. If violence continues to rise, please give your life and energy and love for the care of others.

This was easily the most frustrating, difficult song I’ve ever written. Not musically, but emotionally. I really wrestled with it. I felt like I was peering into the pain of others as I put the slide show of pictures together. It felt wrong and intrusive. But, how else can we say, “Look at this pain that violence causes. This can’t be God’s will for you!”

It seems unlikely that any of those considering violence will hear this song, but I suppose I believe that the more voices there are calling for peace, the more chance we have of being heard.

I’m so proud of my many friends and family in Scotland who have marched to protest the bombing of Syria and are welcoming refugees into their communities. It seems like their voices calling for peace are being drowned out by the Twitter feed of lunatics like Trump, but I’m hopeful that when that noise of hate dies away we’ll still be heard calling for kindness and dignity.

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