Today, the weather lived up to Yahoo’s promise of being truly hot and humid, but I was pleasantly distracted by the presence of my dear seminary friend Mary who came to check out the festival and check in with me. As an added bonus, she brought an extra chair with her so I didn’t have to spend another day of hoisting my airplane-bad-bed-creaky hips up and down off the grass. We took in as much as we could of the festival (Jim Wallis, Phyllis Tickle, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Paul Fromberg, and more) talking and walking in between. The festival is like an all-you-can-eat buffet of justice, spirituality, and music, all day long. It’s fair to say we both ended up quite stuffed. Rather than recount the day’s events, I’ll share one highlight: hearing John Dear speak about the nonviolence of Jesus. He is energetic, inspiring, and incisive (like a knife), and it was a privilege to hear him speak. My friend Kerlin is a huge fan of his and so I was thrilled to take this picture and post it here:
A student of Jesus, Gandhi, Daniel Berrigan, and other famous nonviolent peace activists, he left us with ten keys to being disciples of the nonviolent Jesus. I share them here for anyone who missed his talk:
- Claim your core, fundamental identity as a beloved daughter or son of the Prince of Peace.
- Be a contemplative and a mystic of peace. Spend enough time in quiet to look deeply at the violence within your own heart, and give it to Jesus.
- Be people of personal nonviolence. Think about ways to be nonviolent toward yourself (e.g., don’t beat up on yourself).
- Practice meticulous interpersonal nonviolence.
- Be students and teachers of gospel nonviolence.
- Be activists of nonviolence: “Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something.” Do two or three simple things every day to work for justice and peace.
- Be prophets of nonviolence: listen to the God of peace in prayer, and hear that God saying “be outrageous in the name of the Prince of Peace.”
- Be visionaries of nonviolence. Reclaim imagination through the peace of God.
- Take up the cross of nonviolent resistance to the empire. Be willing to die for peace.
- Being people of the cross means being people of the resurrection. Hope beyond death and see our way into the reign of God.
It was hard to listen to anyone else after listening to John Dear. We heard portions of a few other talks, and then took a lovely drive in the countryside (my way of saying I got lost again while looking for a place to buy a cheap camp chair), and then went out to eat in lovely Pittsboro, finishing the evening with a walk through the village watching the fireflies and talking about the importance of theological discourse, communities of accountability, and the Holy Eucharist. A perfect end to a great day!