I have just published a new book: Struggling with (Non)violence, by Julie Marie Todd.
Julie is the John Wesley Iliff Senior Lecturer in Justice and Peace Studies at the Iliff School of Theology and was one of the three founders of Love Prevails. As a scholar-activist, Julie grounds her studies in the real world and reflects and analyzes situations, actions, and effects to guide actions. This book is particularly pertinent in today’s United States as violence is escalating on a personal level as well as structurally (legally, politically, and economically) and culturally with the rise of militia groups.
(Non)violence is one of many ways to address the reality and presence of violence. Sometimes it is used as a moral rule that informs personal responses. It is sometimes just a bumper-sticker that lets structural and cultural violence continue unchecked. The book asks if (non)violence is the only way to “love an enemy” or if it is “effective” in the specifics of a given violence.
By ignoring the complexity of what constitutes violence, the (non)violent thought and praxis represented by white, liberal Christians in the United States falls short. In this book, twelve scholar-activist interviewees share perspectives and effective practices that destabilize traditional rationalizations of violence, including those from the institutions and practices of a dominant Christian theology.
The author calls on communities committed to (non)violence to invest in a model for social change which:
1) ROOTS ITSELF IN CONTEXTUAL, HISTORICAL ANALYSIS;
2) INCLUDES OTHER-THAN-HUMAN LIVES AS NECESSARY PARTNERS;
3) VALUES PRACTICES THAT DISMANTLE VIOLENCE OVER THEOLOGICAL ABSTRACTIONS;
4) EMPHASIZES CREATIVE COMMUNITIES OF ACTIVE, COUNTER-CULTURAL RESISTANCE OVER INDIVIDUALISM;
5) EXPERIMENTS WITH DIVERSE, DISRUPTIVE TACTICS; AND
6) URGES A SELF-CRITICAL SOLIDARITY THAT WELCOMES DIFFERENCES REGARDING VARIOUS MEANS OF SOCIAL CHANGE.
The Interviewees: Rita “Bo” Brown (B♀), Ward Churchill, John Dear, Vincent Harding, Dolores Huerta, Derrick Jensen, Kathy Kelly, Alice Lynd, Staughton Lynd, Katherine Power, Sarah Schulman, Akinyele Umoja.
I hope you will join in the discussion of (non)violence with Julie and the interviewees.
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