On the Road to Peace: This breakthrough book uses graphs, research and statistical analysis to show how nonviolence is more effective than violence.
On the Road to Peace
On the Road to Peace is a column on nonviolence from Jesuit Fr. John Dear, a peace activist and the author of more than 20 books.
On the Road to Peace: A group of young Afghan peacemakers has a vision for the future of their war-ravaged country.
On Nov. 6, Californians have the opportunity to vote to end the death penalty, an opportunity Jesuit Fr. John Dear wholeheartedly supports.
If you looked carefully at the news last week, you might have heard a report from Afghanistan about how the U.S./NATO forces bombed and killed eight Afghan women who were out walking in the mountains early in the morning before dawn to collect wood. Eight other women were seriously injured.
But you probably didn't hear that story. Who cares about the death of eight Afghan women from our bombs?
It's hard to handle the profound challenges of Gospel nonviolence, especially when they stand in such stark contrast to our culture, our country, our world, even our church. That's why this new collection of essays, A Faith Not Worth Fighting For: Addressing Commonly Asked Questions about Christian Nonviolence (edited by Tripp York and Justin Bronson Barringer, Cascade Books/Wipf and Stock Pub., 2012, with a foreword by Stanley Hauerwas and an afterword by Shane Claiborne), is such an important book for these painful times.
For the last three weeks, I've been traveling through Scotland and England on a national speaking tour about Jesus and peacemaking. This is the second half of my journal account. Read the first part here.
Monday, Sept. 3, Birmingham, England
Tonight, I spoke at St. Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham's City Centre. "How can we keep on speaking about peace even though we are so widely dismissed by people and ignored by the mainstream media and culture?" someone asked. "How do we communicate with people in the military?" another asked. In my talk about Jesus and peacemaking, I urged people to speak out, to be prophetic voices on behalf of the God of peace, to denounce our war in Afghanistan and pursue the Gospel vision of peace -- and to be faithful to the task at hand, no matter what the outcome. We leave the results in God's hands.
This week, I'm traveling through Scotland and England on a national speaking tour about Jesus and peacemaking. Here is a little journal account of the first half of my journey. Next week, I'll post the second half.
This year, my summer reading included Carolyn Maull McKinstry's memoir, While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age During the Civil Rights Movement (Tyndale, 2011, 301 pp., with Denise George), which I picked up at the Civil Rights Institute on a recent visit to Birmingham, Ala. I was profoundly moved by her story about the infamous Sept. 15, 1963, Ku Klux Klan bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, which killed her four girlfriends. She tells of the long aftermath of pain, grief and resentment that led to her astonishing turn toward forgiveness and universal love. Carolyn McKinstry, I believe, is a rare Gospel witness of truth and love, and I highly recommend her book.
Last month's movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., was another wake-up call for our gun-crazy, violent nation. We grieve for the dead and wounded and join with others in a demand handgun reform, but what we need is a fundamental change among us all. This ongoing horrific violence and the daily violence we read about summon us to make a principled turn from violence to nonviolence. Every one of us, and every sector of society, needs to make that turn. Without our conversion to nonviolence, we will be forever stuck in the ancient mindlessness and downward spiral of violence. But we need not be stuck. We can choose to be nonviolent people.
The future of war was on display last week at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. There, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International showed and sold the latest weapons of death -- drones, those unmanned fighter bombers currently used by the Obama administration to bomb children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen. It was like a big, happy, drunken party for death. Fortunately, peacemakers took notice and held vigil and did what they could to call for the abolition of drones and war itself.