MJ Sharp in the middle with Sarah Thompson and CPTer Jonathan Brenneman
By Sarah Thompson and Tim Nafziger, Written for Sojourners Magazine.
3 July 2017, CPT International Reflection
Michael J. Sharp was a close friend. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) he was a Mennonite witness, scholar and peacemaker. Over five years, first with Mennonite Central Committee and then with the United Nations (UN) group of experts, he cultivated relationships of trust and respect with people who were experiencing dreadful violence, exploitation because of government corruption, and the oppressive impact of generations of corporate-colonial resource extraction. His teamwork there included demobilizing armed groups, investigating human rights abuses, and reporting to the UN Security Council towards their goal of creating the conditions for peace in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Continue reading
From late Fuller Seminary professor Dr. Jaymes Morgan, in a talk to college students at Southern California’s Forest Home on September 2, 1968:
We claim to represent someone who exhausted his life with publicans and sinners, healing the sick and feeding the hungry. Our churches attract the people Jesus alienated and alienate the people Jesus attracted. This should be our first clue that something is wrong. We must affirm ourselves as called of God to meet human need. To restore broken relationships with God. To restore broken relationships with people. To save men [sic] from hunger, disease and poverty and a thousand miscarriages of justice. We have attracted an awful lot of people into the church under false pretenses. No wonder they don’t look like Christians. They didn’t have the terms explained to them at the beginning.
From the late Fr. John Main in The Present Christ: Further Steps in Meditation (1987):
Meditation is pure action that purifies all our other activities. It is pure because it is selfless, wholly other-centered. Most of our activities, our hopes and plans are carried out with a predominant concern for results, for their material worthwhileness. At its worst this concern is mere self-interest, egoism at its most intense. But any concern for results, for the fruit of action, betrays a possessiveness or attachment which disturbs the harmony of the energies deployed in the activity. In meditating day by day, however, humbly and ordinarily, beginning our pilgrimage at the point we have received the gift of faith to begin, wherever that may be, we set out into the mystery of selfless, other-centered activity. We may indeed begin meditating with a superficial concern for results, trying to estimate if our investment of time and energy is justified by returns in knowledge or ‘extraordinary’ experience. Perhaps anyone formed by our society is conditioned to begin in this way. But the ordinary practice of meditation purifies us of this spiritual materialism, as we enter into the direct experience of Being, of pure action, we find all our other activities progressively, radically, purified of egoism. To put this more simply–because meditation leads us into the experience ofl love at the center of our being, it makes us in our ordinary lives and relationships more loving persons. Meditation teaches us what theology alone found not convince us of, that Being is Love.
From Martin Luther King in his last book, The Trumpet of Conscience:
Nonviolent protest must now mature to a new level to correspond to heightened black impatience and stiffened white resistance. This higher level is mass civil disobedience. There must be more than a statement to a larger society. There must be a force that interrupts its functioning at some key points.