Encircle Them With Energetic Encouragement

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An important message about dismantling white supremacy in Charlottesville, VA tomorrow (right: flyer for the event).  From Sarah Thompson, the executive director of Christian Peacemaker Teams:

First and foremost I want to send love to you all.

Thank you for who you are and the work that you are doing in the world.

It is important. You are courageous. Now is the time to grow our souls.

Please read on.

This weekend, a racist rally is taking place in Charlottesville, Virginia called “Unite the Right.” You can read about it online (poster attached). This article by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors “hate groups and other extremists,” warns that the rally could be “the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.” The convergence of alt-right folks has been emboldened by the national administration, and they do have a sense of their world falling apart. They chose Charlottesville to rally after that city’s vote to remove the Confederate statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Their goal is to bring white people on the right wing together, out from the shadow of the internet, so they can cultivate real relationships and craft a palatable platform to build more political power. The images they chose for the rally draw from Nazi-era propoganda. Continue reading “Encircle Them With Energetic Encouragement”

We Must Not Respond with Fire & Fury

SueFrom a Facebook post today from Rev. Sue Park-Hur of ReconciliAsian

Friends, no matter where you stand regarding North Korea, we must not respond with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Even without nuclear weapons, over 11 million people will die in North and South Korea within hours if there are missile strikes. Please take a moment to pray for the Korean Peninsula. Pray also for the leaders of NK and the US that they would take the path of peace, not annihilation. #NoFireNoFuryNoWar

Types of Violence

AOR2Current events make these  excerpts from Elaine Enns & Ched Myers’ Ambassadors of Reconciliation, Volume II (2009) all the more relevant:

In Spiral of Violence (1971), the Brazilian liberation theologian Dom Helder Camara explained that various forms of violence plaguing communities of the poor—from addiction and crime to rioting and guerilla warfare—were all reactions to fundamental experiences of injustice and violation.   He called these “Violence #1”…Typically, the conditions of Violence #1 are woven into the fabric of society, and thus widely accepted as “normal,” “inevitable” or “beyond our capacity to change.” But human beings sooner or later react to violation, Camara argued. Continue reading “Types of Violence”

Sermon: Nonviolence;“Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of a neighbor” vs “Do not resist the evildoer” and “turn the other cheek”

roseBy Rose Berger
January 10, 2017, Sojourners Chapel

Leviticus 19:15-18; Matthew 5:38-48; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24

Thank you to Karen and the Chapel Committee for inviting me.

Usually when I preach I like to do a deep dive into scripture that unlocks scripture’s liberating power on us here at Sojourners.

But today we’ll take a different direction. I was asked to speak specifically about the conference I attended in Rome last year on Nonviolence and Just Peace. Continue reading “Sermon: Nonviolence;“Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of a neighbor” vs “Do not resist the evildoer” and “turn the other cheek””

Catholic Nonviolence Initiative

VaticanFrom Ched Myers, who is working with one of the follow up committees working to draft material to give to the Pope in hopes he will issue an encyclical on nonviolence (re-posted from NonviolenceJustPeace.Net):

The following statement, crafted in a consensus process, was released at the end of the Nonviolence and Just Peace conference in Rome, April 2016. We invite individuals and organizations to endorse this statement using the form below. More than 2,000 individuals and organizations have endorsed as of April 2017. Continue reading “Catholic Nonviolence Initiative”

We don’t have to soldier on; grief is part of Christian peacemaking.

Sarah MJ and Jonathan Brenneman
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 “We don’t have to soldier on; grief is part of Christian peacemaking.”

Press Release: US Peace Delegation: “Nuclear Weapons Out of Germany.”

Nukewatch-LogoFor the first time in a long-standing campaign to remove US nuclear weapons from Germany, a delegation of US peace activists will participate in protests at the Büchel Air Base, in west-central Germany, July 12 to 18, demanding the withdrawal of the last 20 US H-bombs still deployed there. Notable among the 11-person delegation are seven participants who have served a combined total of 36 years in US jails and prisons for protest actions taken against nuclear weapons programs and the war system. Continue reading “Press Release: US Peace Delegation: “Nuclear Weapons Out of Germany.””

What Will It Take to Ban the Bomb?

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A “ban the bomb” sign outside of the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

By Frida Berrigan, re-posted from Waging Nonviolence

When I was a young teenager, I would venture down to the basement where my father had his desk. He’d be plugging away at letter writing, or working on a talk or article. I’d wait quietly by his side for a few minutes before interrupting him to say goodbye, on my way to the movies or to meet up with friends.

He’d look at me with bright blue eyes and say something to the effect of: “You know what time it is, Freeds?” Continue reading “What Will It Take to Ban the Bomb?”

Conflicting Memorials: The Lord’s Table of Remembrance vs. The Nation’s Vow of Preeminence

Ken SehestedBy Ken Sehested

My earliest memory of Memorial Day is of my Dad, puttering in his garage shop (he was a mechanic and jack-of-all-trades fixer-upper) on a rare day off from work, listing to the Indianapolis 500 car race on a portable radio. On one of those occasions I remember using a hammer, and the concrete garage floor, helping him straighten nails for reuse.

Both my parents were children of the Depression. Thrift was a primal virtue even when it was no longer a necessity.

I have no doubt Dad would silently recall some of his war-time experience while enduring the monotony of listening to race cars doing 200 laps around an oval track at speeds in excess of 200 mph. He managed to survive being in the first wave of troops landing at Omaha Beach in the 1944 D-Day invasion of Europe, though I can remember only once in my life when he talked about those days. I was an adult before I knew he carried a bit of 88mm German artillery shrapnel, bone-embedded, behind his right ear.
Continue reading “Conflicting Memorials: The Lord’s Table of Remembrance vs. The Nation’s Vow of Preeminence”

Para Todos

Cop CameraA charge before “An Interfaith Day of Prophetic Action,” a protest in downtown Los Angeles (04.13.2017) over recent actions by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents:

We will be sanctuary for all.
No exceptions.
Not one more.
No more separating families.
Para Todos.
This is just the beginning.
There will be a next one until justice prevails.
An organized community is a secure community.
We will abide by the principles of nonviolent resistance.
We will stay focused.
We will stay in prayer.
We will stay in the radical love of God.