Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Hello Friends. I became part of the peace witness in 2011 following a close study of American history. I was so impressed by the nonviolent resolution of the Quakers that I dove into a study of the peace witness within Christianity and came out the other side as a man of peace, now having sold my handgun and completely changed much of my life (it was very easy to reconfigure my preferences and habits when I embraced the truth). My wife joined me on this journey and is my partner in all things peace and nonviolence (Praise Jesus!). But having spent the last two years pummeled non-stop by well-meaning but misinformed friends and peace partners more inclined to compromise than stand on principle, I am at a point where I feel I must once again read and learn and ground myself in what I know in my spirit to be truth. I have set out on a reading journey this year of everything peace and nonviolence. So far I have completed a couple books (1) Jesus Wants To Save Christians, (2) Follow Me To Freedom and am reading books by Michael Sattler and Menno Simmons and plan to dive into the the more recent Practicing Peace and Walking In The Way Of Peace.
But I read a lot and am looking for recommendations on books of everything peace and nonviolence. I would really appreciate anything you could recommend.
They might not be what you are looking for but can I suggest that you take a look at the peace pledge union and CND websites, they both detail a number of publications that may be of interest to you.
John Paul Lederach "The Moral Imagination"
Dr. James Gilligan "Preventing Violence"
Stephen Pinker "The Better Angels of Our Nature"
And of course the three Gene Sharp books on the politics of nonviolence
And to help you turn these thoughts into action look at the Alternatives to Violence Project :
Thanks so much, everybody. And Michael, I have to admit that I was quite happily surprised when I realized who you are. My favorite book on the subject other than the Bible is your "Christian Pacifism." I read it in 2011 and it was a major factor in bringing me to where I am today. Thanks so much for that :-)
I found Professor Michael Nagler's book "The Search for a Nonviolent Future" very interesting; there is also a bibliography on books on nonviolence at mettacenter.org. I also enjoyed Nagler's podcasts recorded at Berkeley, where he is a professor and teaches a course on nonviolence.
I find Leo Tolstoy's The Kingdome of God is Within You powerful. Also cheap on Abe Book Exchange. A little hard to read as it is a translation but worth it. Had to stop reading for a while to make sure I wasn't under some kind of spell.:) There was just too much resonating with my cynical leaning.
I recommend Barclay's 'Apology'; the very end of it is an extensive and passionate demonstration for the peace witness. It is Barclay at his best. The tone is committed yet also meticulous in its demonstration. Barclay also includes references to many sources that you can follow up on. In the Quaker Heritage Press edition it runs from pages 466 to 476. Truly a fine and foundational presentation of Quaker Peace Witness.
Speaking of Quaker Heritage Press, they have published "Historical Writings of Quakers Against War". Some of the chapters in this book are also available online at their website:
I am also fond of the book 'Peace Pilgrim'. She wasn't a Quaker, as far as I know she was non-affiliated. And her presentation is not meticulous in the way that Barclay is. But her life is an inspiring demonstration of how the Lord can transform someone through the Peace Witness.
Finally, I am interested in hearing more about your interactions with 'well-meaning but misinformed friends' regarding the Quaker Peace Witness. My reason for wanting to hear more is that I suspect I have run into similar encounters. I have become frustrated with the view that holds that the peace witness is a matter of 'individual consciece' as opposed to being definitive of what it means to actually live as a Quaker.
Two recent books of note:
Dr. Sprinkle is on the faculty of Eternity Bible College (founded by Francis Chan) He is excellent.
It tells you something of the spirit of our times and what sells in our day: When you search books on Amazon for the subject, Christian pacifism, at the Top of the List-- A Time to Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism.