As I prepare to head across the world this next weekend amidst enormously increased tension and security everywhere, I listened to the President speak.  All week I’ve been observing the ratcheting tension in Chicago and feeling the heat of the most recent mass attack in California.

The worlds on fire.

As he spoke, my heart ached.  I wondered if anyone else noticed how normal agreeing to / aspiring to killing others has become.  I sat stunned for far too long.

I couldn’t help think of one of my favorite human’s on the planet, Father John Dear, who has dedicated his entire life to nonviolence and who changed my world view profoundly one weekend when we found ourselves together in a  conference where almost nobody showed up, creating 3 days of the most intimate and deep conversation I’ve ever had with a man of faith.

I pulled one of his books out tonight to remind me of that weekend and his wisdom:

No Killing Allowed for the Followers of Jesus

“Put your sword back! These are the last words — a definitive rebuke — the disciples hear from Jesus before they run away. If ever there was a moment in God’s eyes when violence would be justifiable, this is it! But Jesus is clear: Put your sword back! His followers are not allowed to respond with violence. They are not allowed to kill. They are not allowed to harm others. They are not allowed to threaten others. They are not permitted to ‘deter’ violent crime with the use of violence.

“Why? Because all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Violence begets violence. Killing begets killing. Nukes beget more nukes. Death begets death. Jesus, the incarnation of the God of nonviolence, stands for life. He will not succumb to the way of violence. Although he knows that he will perish under the cross’s violence, he places his hope in the God of Life and awaits the third day.”
Jesus the Rebel : Bearer of God’s Peace and Justice By John Dear