Healing Your Heart of Trench Warfare / Spiritual Meditations

The most destructive trenches and foxholes are not necessarily in the war-torn regions of the world. At least those trenches are visible. The most destructive trenches and foxholes are the invisible ones we silently dig in our own hearts and minds.

This is where the trench warfare begins that tears apart relationships, families, churches, communities, and the world. Here we dig defensive lines against science or religion, against conservatives or liberals, against feminists or patriarchs, as the case may be. Here we dig defensive lines against people who bring up our childhood wounds or the other baggage which we refuse to acknowledge and so project outside ourselves. Here we dig defensive lines against illegal immigrants. And the list goes on.

More on this topic can be found in:

How do You Feel About Foreigners?

Your Unity with “the Least of These.”

One of the primary functions of the Gospel is to fill in these trenches and call a cease fire. Jesus’ parables most often address our mental and emotional state—our underlying value system, biases, and prejudices.

More on this topic can be found in:

Reversing the Little Known Causes of Prejudice

But the trenches in our hearts and minds are dug so deep and have such a long history in our family of origins and culture that sometimes the Gospel isn’t enough to fill in the trenches or to call a permanent ceasefire. When trenches have been dug in our early childhood and reinforced by cultural scripting over and over for decades, dismantling them requires varied means.

The Gospels are an excellent start on the road to integration, wholeness and dismantling self-serving cultural paradigms. Yet to call a permanent cease fire between dualistic factions within, we need as many tools as possible. A combination of the Gospels, the root mystic theology of the early church, and spiritual practice can keep our minds and hearts open and supple. The combination has the greatest potential to vanquish the trenches for good and to slowly pry the implements of war from our hands one finger at a time.

The Gospels are an antidote to individualism and prejudice. Silent prayer is an antidote to relentless activity and addictive processes. The duality of Jesus incarnation (Divine and human) is an antidote to dualistic thought and absolutism. Combined these three-spawn brilliant synthetic genius, which can sift through even the most subtle divisive thoughts in our minds and the most calcified cells in our bodies, churches, and society.

To heal the divide requires shedding ego enough to hear and absorb the brutally honest truths about ourselves. It requires radical humility. It also requires the courage to “speak the truth to love” (Ephesians 4: 15), not only to ourselves, but to our loved ones, and to our communities.

More on this topic can be found in:

Mature Spirituality Inspires Your Involvement

On this path, Jesus is the great healer, where Spirit guides us generation after generation, who calls us to a “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18), who has the power to heal the divisions wherever they exist.

Holistic consciousness and the seeds of reconciliation begin in our minds but the compulsion towards violence is deep in our mammalian brain. It is there that we wrestle in the trenches. It is there that the trenches are filled in or reinforced according to our choices… “let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Another way of putting this: let the violence end with me. What does this mean? It means we acknowledge that the offender and offended have equal parts in a conflict. If we are the offender, we ask forgiveness. If we are the offended, we grant forgiveness. We don’t take sides. This requires inner strength and deep integrity.


If through prayer and insight we can behold hidden wholeness, the Holy Communion reaches beyond sanctuary rites, beyond the confines of the senses and even science. Then we reach past the divisions and trenches to the summit. In the end the transfigured Jesus, whose light shines in the countless prayer rooms in cities and towns, takes our breath away and fills us with new wine. Jesus, transformed at Tabor, gives us what we’re striving for—the spiritual food that satisfies the depths of our souls (Matthew 17: 1-9, Mark 9: 2-8, Luke 9: 28-36).

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Relevant Scripture

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:15)

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (2 Corinthians 5:18)

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. (Mark 9:2-8)


Healing the Divide; Recovering Christianity’s Mystic Roots by Amos Smith

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