March 12, 2013

Getting practical about resisting violence

I've been told that once when Stanley Hauerwas was asked why he was a pacifist he responded, "Because I'm a mean son-of-a-bitch from Texas." Pacifism, it seems for Hauerwas and certainly for me, is confessional. What I mean by this is that, for me, subscribing to nonviolence is admitting to be a sinner, to my capacity to do physical harm and making a conscious choice to resist it. This isn't intended to come across as abstract ideology. My path towards nonviolence is through my reading of the Gospels and observing how Jesus responds to violence. In his narrative, nonviolence is the furthest thing from abstract. It's palpably practical.

The gun debate functions too often in the abstract, in the kind of "What would you do if..." questions that John H. Yoder well refuted. It needs to be practical. Most of us don't hope for violence. Yet, practical solutions are rare in the public square, which tends to glamorize violence. That's why I'm looking forward to this event coming up at the National Cathedral. On Thursday, several leaders will be discussing practical solutions to gun violence. My boss, the Bishop Mariann Budde, will facilitate the conversation. Afterwards, several of us will be over at 2Amys down the street for beer, pizza and further discussion.

Come and join us!

NOTE: For some more practical, thought-provoking words on nonviolence check out this article by my former professor, Glen Stassen.

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