Anzac Day Remembrance

For some time now I have been trying to work out how to do liturgy that really honours the courage and sacrifice of people who have fought in war, and at the same time speaks to the gospel call to peacemaking witness.

For me, the obvious starting point is that any remembrance has to be themed around the statement ‘never again!’ – nothing else really gets close to honoring the experiences of the utter depravity that soldiers so consistently report.

Anyway, this Anzac Day I had another go. I decided to structure the service around dual symbolic lists – one a litany for the victims of war, the other a calling forth of the spirit of great peacemaking saints. I welcome your thoughts!

Continue reading “Anzac Day Remembrance”

Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace

I received this post about a new journal this week and thought it is worth ‘spreading the word” for both the general reader and those on the list who are interested in academic contributions to peace studies. Hope you find it a useful resource:

Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peacelaunches online scholarly discussion of role of religion in peace.

The online scholarly journal, published by a collaborative of Indiana’s three historic peace colleges,is a forum for discussion of the role of religion in both conflict and peacebuilding.

The premier issue of the Journal features articles by nine major thinkers in theology, ethics, religious studies and conflict transformation.

Readers may access the articles about religion as a source of conflict and as a resource for peace without subscription and distribute them (with attribution and unaltered) freely. A “letters to the editor” feature further encourages dialogue among readers and scholars.

Called to transcend violence

Everything must change

“This peacemaking work was not an expression of defeat or weakness at all, but rather, it required a courageous and confident commitment to transcend violence.”-from Brian McLaren’s “Everything Must Change”

Brian McLaren may be one of the most important voices in mainstreaming Christian nonviolence. His newest book, “Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crisis and a Revolution of Hope” continues his journey and this trajectory pursuing the God of Peace. Brian McLaren has been amazing in his support for ‘Empowering Peacemakers’ (or EPYC) and other initiates for (eco)justice and conflict transformation.Brian McLaren“In my travels around the world, I see a lot to inspire cynicism -including a lot of shabby religious stuff I’d rather not even give examples of. But I also meet people who inspire hope and courage in me -emerging young leaders who “get” Jesus’ message of the kingdom of God, and who are living it and giving it away. They see the integral nature of mission – that it brings together God and humanity, humanity and creation, grace and nature, contemplation and action, evangelism and social justice, faith and politics, the making of disciples and the making of peace. Jarrod McKenna and friends are beautiful examples of this new breed of emerging integral leaders. I thank God for them. May their tribe increase!” Brian McLaren

Don’t miss this ‘Peacemaking Crim’

Ciaron O'Reilly with some of us Peace Tree crewOur mate Ciaron O’Reilly is about to rock Melbourne.

“Ciaron O’Reilly is a devout Brisbane-born Christian pacifist. In a life dedicated to protest, he’s been jailed for disarming warplanes, dismantling uranium mining machinery and performing exorcisms of warships. To some he’s an inspiration, to others a criminal.” (Andrew Denton: Enough Rope June 2006)

Ciaron O'ReillyLast year before Ciaron went on trail and before he was on Andrew Denton’s enough rope our Peace Tree crew with EPYC had him out in Perth stirring things up. He didn’t disappoint. Those who have heard me speak will know that because of my faith I often talk of “conflict transformation”. My inspiring mate Ciaron with a smile will often share his take:

“Some Christian’s are into conflict resolution. As a Christian, I’m into conflict escalation”.

If you’re near Melbourne don’t miss this funny, inspiring, intelligent, controversial, internationally renowned ploughshares activist.

Ciaron and ploughshares activists with Desmond Tutu

*7.30pm Friday August  24th.

Brunswick Baptist Church

491 Sydney Rd. Brusnwick

*7.30pm Tuesday August 28th. 

