Imagining Peace - International Day of Nonviolence

Today (October 2) is the International Day of Nonviolence as declared by the United Nations, appropriately observed on the birthday Mahatma Gandhi.

I often feel stuck when I consider  an application of non-violence in our world. As a follower of Jesus, I take his words to love our enemies seriously, yet realize such a command rarely translates easily into my personal life, let alone global politics. When it comes to non-violence, my mind is blank. Besides heroic examples like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., I can't imagine nonviolence in our world.

It's with this frustration that these words from Stanley Hauerwas have me hoping nonviolence is in fact possible, if we'd only start imagining...

"The essential problem for the elimination of war lies in our imagination. Under the power of history created by war we cannot morally imagine a world without war...What is required is not simply discovering new contexts to sustain martial virtues, but rather an alternative history. Precisely this God has offered through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Such an alternative is not an unrealizable ideal. No, it is present now in the church, a real alternative able to free our imagination from the capacity of war...

War has been eliminated for those who participate in God's history. The miracle we call the church is God's sign that war is not part of his providential care of the world. Our happy task as Christians is to witness to that fact."
From "Should War Be Eliminated?" in The Hauerwas Reader


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