The Answer is Spiritual and it’s Found in Solitude

11-novemberSome words from Thomas Merton speak to our state of affairs today in my humble opinion.

“When (men) are merely submerged in a mass of impersonal human beings pushed around by automatic forces, they lose their true humanity, their integrity, their ability to love, their capacity for self-determination. When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority. But when men are violently deprived of solitude and freedom which are their due, the society in which they live becomes putrid, it festers with servility, resentment and hate. No amount of technological progress will cure the hatred that eats away the vitals of materialistic society like a spiritual cancer. The only cure is, and must always be, spiritual.” Thomas Merton (Thoughts on Solitude).

More Spin Doctors Than Investigative Reports

Worth repeating America in 2000: 65,900 reporters,128,600 PR people America in 2015: 45,800 reporters, 218,000 PR people (per )

How You Can Help with Our Movie

"I fully enjoyed the perspective. Thank you! Continue this journey, please...God Bless you."

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Two years ago at this time we were in our last stages of preparation for going to the Holy vimeo-bannerLand to film for our movie on peacemaking. The news was full of stories of violent confrontations and conflict. We were considering pulling the plug on our trip, consulting with friends and groups on the ground on whether it was safe for us to go to the region. We were still asking for money as we were on a shoe string budget to produce this movie (no worries, I’m not asking for $ now). People were giving us their blessings and prayers as we purchased our airline tickets and finalized our itinerary.  We were eager to get the thoughts on the prospect for peace in this longstanding conflict from friends and peacemakers we lined up to interview.

And here we are today! Some things remain the same. Some of the conditions have gotten worse. But I still feel the amazing tenacity and hope for peace that springs from the lives and stories of those we spoke with, epitomized in the lines of Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish– “We suffer from an incurable malady: hope.”

We’ve finished the movie and finally landed on a title, “Blessed Are The Peacemakers: One Man’s Journey to find the Heart of Palestine.” We felt it was time actually to try and give voice to the voiceless, to those who normally aren’t heard. It is really also my story of discovery, finding in my relationships with peacemakers a message that resonates with the words of Jesus on peacemaking.

Feedback from our various screenings has been exciting. We even had a group of new Muslim friends come to a screening in Saskatoon, Canada after we visited their mosque. I continue my work in the broader area of peacemaking between Muslims and Christians and this movie has helped foster this conversation.

Here’s how you can join in this vital work of peacemaking around our movie:

  1. VIEW OUR MOVIE on Peacemaking. Host a screening and create some discussion around the topic of peace in the Holy Land. Maybe you can move from mere talking about peace to actual peaceMAKING as suggested in our movie by Rev. Mitri Raheb!”
  2. TELL OTHERS. Spread the word personally by talking it up with friends, family or your church. Point them to the landing page to learn more and watch the movie themselves. The key is to get more eyeballs to watch.
  3. SOCIAL MEDIA. Promote the movie on social media. The landing page is easy to point to from any device.
  4. INIVITE me to speak to your group about the movie, the on-going work of peacemaking in this conflict, or other topics around the broader ministry of peacemaking. Write me at
  5. DEVLVE DEEPER into the issues and become informed and active in advocating for peace in this conflict. My forthcoming study guide will soon be available under resources on the movie page.

In summary, please join this important journey in peacemaking. I’ve developed support resources for this journey of peacemaking centered around the movie including– a movie trailer, movie poster, bulletin insert, screening guide to help with an event you host and also a study guide that can be utilized in a small group or adult education group over six weeks. Go to my movie landing page for any of these resources, to stream my movie, or write me with your questions. Do it now.

Thanks for joining this important journey for peace,

Andy Larsen, Peacemaker

Night Photography and the Discipline of Slowing

Lookout 1“In our culture, we tend to gather information in ways that do not work very well when the source is the human soul: the soul is not responsive to subpoenas or cross-examinations. At best it will stand in the dock only long enough to plead the Fifth Amendment. At worst it will jump bail and never be heard from again. The soul speaks its truth only under quiet, inviting, and trustworthy conditions. The soul is like a wild animal – tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.”

Parker Palmer, Let Your Live Speak



Each Small Candle Lights a Corner of the Dark

Lyrics by Roger Waters from his LP “In The Flesh”_ACP7350 (2)

Not the torturer will scare me
Nor the body’s final fall
Nor the barrels of death’s rifles
Nor the shadows on the wall
Nor the night when to the ground
The last dim star of pain, is hurled
But the blind indifference
Of a merciless, unfeeling world

Lying in the burnt out shell
Of some Albanian farm
An old Babushka
Holds a crying baby in her arms
A soldier from the other side
A man of heart and pride
Breaks ranks, lays down his rifle
To kneel by her side

He gives her water
Binds her wounds
And calms the crying child
A touch gives absolution then
Across the great divide
He picks his way back through the broken
China of her life
And there at the curb
The samaritan Serb turns and waves … goodbye

And each small candle
Lights a corner of the dark
Each small candle
Lights a corner of the dark
Each small candle lights a corner of the dark
When the wheel of pain stops turning
And the branding iron stops burning
When the children can be children
When the desperados weaken
When the tide rolls into greet them
And the natural law of science
Greets the humble and the mighty
And the billion candles burning
Lights the dark side of every human mind

Each small candle
Each small candle [repeated]
Each small candles lights the dark side of every human mind

And each small candle
Lights a corner of the dark

Lyrics by Roger Waters from his LP “In The Flesh”

“Blessed Are The Peacemakers” (the movie) includes stories of of many candles giving light to a corner of the dark!

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