The following is part of a fairly long series on the theology and practice of nonviolence. If you would like to read all of the posts, you can do so here.
Convinced of the theology of nonviolence, I have embraced the essence of my Anabaptist roots. It would be arrogant to assume that my tradition is the only one with a peaceful witness, as it is exciting to see how many Christians of varying denominations are choosing the dusty road of subversive discipleship. For the person who reads this and is not ready to buy into the argument presented, I have nothing but respect for you. I do not believe that the Bible sanctions any combination of Christianity and violence, but I also do not stand in judgment over-against those with whom I disagree. We serve a God who has always accommodated to incarnate his love and care for humanity, even at the expense of allowing us to live with flawed patterns of belief and practice. This side of the renewal of creation at the return of Christ–when we “will beat… swords into plowshares and… spears into pruning hooks” (Micah 4.3)–may we choose to love each other in spite of our disagreements.
Finally, I want to give a last word to those of you who have read this exposition of nonviolent resistance and are convinced of the biblical teaching. The journey ahead will be a difficult one. Choosing to be an advocate of nonviolence is not popular in our American Christian culture as the two myths are still alive in the consciousness of the majority of believers. The temptation for you is going to be to judge and condemn rather than to love and accept. My prayer is that the teaching of nonviolence will penetrate deep within our hearts, causing all forms of condemnation to fade. Not only so, but I hope that the church of Jesus Christ in the United States and beyond, will begin to break free from the captivity of our lack of imagination. As the world around us witnesses grass-roots-Jesus-followers seeking to make peace in our communities and world, my dream is that many will be drawn toward Jesus. May we become a signpost of hope for our world that a day is coming when all violence will cease (Rev. 21-22), a day when heaven will beautifully collide into earth, and the peaceful kingdom of God will emerge for all eternity.