Written by Matt Guynn and Dean Johnson
Beloved Community as the framework for the future shapes how you see yourself, your beloveds, your organizing comrades, and your opponents. It means that no matter how bad things are in the moment, you have a place to stand and imagine a different future.
For followers of Jesus, the term “Beloved Community” echoes with the message that we are the beloved children of God made in the image of God. Kingian Principle #2 applies that theological truth to all our current and potential relationships. What if each person had that same worth? Faith-based pacifists can see the irreplaceable value of each human life. What if we weave that value into an active commitment to engage systems of oppression and violence? Beloved Community is a place that people experience a profound sense of belonging and worth. And it reaches beyond that circle of belonging to courageously confront harm and injustice.Read more
Written by Kazu Haga
Excerpted with permission from Healing Resistance: A Radically Different Response to Harm (Parallax Press, 2020)
“Nonviolence is for punks." "Nonviolence is weak.” "I'm not gonna be nonviolent and back down.” “I'm not gonna just sit there and let someone abuse me." These are all common things I hear in my work, and they are all rooted in a misunderstanding of nonviolence.
The misunderstanding lies in the difference between “non-violence" and "nonviolence.” “Non-violence” is essentially two words: “without” and “violence.” As long as I am “not being violent,” I am practicing non-hyphen-violence. Nonviolence is not about what not to do. It is about what you are going to do about violence and injustice in our own hearts, our homes, our neighborhoods, and society at large. It is about taking a proactive stand against violence and injustice. Nonviolence is about action, not inaction.Read more
Written by Sherrilynn Bevel, PhD
In the context of nonviolence, what does it mean to offer one’s self? To willingly relinquish privacy; personal security; to risk injury or arrest? In some circumstances, to risk death?
Nonviolence is a rejection of the idea that violence and murder can resolve social problems. Violence is a means of trying to bend people to your will, but it does a poor job of creating real peace and a reconciled community. At best, violence aims for the submission of the opponent. Agape means advocating for the health, interests, rights, and needs of everyone, without exception to the rule. We can abandon agapic love, but this merely escalates exploitation, hatred, murder, intimidation, etc.
Dr. King wrote, “I realized that there were two ways that I could respond to my situation: either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” King chose the path of healing and educating all of the people, instead of plotting the demise of some.Read more
Written by Dr. Mary Lou Finley
Sometimes we describe this principle as ”Attack problems, not people.” I find that those are the words that more easily get through to my heart.
When things go wrong, when we see evil or injustice being committed, we may sometimes feel like striking back at the person who is committing that injustice. Sometimes, we hear others call for “justice” against that wrongdoer---meaning punish him or her. And yet, where does that take us? Not as far as we might think.
Instead, we need to find a way to attack the “forces of evil” - the root causes of what has gone wrong. Otherwise, injustice is likely to just keep rearing its head in new forms.Read more
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