John Dear

PEACE: Imagining God, by John Dear

November 12, 2015

From Living Peace Part One The culture of violence would have us believe that just as we are violent, God must also be violent.  It portrays God as vengeful, waiting to throw us into the eternal fires of hell.  Such a god must surely justify and bless our wars.  Instead of God the peacemaker, we have been taught to believe in god the warmaker.  Since we were children, we have been presented with these false images of God.  This fearful figure still lingers in the back of our minds. Because of this, many reject God.  Who would want anything to do with such a terrifying prospect of “divine violence”? The Bible is filled with images of a violent god.  From the wrathful god who orders the rains to flood the Earth and kill [...]

PEACE: Saturday, November 16, 1996 by John Dear

August 7, 2015

From The Sound of Listening The clear blue sky shines brightly across West Virginia and Kentucky as I make my way to the hidden hills near Bardstown.  I get lost driving along the country roads when suddenly the large, white monastery appears on my left.  I see the lower, dark grey wall, a remnant of the original cloister, and the dark pointed church bell tower with the cross on top.  I pull up to the front entrance and take a deep breath. Today marks the seventh anniversary of the assassination of six Jesuits and their coworkers, Elba and Celina Ramos, at the Jesuit University in San Salvador, El Salvador.  I remember visiting with them throughout the summer of 1985, when I had gone to work in a church-sponsored refugee camp in El [...]

REFLECTION: Jesus, the Prince of Peace, by John Dear

April 16, 2015

From John Dear on Peace For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7) Today there are so many areas of injustice it’s hard to know where to begin.  Racism, sexism, poverty, and oppression flourish around the world.  We cannot personally solve every injustice, but we can’t just sit back and allow injustice to continue. [...]

TERRORISM: Compassion And Nonviolence From New York To Afghanistan by John Dear

December 9, 2014

From Christian Peace and Nonviolence Reflections after September 11th Like thousands of other New Yorkers, I started volunteering immediately after the World Trade Center disaster.  Within a few days, the Red Cross asked me to help coordinate the chaplain program at the Family Assistance Center, the site run by the government and the Red Cross for families. I’ve been working there ever since.  These past few weeks, I have met some 1,500 grieving family members, police officers, and firefighters. All we can do is stand with them in their grief, share their pain, listen, hold them, pray with them, encourage, and bless them. I remember the Long Island Catholic man who came to turn in DNA evidence only to discover his missing [...]

SATURDAY READING: Jesus, The Model Of Nonviolence by John Dear

July 5, 2014

From Disarming the Heart  Imagine the scene.  Jesus is preaching in a crowded synagogue on the Sabbath.  Suddenly he notices, sitting way in the back, a man with a withered hand.  Jesus stops.  He calls out to the man, “Stand up!  Come out here in the middle.” The poor man stands up and comes up front to the middle near Jesus where he can be seen by everyone.  Looking around the room, Jesus asks, “Is it against the law on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil?  To save life or to kill?” No one answers. Jesus then says to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” The man obeys.  He is healed. The religious authorities are shocked.  Their worship service has been disrupted.  A poor, marginalized person has been placed in the [...]