Re-Baptized Through Liberation

MVSA social media re-post from Mark Van Steenwyk, executive director of The Center for Prophetic Imagination (November 20, 2017):

Any anabaptist theology that isn’t re-baptized through liberation theology reinforces oppression.

Anabaptism, on its own, only makes sense as a religion of the oppressed. Just like the Gospels are unintelligible to the middle and owner classes apart from the experiences of the oppressed.

In other words: Any calls for pacifism, meekness, and simplicity that come insistently from the powerful are attempts to keep the oppressed docile and poor.

Nonviolence must be a tool of the oppressed in their struggle, with the aid and support of repentant allies. Otherwise, in the hands of the powerful it becomes an ideology of oppression.

To be clear: I’m a pacifist. But pacifism and nonviolence must be in service to liberation or they become a force for oppression. If you’re a pacifist that isn’t working alongside (and following the lead of) those who struggle for liberation, then your nonviolence is just the velvet pouch sheathing the hammer of oppression

On Revolution and Equilibrium

indexFeature by Barbara Deming, originally published in Liberation, February 1968

Do you want to remain pure? Is that it?” a black man asked me, during an argument about nonviolence. It is not possible to act at all and to remain pure; and that is not what I want, when I commit myself to the nonviolent discipline. I stand with all who say of present conditions that they do not allow men and women to be fully human and so they must be changed – all who not only say this but are ready to act.

When one is confronted with what Russell Johnson calls accurately “The violence of the status quo” – conditions which are damaging, even murderous, to very many who must live within them – it is degrading for all to allow such conditions to persist. And if the individuals who can find the courage to bring about change see no way in which it can be done without employing violence on their part – a very much lesser violence, they feel, than the violence to which they will put an end – I do not feel that I can judge them. Continue reading

Learning from Laughter and the Trees: Tell Me About Easter, Mommy.

cherry

Photo credit: Erinn Fahey

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

“Tell me about Easter, Mommy.” Oh, Shit. Has that time come already? How to explain resurrection to a three year old? How do I tell my kid that Jesus died and came back to life? How do I explain our most sacred story?

We’ve spent the last year and a half learning about death, holding it sacred, singing songs, holding fish funerals, burying my Grandma Bea, and visiting my mom’s grave. We’ve tried to hold the tension of telling him the truth and also being gentle with his heart paying close attention to any moments of confusion or fear. We made a decision to be honest with him about the very earthly reality of death, something that even adults in our culture try to ignore. Death is a beautiful, ordinary, and hard part of life. Continue reading

Landmark Vatican conference rejects just war theory, asks for encyclical on nonviolence

Bandiera_pace-300x201Update from Rose Berger

I’m pleased to share news of our phenomenal gathering this week in Rome. Please read the article from the National Catholic Reporter (below). We have had a tremendous week. Today we were able to deliver the final document to the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace. Marie Dennis addressed an envelope to Papa Francesco containing the statement and a personal letter and it was placed on Cardinal Turkson’s desk for delivery. Continue reading

Just War, Just Peace, Just Catholic: A Gathering in Rome

Bandiera_pace-300x201.jpgBy Rose Berger

We will be following Rose and posting updates on the blog, but you can also keep up to date on her blog at http://rosemarieberger.com.

Here’s the news. I’m headed to Rome (Italy, not Georgia) on Saturday, for a week to participate in the first-ever Vatican conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence, co-sponsored by Pax Christi International and the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace.

I was asked to contribute a backgrounder paper titled “No Longer Legitimating War: Christians and Just Peace,” which (by the skin of my teeth and lots of help) I did. Continue reading

When Nonviolence Is Preached

coatesFrom TA-NEHISI COATES:

When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is “correct” or “wise,” any more than a forest fire can be “correct” or “wise.” Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.

Berrigan On Nonviolent Revolution

From Daniel Berrigan, priest, peace activist, poet:

One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better.