Angie O’Gorman wowing audiences

From Brisbane to Ballina, Lismore to Byron Bay,  lecturer, author and practitioner of active nonviolence, Angie O’Gorman is wowing audiences where ever she goes.  Sharing ancient mythology creation story and modern understandings of scriptural text have people  excitedly seeking and deepening their own jouney into the sprituality of nonviolence. One of many highlights for a woman of the Ba’Hai tradition at the interfaith dialogue in Brisbane was for the first time hearing what Jesus really meant when he told people to turn the other cheek. This is the same experience for many christian partcipants who find them selves asking ‘why aren’t we hearing this from the pulpit?’

Angie is helping us to understand the need for our own disarmament and place of centering and to understand what real power is and how we can create and use that in our own lives. She manges to do all of this  with strength, sensitivity, compassion and a great sense of humour.

Pace e Bene Australia has shared Angie’s own personal story of a nonviolent response to personal assault for many years and it has certainly been a blessing to have her as our Inspirator for 2009. Audiences in Sth. Australia and Victoria have a lot to look forward to.

Talisman Sabre 2009

As many as 30,000 US and Australian defence force personal are currently ‘playing war games’ in our backyard and they are under the command of the US military. They are practising games of mass destruction on land, sea and air. Their future targets will be in Afghanistan and Pakistan and probably any where else that becomes the next labelled enemy of the ‘free’ world. Many of these targets will  be the innocent children, families and elderly who have no where to flee. Yes the military will be sorry for the collateral damage, but not sorry enough to find a different way to deal with conflict.

Here in Queensland live firing, and bombing will take place in the tranquil waters and bush of  Shoalwater Bay . Members of Pace e Bene Australia, Simon Moyle and Jarrod McKenna, plus other long time peace activists have gone to Shoalwater Bay to stop these exercises. They risk physical harm and imprisonment for their actions. These modern prophets of peace are formed by their belief in a God of nonviolence and compassion and the exemplary life of Jesus. Each of these men and women are also influenced by the lives of other great prophets for peace. I for one will look forward to hearing  their stories of courage as they do their part to stop these ‘war games’ and bring about the kin dom of God.

I know from todays ABC radio news that they managed to stop 5 trucks from entering the training grounds. Jim Dowling and Ciaron O’Reilley were arrested for nonviolent resistance and will face court on Thursday. I pray for their safety and well being and thank them for their loving witness.

UN International Day of Peace

Yesterday was the International Day of Peace and I was out like many others trying to create a more peace filled world.  I wonder to my self at times if any thing I do makes any difference. But participation in events to celebrate this day are growing. Last night I was heartened to recieve an email that reported the following news. The UN said guns fell silent across Afghanistan on Sunday for an international peace day that saw pledges by the U.S., NATO, Afghan government and the Taliban halt attacks. The U.N. said tens of thousands of international and Afghan soldiers as well as Taliban “all stood down from offensive military operations in support of the biggest International Peace day effort that Afghanistan has known. Cut and paste link for full article  

So maybe one day a year will become many days a year until we have forgotten just what it is to make war on each other.

Pilgrimage to USA

I have recently returned from my months’pilgimage’ to the US, to places that i consider Holy Places. My first ten days were spent at the Los Angeles Catholic Worker House. LACW has been present in East LA for 30yrs serving the most disadvantaged of God’s sons and daughters on Skid Row in downtown LA. The soup kitchen is affectionately known as The Hippie Kitchen and offers hospitality , a hot meal, a “ready smile and no preachin” 3 days a week. The current kitchen replaces the original which was destroyed by the last massive earthquake to hit California. A mural adorns the front wall and depicts Jesus in the Bread Queue. Its a powerful picture and i bear witness to volunteers serving the Jesus that exists in all people. Skid row is under siege from Gentrefication and a clean up programme to keep LA’s street ‘safe’. The residents of this area are constantly moved on, signs are every where to remind them that at no time will they gather in the streets or rest their  weary bones. Their possessions are seized and destroyed. The police operate undercover stings and entrap people into procurring drugs. The prisons overflow with the meek and poor for such crimes as J walking and failing to pay fines. For a brief time the kitchen  garden with  shady trees, garden beds, picnic tables, mosaic murals and a water feature offers  a place of eqaulity, respect and respite. A time to feel human and be treated as a human. A place to connect with friends, have a laugh, discuss politics or just sleep for a while.

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From Violence to Wholeness in Brisbane

From Violence to Wholeness Workshop – a one day experiential introduction to the spirituality and practice of active nonviolence where together we learn to practice and experiment with the power of creative nonviolence, to transform our lives and our world (see a detailed introduction here).

Facilitated by Carole Powell PeBA, who recently had the joy of co-facilitating From Violence to Wholeness Workshops in the Solomon Islands.

Date: Sat. September 6th 2008 9am-5pm

Venue: Uniting Church Centre, 60 Bayliss St, Auchenflower (walking distance from Auch station).

Cost: $75 including lunch and morning and afternoon tea.

For bookings please contact:
Rev Rob Bos, Pilgrim Learning Community, Uniting Church Centre, GPO Box 674, Brisbane Qld 4001, phone (07) 3377 9724, email