Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

C. J. Cadoux Online

Students of church history, the history of Christian ethics, or of gospel nonviolence/Christian pacifism may be familiar with the name of C. J. Cadoux, who wrote The Early Christian Attitude to War in 1919. This classic defense of the gospel nonviolence of the early church, written just after World War I, has long been out of print. (I picked up a reprint published by Seabury in 1986 in a used bookstore in the ’90s.) It is now in the public domain and has been published online here. I think the site hosting this wonderful book is rather heterodox, but ignore all that, download this great book and read it repeatedly.

There have been both challenges and defenses of Cadoux’s scholarship, some making use of more recent discoveries, but I think the general picture he paints of the nonviolence of the pre-Constantinian Christian Church still holds up–and stands as a bold challenge to the violence accommodating (or, in some cases, violence promoting) churches today. It’s also a nice introduction for many to primary sources on the early church attitudes that you can research for yourselves.

October 21, 2006 Posted by | church history, love of enemies, peace, peacemaking | Comments Off on C. J. Cadoux Online

Ten propositions on peace and war

Kim Fabricius has posted another of his great series of 10 propositions. This time it’s on nonviolence. Faith and Theology: Ten propositions on peace and war

Check this great post out. Print out the propositions and use them as discussion starters at your church.

October 6, 2006 Posted by | blogs, just peacemaking, love of enemies, nonviolence, pacifism, peace, peacemaking | Comments Off on Ten propositions on peace and war

I Am Not a Heretic?

I didn’t always like the choices involved in the quiz and I think in terms of narrative and process ontologies, rather than Greek “substance” ontology, but the results didn’t really surprise me. I’ve always known I’m far more theologically orthodox than my many critics believe. Care to test yourselves?

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you’re not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant

Are you a heretic?
created with QuizFarm.com

September 23, 2006 Posted by | love of enemies, theology | 4 Comments

Jerry & Sis Levin: Middle East Peacemakers

With all the horrors of the Middle East, it is good to know that some people are constantly there working for peace, like Jerry & Sis Levin. That’s Jerry in civvies to the left. In the 1980s, Jerry Levin was CNN’s Middle East Bureau Chief, stationed in Beirut and covering the war between Israel, Hezbollah, Lebanese Christian militias, etc. Jerry was kidnapped unknown Muslim terrorists one day and became one of the “forgotten U.S. hostages” of the Reagan era. At the time, he called himself an “atheist American Jew.” But Jerry had married Lucille “Sis,” a devout Christian (Episcopalian) from Alabama. When the State Dept. did nothing, Sis educated herself about the Middle East and guided only by her faith, worked to create the conditions for Jerry’s release–based upon distinguishing herself and Jerry from the U.S. government and repeated public statements of a desire for peace for all people’s in the region. She eventually was taken to meet someone who, vouching for her, could use her sincerity to pressure Jerry’s captors to release him.

Meanwhile, left alone in a dark prison with nothing to read but a Bible, Jerry reasoned his way to a faith in God that, to his great surprise, only worked with Jesus front and center! But Christian persecution of Jews over centuries stood in the way for him having anything to do with Jesus. But, eventually he decided Jesus’ shouldn’t be blamed for what was done in his name and quietly became a Christian. One day, Jerry’s cell door was deliberately left open and he was allowed to escape.

Sis’ side of that amazing story was published as Beirut Diary by a Christian publishing house and became a TV movie Held Hostage! (with Marlo Thomas cast as Sis Levin!)

Today, Sis is Dr. Lucille Levin, who went to seminary and then earned a university degree in conflict resolution. She teaches nonviolence and conflict resolution in a K-university curriculum at the University of Bethlehem in a project called “Children of Abraham” supported by the Episcopal Church, Holy Land Trust in Palestine, and Every Church a Peace Church. Jerry works with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron, the West Bank, Occupied Territories as a nonviolent presence and buffer between Palestinians and Israelis. Because of the difficulty of crossing checkpoints, the Levins are lucky to see each other more than a few hours each week.

Ever the journalist, Jerry has been sending weekly “micro-reports” from the Occupied Territories (and from Iraq during a Christian Peacemaker Team mission to Iraq) called “From the Inside Looking Out,” to which you can subscribe by email on request:
jlevin0320@yahoo.com . A large number of those micro-reports have been edited and published recently as a book, Jerry Levin, West Bank Diary: Middle East Violence as Reported by a Former American Hostage (Pasadena, CA: Hope Publishing, 2005). During trips home to the U.S., Sis and Jerry speak about their experiences to U.S. church groups. If you’d like to schedule a visit, contact Sis at drsus2@aol.com .

Ordinary saints working to make peace. May God grant us more.

August 3, 2006 Posted by | heroes, Israel-Palestine, just peacemaking, love of enemies, nonviolence, pacifism | 3 Comments

Unholy War

Unholy War

What would Jesus name his tank?

This photo, taken May 5, 2005, was posted on the U.S. Marine Corps website (but has since been removed), under the headline “M-1A1 Abrams tank rolls over insurgency in Iraq .” The words written on the tank’s gun are “New Testament.”
All churches should react with horror: denounce such a perversion of the gospel in their local papers, protest to the U.S. Marines, etc. This kind of blasphemy is what comes of centuries of mixed messages by the churches on war. It is time for a complete recovery of gospel nonviolence/biblical pacifism. It is time to stop confusing the Way of Jesus with the way of the gods of war and destruction!

May 31, 2005 Posted by | Iraq, love of enemies, scandal | Comments Off on Unholy War