There’s a section on contrarianism in the Michael Ignatieff essay I shared the other day. It stood out to me for a few reasons: I’d already created a draft of this post, which included only the title. I’d created that draft because it occurred to me that that’s what I feel like I’m engaged in sometimes—contrarian diplomacy. I don’t accept popular belief on its face. Nor do I feel like I’m on anyone’s team, which makes me feel like I’m on everyone’s team. This often places me in the middle of opposing sides, understanding where they’re both coming from, seeing that they either don’t understand or don’t want to understand where the other side is coming from, and wanting very much to reconcile that difference. Clearly I’m no diplomat, and maybe “mediator” or “peacekeeper” would be better word choices here. So feel free to go with those if you’d like. Whatever you choose, I’m also very aware that my peacekeeping missions are in large part fool’s errands. But so be it. Because they are also in large part personally and spiritually motivated, at least as much about peace within as peace without.