SERMON: Pilgrimage To Nonviolence by Martin Luther King, Jr.

June 18, 2017

In my senior year in theological seminary, I engaged in the exciting reading of various theological theories.  Having been raised in a rather strict fundamentalist tradition, I was occasionally shocked when my intellectual journey carried me through new and sometimes complex doctrinal lands, but the pilgrimage was always stimulating, gave me a new appreciation for objective appraisal and critical analysis, and knocked me out of my dogmatic slumber. Liberalism provide me with an intellectual satisfaction that I had never found in fundamentalism.  I became so enamored of the insights of liberalism that I almost fell into the trap of accepting uncritically everything it encompassed.  I was absolutely convinced of the natural goodness of [...]

LENTEN MEDITATION: Keeping Watch by Philip Berrigan

March 20, 2017

From: Disciples and Dissidents May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to all: “Watch!” (Mark 13:36-37) I am pondering the passage at Mark 13:36, and my thoughts return to the winter of 1943, to a nineteen-year-old draftee at Camp Gordon, now Fort Gordon, Georgia.  The old Springfield rifle is heavy, the Georgia winters are damp and cold and dark and – Lord, Gawd! – I’ve gotta walk guard for four hours. And do I ever watch!  I watch for the officer of the guard.  If he hears a weak challenge (Halt!  Who goes there?) or finds me forgetful of the password (Geronimo) or hiding or smoking, it’s weekend KP for a month.  The minutes and hours drag agonizingly by.  I’m [...]

CREDO: I Believe by A. J. Muste

November 3, 2016

First of all, I believe in God.  I think it is possible to build a reasoned argument for the existence of God, though there are serious dangers connected with the effort.  It is not on that account, however, that I believe in God but simply because I cannot not believe in him.  He is given in my experience and as the ground of all my experience as surely – more surely – than this hand that I raise before my eyes, this desk that I grasp. This does not mean that I behave consistently, as this belief requires.  God had always been to me at least as much the Demand from which we try to escape – I suppose my Calvinist upbringing may account for that – as he is the Everlasting Rock upon whom we rest, the Redeemer who makes no [...]

PRINCE OF PEACE: Jesus And Nonviolence — A Third Way by Walter Wink

April 14, 2015

From Peace Is the Way: Writings on Nonviolence Many of those who have committed their lives to ending injustice simply dismiss Jesus’s teachings about nonviolence out of hand as impractical idealism.  And with good reason.  “Turn the other cheek” suggests the passive, Christian doormat quality that has made so many Christians cowardly and complicit in the face of injustice.  “Resist not evil” seems to break the back of all opposition to evil and to counsel submission.  “Going the second mile” has become a platitude meaning nothing more than “extend yourself,” and rather than fostering structural change, encourages collaboration with the oppressor. Jesus obviously never behaved in [...]

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: Blessed Are The Meek by Thomas Merton

September 13, 2014

From Faith and Violence It would be a serious mistake to regard Christian nonviolence simply as a novel tactic which is at once efficacious and even edifying, and which enables the sensitive man to participate in the struggles of the world without being dirtied with blood.  Nonviolence is not simply a way of proving one’s point and getting what one wants without being involved in behavior that one considers ugly and evil.  Nor is it, for that matter, a means which anyone can legitimately make use of according to his fancy for any purpose whatever.  To practice nonviolence for a purely selfish or arbitrary end would in fact discredit and distort the truth of nonviolent resistance.  To use nonviolence merely in order to gain [...]

MYSTICISM: Violence And Nonviolence by Dorothee Soelle

September 12, 2014

From Christian Peace And Nonviolence, edited by Michael G. Long It is beyond dispute that a child, even before it begins to write the alphabet and gathers worldly knowledge, should know what the soul is, what truth is, what love is, and what forces are hidden in the soul.  It should be the essence of true education that every child learns this and in the struggle of life be able more readily to overcome hatred by love, falsehood by truth, and violence by taking suffering on oneself. (Gandhi, The Unity of All Living Beings) Mysticism creates a new relation to the three powers that, each in its own totalitarian way, hold us in prison: the ego, possession, and violence.  Mysticism relativizes them, frees us from their spell, and [...]

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 [...]