Monday, March 14, 2011

Peace Flag

One of my neighbors flies a flag that causes me heartache. It also seems to be quite a puzzling combination to go with what is posted on the gate to the back driveway. I took pictures of both from the street in front of the driveway.

First the flag.

Now several shots of the sign posted on the gate.

It leaves one wondering what exactly is meant by peace, if indeed peace is what is intended by the symbol on the flag, a symbol that usurps the place of the fifty stars that represent the fifty states that are united as a nation.

The so-called peace flag uses a symbol that has come to be counted by many as the “peace symbol,” which is actually a symbol that was designed to represent “Nuclear Disarmament”. So what is meant by those flying a flag with this symbol one cannot know with certainty, but it seems likely that some notion of “peace” is intended.

But with what is posted on my neighbor’s gate, it seems that this notion of peace may be fairly typical, where peace means what is expected that other people should do when mistreated or attacked or wronged.

In case the faded markings on the sign on the gate are difficult to read, the sign has a skull and crossbones and says:

(pirate protected)

Perhaps this really is not so far askew from what this flag really does mean.

Information regarding various peace symbols can be viewed here. It is quite an informative link, even including the Semaphore (flag) symbols from which the nuclear disarmament peace symbol was developed. Links for peace flags include: Peace Flags at Wikipedia, evolvefish Peace Flags, and Patriotic US Peace Flags. Interestingly, the so-called patriotic US peace flags work the fifty stars into the peace symbol so that the stars are rearranged rather than replaced.

What seems to be my neighbor’s definition of peace does seem to hold to the world’s general definition of peace. It seems that according to our sinful human nature peace means that if you are willing not to bother me too badly, I probably won’t kill you or do you other terrible intentional harm.

This is quite a different version of peace from that which is born in the regenerated spirit through Baptism. This is quite a different definition of peace from what the Prince of Peace, Jesus, came from heaven to establish. God’s peace brings true reconciliation between those who previously were enemies. God’s peace brings two enemies together and unites them as true brothers. But this comes through a change of heart and mind, a change of the very nature of men.

My investigation of my neighbor’s “peace flag” caused me to grow in my education. This is my preferred practice when offended by something that I do not understand. Before reacting strongly to what I do not understand, I like to investigate the thing and learn about it so as to understand it. Often I find that my feeling of offense was due to ignorance on my part. What is more, love covers over a multitude of sins (Proverbs 10:12 and 1 Peter 4:8). God’s love motivates seeking to understand others rather than reacting with judgment and condemnation. That is not always my first impulse, but God’s love is more powerful than my sinful nature. If I do not resist the Holy Spirit’s urging, I seek understanding. While my neighbor may not be a direct benefactor of this, I do grow in knowledge and understanding and in God’s peace that surpasses understanding.

In addition to what I recently learned regarding the peace symbol and the peace flag, I also learned that the United States of America actually does have an official peacetime flag. I was amazed to learn this, for all I had ever known was what is actually the military flag. The “Stars and Stripes” that is generally flown is actually the USA’s military flag.

Here is the Civil Flag of Peacetime:

More information regarding the various official flags of the United States of America can be viewed here.

I really should thank my neighbor for urging me by flying the peace flag to learn more about the flags of this nation. Moreover, I do understand the desire for peace. I myself hate war and all of the evils of war. Thus I share deeply my neighbor’s desire that peace should rule. However, I also wish that we all would show honor to one another by respecting the official flags that represent our republic and all that our nation was founded to be. Perhaps if this kind of love for neighbor and countryman prevailed, we might actually experience more of the peace that we claim to desire. Of course true peace has a source far greater than the feeble efforts at love that we are able to produce. Sadly few truly believe in Him and trust in Him. And so wars and rumors of war continue to rage among us.


FireSpeaks said...

As a whole the world has a skewed view of Peace. As a Christian many people ask me why I advocate for peace.However the answer is clear I never know just what they are thinking about. consider this only two years after releasing their "all we need is Love" hit The Beatles broke up.

Not Alone +++ PAS said...

Yes, indeed! For this reason when the Lord Jesus prepared His disciples for the terrifying events that they would behold in His suffering and death, He told them that He gave peace not as the world gives but His peace. What could the Beatles, who sought peace from the Hare Krishna and others know of this peace and love that is only of God in Christ?

Thanks for your insightful comment.

Wesley 'Whitey Lawful' Mcgranor said...

I refuse to mix past counterculture folly with Christ.