Stones, pigs and windows

Oh can't you see what love has done? — U2

I did not post a blog at East­er, because we have been away for a few days. The first pho­to from the gallery below gives a hint as to what it was that we were run­ning from: the dust and debris of our house. Our land­lord has final­ly joined the march of civ­i­liza­tion and has decid­ed to replace our Vic­to­ri­an win­dows with dou­ble glaz­ing. In prin­ci­pal this makes us hap­py, but the prac­ti­cal imple­men­ta­tion is some­what of an ordeal – espe­cial­ly the time­line of this imple­men­ta­tion. Our house has been a dusty mess since Wednes­day. When we went on hol­i­day on Fri­day, they assured us that it would be fin­ished on that day. But upon return­ing home last night we saw that the edges were not plas­tered, so this week we can expect even more dust.

So it was good to have a break. We went to Sal­is­bury, where we looked at one of the copies of the Magna Car­ta in the cathe­dral. This is a doc­u­ment from 1215, in which the Eng­lish king trans­fers part of his pow­ers to the barons. This is quite inter­est­ing, it relates to human rights and free­dom of expres­sion. We went even fur­ther back in time at Stone­henge, which of course was very spe­cial. Even­tu­al­ly we even vis­it­ed the Juras­sic Coast yes­ter­day, a part of the Eng­lish coast­line where rocks from the Tri­as­sic, Juras­sic and Cre­ta­ceous lie on the surface.

We stayed in Wilton, a vil­lage near Sal­is­bury. I real­ly have to adver­tise a pub there, Pem­broke Arms. We walked in here on the first evening, attract­ed by the crack­ling fire and look­ing for a meal. Imag­ine our sur­prise when we dis­cov­ered that the menu had an exten­sive veg­an sec­tion! It turned out that the own­er was veg­an. So instead of sur­viv­ing on fries with sal­ad for a week, I had plen­ty of choice every night. Some­thing else that sur­prised me were the ‘pigs vil­lages’ that we saw every­where in the land­scape. Vast fields with a pat­tern of small canopies and tents. And hun­dreds of free rang­ing pigs. A strange view.

Wall with roots

To still com­plete the series of East­er, I will report on my expe­ri­ence with restora­tive jus­tice at the police. As I wrote ear­li­er, my bike was stolen. The offend­er turned out to be a boy who had built a bike that was stolen from his grandmother’s front yard. I had a con­ver­sa­tion with him at the police sta­tion; Fred­dy was there too. The con­ver­sa­tion was led by a vol­un­teer, and there was a police­man. We both told our side of the sto­ry, what hap­pened and how we felt. The boy clear­ly regret­ted his action and he apol­o­gized. In my turn, I said that I accept­ed the apology.

It seemed as if both the boy and the police thought in terms of ‘ret­ri­bu­tion’, while we and the mod­er­a­tor were more con­scious of the prin­ci­ples of restora­tive jus­tice. For instance, the boy kept say­ing “sor­ry is not enough”, even though we kept ensur­ing him that in this case it was enough. And the agent tried to keep the boy on the right path by threat­en­ing; he empha­sized that the case would be brought up again if he com­mit­ted anoth­er offense.

It was an inter­est­ing expe­ri­ence. The pro­ce­dure was real­ly focused on the boy — keep­ing him out of trou­ble and encour­ag­ing him to make mon­ey in an hon­est way. I am con­vinced that this way of think­ing brings more har­mo­ny into soci­ety, and that it is the basis of Jesus’ message.

For the diehards who have read this far I have a beau­ti­ful song: Win­dow in the Skies from U2 (the video clip is anoth­er nice sto­ry). Hate brought to its knees. That’s what hap­pened at Easter:

Rather than mak­ing total war on human­i­ty because we cru­ci­fied Jesus, God-in-Christ faith­ful­ly per­sists in mak­ing peace with human­i­ty — not despite the cross, but indeed “through the cross”, by putting war-beget­ting hos­til­i­ty to death in him­self at the cost of his own life, at the price of his own blood being shed.

… through Jesus’ liv­ing, dying and ris­ing God has sur­passed the law of cause-and-effect and there­by cre­at­ed new pos­si­bil­i­ties for human­i­ty and history.


  • Dar­rin W. Sny­der Belousek, 2011. Atone­ment, Jus­tice and Peace