What would it mean for churches to be places where people “learned how not to kill” – to stop viewing killing as a solution, and to start investing in nonviolent alternatives to war? How could they do this? What would it say about their witness? How would it impact how the voice of the church is heard at times of heightened conflict or war?
Though I ended up disagreeing with him fairly significantly on pacifism, the interpretation of the atonement, homosexuality and capital punishment, I remain grateful beyond words for the life, work and example of evangelical Anglican leader John R W Stott, who died aged 90 last week.
For many people these days, much 'religion' has become synonymous with division, bigotry and violence. Sadly, there is plenty of good evidence that this is so. But it is not the whole picture. There are very strong faith traditions that point in exactly the opposite direction.
Goshen College, a prominent Mennonite liberal arts institution, has reversed its decision to play the militaristic and nationalistic US national anthem at sports events. Andy Alexis-Baker welcomes the move, after a long process of lobbying which he and others led. Never before have so many Christians - and not just Mennonites or other Anabaptists - stated so clearly that these anthems and rituals have no place in Christian formation, he observes.
One hundred years ago, nonconformity and nonresistance were hallmarks of Mennonites’ peace witness. Today, Mennonites are more actively engaged in society, and the pursuit of justice is an essential part of peacemaking. How did this change come about?