by Matt Guynn
Director of Nonviolent Social Change, On Earth Peace
(Note: Nick Mele, Pax Christi USA National Council member, attended the “Christian Peace Circle: People Get Ready,” at Seattle University, a gathering of 50 peace leaders from Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Evangelical traditions, in April. Several other Pax Christi representatives were on-hand. Nick thought people might enjoy this blog post from one of the participants.)
The statue is called Gratia Plena – “Full of Grace” – and it pours out the milk of grace and possibility in the St Ignatius Chapel at Seattle University, where fifty leaders from Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Evangelical traditions, and a broad variety of peace organizations and networks, worshiped together last week when gathered for “Christian Peace Circle: People Get Ready,” an ecumenical gathering at Seattle University in Seattle, Washington.
For those non-Catholics in our reading audience, “Full of Grace” is the second phrase of the prayer known as the Hail Mary. As Mary poured out praise and gave birth to Christ, it seems that a new coalescence around the Christian peace testimony is occurring in our times, though gradually and slowly.
In one of the keynote addresses of the gathering, Michael Kinnamon, the former head of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, traced the last sixty years, during which an emerging convergence of churches – at least in their statements! – have broadly affirmed the following key points…
One thought on “REFLECTION: From the Christian Peace Circle gathering in Seattle”
If you’re truly opposed to “violence in all forms”, then why do you collude with the violence of the State, by begging the State, via the U.S. Senate, to enFORCE laws you wish passed? Laws are enforced with firearms, and you are asking that violence be used to enFORCE your religious ideals onto your neighbors.
(If your “common sense” Laws you ask to be enFORCED call for completely disarming police and the military so that they too cannot use any violence, then I will offer my apologies for misunderstanding your position.)
State society (agricultural civilization) is inherently violent, because there are fields of grain to defend. We humans can no longer hunt and gather a free lunch off the land, as Non-State society did. Anthropologists are well aware of the rise in violence at the dawn of agricultural civilization, a sampling follows:
“…we chose the latter [agriculture] and ended up with starvation, warfare, and tyranny.” ~Jared Diamond (May 1987) Agriculture: The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race. Discover Magazine. pp. 64-66.
“Agriculture creates government.” ~Richard Manning (2005) Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization, p. 73
For 8000 brutal years, State society has maintained, as anthropologists call it, “a monopoly of violence.”
America is exceptional, (save for Switzerland, whose citizen-soldier model inspired the Second Amendment,) because its Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights calls for the primary tool of violence—firearms—necessary to defend our agricultural food sources, and other resources, to be distributed equally amongst ALL citizens, instead of concentrated those firearms into a few ruling class’ hands.
In short, the 2A embodies Egalitarian Power-Sharing.
Jesus taught against concentration of power, and advocated for Egalitarian Power Sharing, in Mark 10:42-43.
But I cannot see him colluding with the Roman Empire to disarm the Hebrews and purify their hearts via the violence of the State. Didn’t Jesus resist such Temptation of State power as offered from Satan?