A letter from a daily asterisk reader

Note: We recently received this message from Seth Regan, a friend and former *cino intern, and were so touched by the depth of his compassion and thoughtfulness that we wanted to share it with you all.  The John Dear selection appeared as a recent daily asterisk, which is a quote the *cino community sends out via e-mail each weekday.

Yesterday (Sunday) around 4:45 pm, there was a shooting — two separate shootings, in fact — outside my house, targeted at my next door neighbors. They moved in two weeks ago. No one was hurt. The children upstairs thought it was fireworks. The boy who was targeted while sitting in his car was not hurt, though his car is… I saw it happen from my upstairs window.

So today I shakily brought over a box of cookies, baked by my girlfriend especially for them, and knocked on their door. I met a young girl, probably in her late teens. Her name is Hope. There was a young boy, too — Josiah. I introduced myself. We talked. It was pleasant and neighborly.

And then, after walking into my home feeling slightly more empowered, but still very violated and traumatized (and I wasn’t even the target!), I saw this:

God as nonviolent

Imagine God as nonviolent, and worship takes on the fragrance of peace. We enter a deep mystery and bow our heads in awe and wonder and finally, ever so gradually, in imitation of the God of love, evolve into people of nonviolence and peace. The culture of war discounts all this. Its grumbling takes a form something like this: “Such talk is tantamount to heresy. Let go of the vengeful image of God, and what becomes of boundaries? What becomes of order? Worse, such talk amounts to flagrant defiance, stubborn nonconformity, perhaps an act of resistance punishable by law!” The culture of war always tries to instruct us on the nature of God, the definition of sin and morality, the way to be Christian, even human. It knows only “sacred” violence and a god of thunderbolts and fury. And mushroom clouds. Thus the task at hand: to envision the God of peace. For our souls and for the world. The more we envision and grasp the image of the God of peace, the more we’ll fathom Jesus’ teachings, comprehend how to be human, become a peacemaking church of all-inclusive love, and come upon a way or two to help disarm a world armed to the teeth.

John Dear
Put Down Your Sword

Thank you for your work and steadfast commitment to peace. I’m trying to do the same.

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