techical note-if I don’t write a whole entry about one of you that I’ve met on my journey, it’s because I don’t have nearly enough time… but maybe someday!
I met Ward Wilson at the Princeton peace group. A playful calmness and telling grin gave away a curious, investigative character. He and two other guys whom I dined on some Japanese food with bounced historical facts around like they were talking about their favorate football team and refered to the Kennedy’s as if they were close friends. But he didn’t flaunt it, asking questions before telling opinions and offering help before sharing experiences. A listener, he had soaked in an impressive amount of historical knowledge, specializing in the study of nuclear weapons.
Now I remember, like most folks probably, learning that the atomic bombs had forced Japan into surrender and saved the lives of countless American soldiers. What I don’t remember learning is what Ward told me: that Japan had already offered a surrender treaty before that bombings because they knew the Russians would be attacking soon too; or that there had been more “sucessful” attacks before they dropped-both in total destruction and in percentages of a city destroyed-by conventional bombings; or another fact I learned last week from John Carmondy or the Christian Center for Non-violence, that the target used to identify where to drop the bombs in Nagasaki was a Catholic cathedral.
His research has gained credibility, with articles widely published and speaking events at major colleges-including military ones.
But his knowledge and publicity hardly interfered with him being a considerate host. While I turned in for the evening, he was making calls and reading my blog to help me out. Before sleeping though, we mused about the early Christian church and the Romans-and who converted who. However imperfect and militaristic, he appreciated how Rome expanded Christianity. I have no doubt that it helped some people, but admitted my skepticism of a system that at points forced it’s citizen’s to convert. If I have come to believe anything, it’s that Jesus and the early Christians demonstated that an inward spiritual connection with God and love is stronger than even the worst kind of death-crucifiction, torture, lions, ect. Far be it from me to condemn the entire Roman population, again, I’m sure it brought that inward reality to some people who might not have found it otherwise, but the difficulty lies in finding truth on a spiritual level when the emphasis is on external force. It was a frank, thought-provoking conversation, and has given me more to think about.
And thinking I have been, since Ward offered his best wishes and a good chuckle as I disappeared into a New Jersey thunderstorm.
Please share your thoughts on atomic weapons, spirituality, or anything else and in the meantime, you’d probably find some intriguing ideas at Ward’s website: