May 25, 2011

Is Service More…?

Image by Daryl -
Last week while driving through Ohio with Tim we talked about a lot of things and one of them was war.  Now I know everyone has their own opinion and next to religion and money this one hits high on the sensitive scale.  These are my thoughts and opinions and as such, are subject to morph and grow.  So take this for what it's worth.

Tim asked me, "How much have we spent on The War in Iraq?"  We talked about it and then he said what would be different if all that was spent on service?

I wasn't too sure on numbers so I looked it up and as of this blog post: says $791,743,312,678.00.  Weather it's $100 billion or $700 billion it's a lot of money so lets not get hung up on the details there.  The point is that that's a lot of money to spend -- depending on how you look at it -- hating and killing people or saving and protecting people.  I'm not getting into the whole we should or shouldn't, I'm merely asking the question and providing some recent thoughts.

So this is in no way the most brilliant foreign relations policy but more a very simple way to apply a seemingly simple idea.  So let me precede it with the question:  Does a $100 billion put toward service have more power than $100 billion put toward war?  Can service be more powerful and more effective than "death and carnage via air and artillery?" -- a quote from Fog & Friction, a film I worked on -- directed by Dodge Billingsley.  It's good, you should buy it.

Okay, getting back on track...  I have two samples for you to think about and then send you on your way.

This one comes from a religious account.  If you're a Mormon you'll know the story, if you're not, you're in for a treat.  It is the story of Ammon.  Ammon wasn't always the nicest kid on the block.  Origionally against the church, he and his brother Alma the Younger, contended with the church and those of the faith.  BUT, after heavenly intervention and a personal conversion, Ammon, being a Nephite, served as a missionary to the Lamanites -- foes to the Nephites.
He was taken captive by the Lamenites and the king, Lamoni, asked him what his purpose was in their land.  Ammon's resonse, he sought to serve them and nothing else. The king accepted his offer and sent him to serve and tend his flocks of sheep.
Despite his service Ammon did run into some conflict in which he had to fight and defend his life and the flocks of the king from robbers.  Which, as I see it, is the same to day, but maybe business or family rather than sheep. Being impressed with his honesty and overall awesomeness, Lamoni offered him a daughter, which he politely declined and sough to continue serving the king and his people.
In the end the service was much more powerfull than the sword, yet the sword was still need to defend and protect.
For a full account go here: Ammon: Missionary to the Lamenites.  Or watch the rad Lego reenactment at the bottom.

The Second - Burger and Fry
As best I can tell this is legit.  Inmates at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base on Camp Delta have never been too fond of giving up things they know and as most stories about the place go, those wanting to know are never real nice about asking.  Point being, some interrogators moved from using fear, pain, violence... the not nice stuff, to being nice and taking care of the inmates.  One way in particular, giving an inmate what they really wanted…a Happy Meal®.  In the end, terrorist plots were unthreaded without war.

So is it possible to use service as weapon of war? Can service be more powerful than fear and intimidation? There is, in my mind, most certainly a time to take up arms and defend one's self, family… liberty. Can we find a better way to use the things we have to educate, advance and serve those around us?

Just a longwinded thought. And thanks to Tim for getting me thinking about it and you're great insight on the Ammon Way, as you called it.

Quotes on Service
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Preeminent leader of Indian nationalism.

Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.
-- Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-Swiss-U.S. scientist.

Give what you have to somebody, it may be better than you think.
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) U.S. poet.

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