Christian Peacemaking Teams: An alternative to joining the military

Christian Peacemaking Teams: An alternative to joining the military

Are you a Christian who has been offered a deal to join the military in your country?

One of the alternatives that exists is Christian Peacemaking Teams (CPT), an organization that calls for active, non-violent peacemaking action.

Among the work done by CPT are peaceful demonstrations, inter-army dialogues, supporting communities whose existence is in danger, and training for people in violent zones in alternatives to warfare as a way of solving problems.
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_Not Worth Fighting For_ Review: Part 9

Chapter 8 addressed the violence in the Old Testament and how we reconcile that with Christian nonviolence.

Chapter 9 deals with a single passage that gets abused quite a bit: “Let Every Soul be Subject”.  Lee Camp tackles what this passage means in context, instead of in the absurd isolation in which it is often quoted, violently ripped from God’s word in order to serve agendas of violence.

If you read the entire passage of Romans 13, you realize that this one phrase was never meant to be a military mantra.  We are to “present [our] bodies as living sacrifices” before God, and commanded not to “conform to the age” (often translated “the world”).  Since we are a new creation, we live according to a new age.  So whatever authorities we are under, they’re not ours.
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_Not Worth Fighting For_ Review: Part 1

When you think of people who believe in nonviolence, what image comes to mind?  Is it someone you find distaste in?  Is something about them other than their commitment making you dislike them?  Now picture someone who is like you or someone you admire in every way.  Then imagine them truly believing in nonviolence.  Would you call them a sissy?  Coward?

In my last post I introduced the chapter-by-chapter review of A Faith Not Worth Fighting For, a collection of essays on Christian nonviolence, specifically questions often asked about it by skeptics, or just curious seekers.

The first chapter opens with a common misconception worded in this question:  “Isn’t Pacifism Passive?

We come to see that this argument against peacemaking has not roots in logic or theology, but comes from what I’ve found is a mixture of semantic misunderstanding and aesthetic distaste.  In her essay C. Rosalee Velloso Ewell addresses this question very well.

[note: for the sake of clarification when I speak of pacifism I will speak of it in broad terms, meaning a commitment to nonviolence, which we will see is based on the word for “passion”.  Whether that means a decision never to use violence ever, we shall see as we read along.]

As with the rest of the book, Ewell leads the discussion based on five assumptions for Christians:
1) Jesus and his story are real
2) We are to be witnesses of Jesus
3) We “see thru a glass dimly” (1 Cor. 13:12), but “we do see Jesus” (Heb. 2:9)
4) Faith is a journey in which we question ourselves and shine our light for others
5) It all goes back to the life (and death, and  re-life) of Jesus
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Announcing: A by-chapter review of _A Faith Not Worth Fighting For_

I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will command peace to the nations.

-Zecheriah 9:9-10

I’ve been looking forward to reading a certain book for a while, now that I’ve had some friends recommend it to me.  The book is called A Faith Not Worth Fighting For, a collection of essays about Christian nonviolence.  It is a book that I already know will challenge me, will set the voice of scripture up against some things people sometimes tell me who also read that scripture a lot.

I’d like to thank Carl Jenkins for really getting me interested in the reading, and for giving me bits and pieces of his reading along the way.  He did a book review.  I’m doing a full chapter-by-chapter throughout the next month or so.

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