Why Am I Nonviolent?

I am committed to nonviolence.

It is a commitment.  It is not a proposal I am considering, or a belief I hold.  It is a lifestyle, a way, that I am committed to.

I resist the term ‘pacifist,’ though, because I am not committed to some philosophy called ‘pacifism.’  Rather, I cannot comprehend how to follow the way of Jesus Christ without also committing, as part of that, to live without  resorting to violence in any case.

I also resist labeling Jesus a ‘pacifist,’ because that makes it sound that Jesus embraced some philosophy called ‘pacifism.’  There is no particular philosophy that Jesus embraced apart from “being about My Father’s work.”  Jesus understood his father’s work to be evident in the createdness of all people, and in the fact that God feeds and clothes all people, through sunshine and rain.  Jesus understood his father’s work to require us, who trust God to be a good father, to forsake revenge, love our enemies and entrust final matters of justice to “the one who judges rightly.”

I am committed to nonviolence, as well, because Jesus called his followers to be cross-bearers rather than sword-wielders.  The very nature of the discipleship community (that is, the church), is that it is to be defined by its servanthood and suffering.  The act of communion, which is the defining act for the discipleship community, serves as a constant reminder that while vulnerability and trust seem to be a dead-end, they are in fact the means God uses to save the world.


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