Jesus’ teachings seem to have been understood rather clearly during the first few hundred years after his death and resurrection. Values like nonparticipation in war, simple living, and love of enemies were common among his early followers. For example, the Didache, written around AD 90, calls readers to “share all things with your brother; and do not say that they are your own. For if you are sharers in what is imperishable, how much more in things which perish.”  At this time, Christianity was countercultural, untouched by empire, rationalization, and compromise.
However, when the imperial edict of AD 313 elevated Christianity to a privileged position in the Roman Empire, the church increasingly accepted, and even defended, the dominant social order, especially concerning war, money, and class. Morality became individualized and largely sexual. Formal Christianity slowly lost its free and alternative vantage point, which is probably why what we now call “religious life” began, and flourished, after 313. People went to the edges of the church and took vows of poverty, living in satellites that became “little churches,” without ever formally leaving the big church. Continue reading “Richard Rohr – A Nonviolent Atonement”
Dr. Mubarak Awad
Amid the smoke, rubble and blood, the idea of nonviolent protest in Gaza seems as preposterous as it is naive.
Indeed, those Palestinians who preached nonviolence and led peaceful marches, boycotts, mass sit-downs and the like are mostly dead, in jail, marginalised or in exile.
Mubarak Awad is one of the latter. Often dubbed “the Palestinian Gandhi” or “Palestinian Martin Luther King Jr,” Awad now teaches the theory and practice of nonviolence at American University in Washington, DC, far from his Jerusalem home.
Israel kicked him out in 1988. Five years earlier, he had opened the doors of the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence in Jerusalem, with the goal of fomenting mass resistance to the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. Do not pay taxes, he lectured. Consume only local goods, like the Indians who followed Gandhi’s movement against British colonial rule. Engage in peaceful protest. Plant olive trees on land coveted by Jewish settlers. Above all, do not pick up the gun. March, and sit down, like civil rights protesters in the American South in the 1960s. Take the beatings, clog up Israeli jails. Continue reading “Mubarak Awad – The ‘Palestinian Gandhi’”
The bold new book from New York Times best-selling author Preston Sprinkle is a tour de force that tackles the topic of violence and how Christians should respond.
In a unique narrative approach, Sprinkle begins by looking at how the story of God as a whole portrays violence and war, drawing conclusions that guide the reader through the rest of the book. With urgency and precision, he navigates hard questions and examines key approaches to violence, driving every answer back to Scripture. Ultimately, Sprinkle challenges the church to “walk in a manner worthy of our calling” and shape our lives on the example of Christ.
Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence is biblically rooted, theologically coherent, and prophetically challenging. It is a defining work that will stir discussions for years to come.
Israeli authorities have announced new demolitions of Palestinian houses built illegally in East Jerusalem.
Building permits are absolutely impossible to obtain by Palestinians, which makes them to build illegally out of despair, something that the Israelis count one, to give them reasons for demolition.
At the same time, Jewish settlers can liberally build their ‘illegal settlements’ (in reality, whole cities, with ugly concrete forms) under the protection of the Israeli Army.
Continue reading “New Israeli demolitions in East Jerusalem”