Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Review - The God of Peace, - Toward a Theology of Nonviolence, by John Dear.

This author is a Jesuit priest and a peace activist. Born in North Carolina in 1959, he believes firmly in the possibility of world peace, and has devoted his life to this conviction. For his efforts he has been arrested more than seventy-five times, has spent nearly half his life in jail, and was threatened and mocked by an angry mob, the U.S. National Guard, the U.S. National Guard, outside his parish house in New Mexico, and he speaks of peace to large audiences throughout the country. On reading his projected Theology of Non-Violence, I am tempted to think that there is no one who could possibly live what he proclaims. --But from what I have and heard of this man, I believes he does!

He tells of speaking with a fellow-Jesuit, Fr. Ignacio Ellacuria, who with five of his fellow Jesuits, all of them highly educated and working for Peace and Justice in El Salvador, were receiving death threats from the military regime. He showed John bullet holes in the side of their house, to validate their fears. -- They continued to speak out for the cause of peace -- and just four months later, all six of them, along with their Salvadoran cook and housekeeper, were murdered outside their house near the university.

He and everyone else in the country were shocked and horrified by this brutality and for the killing of Archbishop Romero and four American Church women, also working for peace in El Salvador. These killings must have strengthened his resolve to offer his life for the cause of peace -- as did other martyrs in our day, including Martin Luther King. Incredibly, the U.S. government was favoring the military regime, and gave no help to the peace-keepers. The justice for the murders and violence was slow in coming. Violence and injustice still exists in El Salvador, and John Dear is continuing his mission of peace. Read of his efforts in his autobiography and other books. You can't help but be inspired by what one man can do.

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