Journey Into Restorative Justice

ElaineBy Elaine Enns

* This article appeared in Rock! Paper! Scissors! Tools for Anarchist + Christian Thought and Action (Vol I, No. 3). Check out the entire issue for more passionate and in depth writing like this. 

Exactly one hundred years ago as I write, during Christmas 1918, in the community of Osterwick, Ukraine, my maternal grandmother Margreta survived a two-week home invasion—one episode in what one historian called “a continuous climate of violence, plundering, rape, mass killing and extensive bloodbaths” endured by Mennonites (and others) during the Russian Civil War from 1917-1921. The men of the house had fled into the forest while thirteen-year-old Margreta and her older sister and girl cousins had been hidden in the attic. My great-grandmother Anna fed and bandaged the wounds of rough, demanding peasant soldiers in the rooms below, trying to respond to violence with courage and hospitality. It is difficult to believe that she escaped sexual violation, as claimed by family stories passed down; my studies with descendants of other Mennonite women who experienced similar depredations suggests their stories were lost, silenced, or suppressed. Still, Anna’s non-violent actions may have warded off the worst. Some months later, for example, her sister and three relatives were brutally murdered in their basement, and Margreta would lose more family members and friends in the following years. So my grandmother experienced severe trauma yet also witnessed her mother’s profound trust in God and in her religious tradition of nonresistance.

Click HERE to read the rest of Elaine’s piece at Rock! Paper! Scissors!

Elaine Enns, DMin, a Canadian Mennonite, is an educator, writer, facilitator and trainer in conflict transformation. She focuses on how restorative justice applies to historical violations, including issues of intergenerational trauma and healing. ​Elaine has been working in the field of restorative justice since 1989.  For the first 15 years of her career, she was part of the pioneering generation of contemporary restorative justice practitioners whose focus was on the Criminal Justice System. Elaine facilitated victim-offender dialogues, provided training and worked to apply restorative justice principles and theory to conflict issues in schools, communities and churches.  Born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, she lives in Oak View, CA, where she is co-director of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries (www.bcm-net.org).

Ray, Janay & Restorative Justice In A Culture of Violence?

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy…Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Martin Luther King, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967)
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By Tom Airey, Co-Editor of RadicalDiscipleship.Net & Lindsay Airey, MFT

Mainstream media outlets have homed in on the subject of domestic abuse in the wake of the release of the video of pro football player Ray Rice literally knocking out his fiance (now wife) back in Febuary.   Continue reading

A Revaluation Of Everything

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
II Corinthians 5:16-17

Below, we excerpt the work of Ched Myers & Elaine Enns, critically reflecting on II Corinthians 5:16-17 in Ambassadors of Reconciliation, Volume I: New Testament Reflections on Restorative Justice & Peacemaking (2009). Continue reading