Cornerstone Contact Centre

Cnr. Walker and Plason st. Dandenong

For more info contact my mates John Jensen or Simon Moyle who are doing fantastic stuff in Melbourne.

sharing the love

Jarrod McKenna on International Peace Pilgrimage 2004Hamo from backyardmissionary.com has bravely invited me to hijack his blog occasionally (click here) with provocations of love, questions of grace and rants of a recovering sinner seeking to relate to myself, my neighbour, my enemy and all of creation with the love I’ve experienced in Jesus… needless to say it’s a work in progress. But I’m praying that the waters of God’s healing love that have gushed into the world through Jesus might start to dribble through the broken cracks of my life.

“Be it in a ghetto in America, a slum in Cambodia, the wonder of the outback, the witness and writings of the early church, with those without a home on the streets of London, Paris or Perth, the internal protests of scrubbing pots in a soup kitchen, Jarrod's wheelsthe external sounds of worship sung in front of riot cops, detention centres for the innocent, maximum security prisons with the guilty, in the smile of a child with a intellectual disability, the hand of the elderly, the face of a murderer, the fist of a cop, the reality of my own sin, the feeling of God’s good earth between your toes in the morning, warm tears of a heart longing for real change, warm tea with a neighbour, the joy of a good dumper scavenge, the laughter of local kids learning their skin is not a curse, the sweet sound of earnest praise accompanied only by creation, prayers of an indigenous elder for the drug dealers in our neighbourhood and the other more ordinary ways that God’s love gets at us. Messes with us. And empowers us to live a little more like Jesus, a little more like the world will be when God’s love finally floods all of creation.”

Carole Powell’s court sentencing statement

Statement given on 2 August 2007

Your honour, before sentencing me I would ask you to take into consideration that I have been working as a nurse for 33 years. A role that helps to heal and save lives. A role where I have seen first hand the devastation reeked on young men who have had their arms and legs blown off by bombs. I have heard them scream in the night at the total horror of it. I have seen the psycho-social and physical effects that war has bought to veterans of WW2, Vietnam and the Gulf War and the impact that has on their families.

I currently work in palliative care where I help people achieve a spiritually and physically pain free death and preserve the dignity of their humanity.

I have friends from Iraq, Sudan and South America who have lost their countries to war.

I am also a catholic Christian – a committed follower of the nonviolent Jesus, a prophet of peace. The same man who on the night of his arrest told the disciples to ‘put away your sword’. The man who said ‘Love your enemies’ and ‘What ever you do unto another you do unto me’. His example of living is an integral part of a Christian life, not an optional extra.

I would ask your honour to bear with me whilst I read a quote form an Italian journal called La Civilta Cattolica written post Persian Gulf War 1991.

War almost never ends war with true peace: it always leaves behind a remnant of hatred and a thirst for revenge, which will explode as soon as the opportunity offers its self. That is why the human story has been a series of unending wars. War initiates a spiral of hatred and violence, which is extremely difficult to stop. War is therefore useless, since it solves no problems, and makes them insoluble. [1]

Bearing that in mind and the fact that I have exhausted all the usual means available to me, writing to politicians – especially the prime minister and the Defence Ministers Robert Hill and Brendan Nelson, participating in street marches, writing letters to newspapers I decided the only way I could now make a difference was to go to the military personnel, human to human, and enter into dialogue with them and invite them into an alternative to being part of war. To use their innumerable skills in more life giving ways.

I would like to ask your honour to consider then that my action was like an ambulance with its sirens on running a red light to save lives. I went there to save lives – which I saw as a moral imperative.

[1] Quoted in John Dear, The God of Peace: Toward a Theology of Nonviolence, Orbis Books,1994

Powerful peace testimonies

The Talisman Sabre wargames sparked some powerful nonviolent protest.

Out of that, two statements testify to the power of faith in nonviolence in a world of near-total war. These could easily be used as opening or closing meditations for Pace e Bene workshops!

1. Imagining Peace – the statement by 5 Christian peace activists about why they walked on to the wargames site.
2. Carole Powell’ s statement to the court on 2/8/07, explaining how she came to be involved in that action.