Jesus and Nonviolence - chapter six

This is the final post in the series studying Walter Wink's book, "jesus and nonviolence: a third way."  Thank you for joining me over the past weeks.

Wink begins this final chapter by explaining how the nonviolent revolution in the Philippines was prepared for, supported, prayed over and seen to completion by the churches.   

"The debate about violence versus nonviolence today is simply no longer fruitful.  Nonviolent acts of civil disobedience, protest and confrontations are, for many people, the only effective actions possible....Increased governmental controls will not be the occasion for abandoning nonviolence.  They will simply make it costlier. [...]

Creativity is always the improbable grasped out of the teeth of despair.  The allure of violence at such times is understandable.  It does not require the same degree of imagination and invention.

Our time has witnessed the emergence of a new historical phenomenon:  the National Security State, a colossus of surveillance and repressive might made virtually impregnable as a result of the wizardry of military and electronic technology.  Such a colossus should deprive us of all hope.  But the paradoxical consequence is just the opposite.  Since armed resistance is largely futile, people have taken recourse in nonviolent means.  Nonviolence has even become the preferred method of people who have never contemplated absolute pacifism.  [....]

Many people have not aspired to Jesus' Third Way because it has been presented to them as absolute pacifism, a life-commitment to nonviolence in principle, with no exceptions.  They are neither sure that they can hold fast to its principles in every situation nor sure that they have the saintliness to overcome their own inner violence.  Perhaps a more traditional Christian approach would make more sense.  We know that nonviolence is the NT pattern.  We can commit ourselves to following Jesus' way as best we can.  We know we are weak and will probably fail.  But we also know that God loves and forgives us and sets us back on our feet after every failure and defeat.

Seen in this light, Jesus' Third Way is not an insuperable counsel to perfection attainable only by the few.  It is simply the right way to live, and can be pursued by many.  The more who attempt it, the more mutual support there will be in following it.


Thank you for following along with me through this series.  As I said at the beginning, this is not a perfect book nor it is a comprehensive discussion on nonviolence, simply an introduction.  Obviously, Wink focuses on the political realm in ways many of us do not, but my main goal in going through this book was to illustrate what Christian nonviolence is and is not and to clear up some of the common misconceptions that arise in discussions.  We may not be in agreement about nonviolence, but I hope that our imaginations have been opened to think about our interactions with the world in new ways and to see possibilities in how we might actually live out nonviolence in a very complicated world.

Thank you again for your participation and your kindness through these weeks.  

If you want to continue reading on the topic, the following authors are on my personal list (I have not read them all yet!)  Robert Brimlow , John Howard Yoder, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ronald Sider, Stanley Hauerwas, Walter Brueggemann.


You can find our discussion on

chapter five: part three, here,

chapter five: part two,

chapter five: part one

chapter four,

chapter three,

 chapter two

 and chapter one.