Thursday, June 15, 2006

Urgently Needed: A Counter-Spirituality of Non-violence

I regularly read Gershon Baskin’s commentary from the Jerusalem-based Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information. His analysis is often politically astute and thought-provoking. To his column today calling for a bilateral ceasefire entitled “The use of force has not proven itself effective,” my response is, was it ever. It may have proved effective if the purpose was to exploit and colonize. But if the purpose was a just peace, I contend, the use of force has never been effective.

His article comes on a day that yet another act of arbitrary violence has taken its ghastly toll in Sri Lanka. Sixty one people are reported killed in a landmine blast that blew up a bus in the ancient capital of Anuradhapura. Click here for the BBC report. Although the Tamil Tigers are denying responsibility the Sri Lankan military began retaliatory attacks on rebel-held areas in the north.

Back in January of this year, Sri Lankan church leaders issued a statement in which they confessed that they have not been able to foster a “counter-spirituality” of non-violence. At a theological consultation in Sri Lanka later this month, I will present a paper that speaks to that question. However, this is not a question for Sri Lanka alone. Developing a counter-spirituality of non-violence must be an urgent theological concern for churches in the United States and elsewhere.


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