John Dear On Nonviolence, Civil Disobedience, And Doing Time
For the record, I don’t believe you can be a Christian and support war in any form — or, for that matter, support greed that leads to global poverty or any form of injustice, racism, or sexism. Christians are supposed to be peacemakers. The only thing you can say for sure about Jesus is that he was nonviolent. That was his whole message. Martin Luther King Jr. said that this is actually the most exciting era for a Christian to be alive, because we’re at the brink of destruction, and our only choice is to lead humanity back to the nonviolence of Jesus. Gandhi said that Jesus was the most active practitioner of nonviolence in the history of the world, and the only people who don’t see that are Christians. It’s incredible!
“Please, call me Dr. Jim.” My father, whose boots were caked with hog manure, appeared relieved, and they sat down to review what would happen on the day of my sister’s surgery. Dina had to have her back operated on, or her S-shaped spinal column would eventually crush her heart.
Two shotgun-wielding sheriff’s deputies barred our entry through the gates of the naval transmitter station, but our group of twenty-one protesters radiated the assurance of the overly prepared. We had trained a whole month for this moment. Though the deputies couldn’t tell from looking at us, we were skilled in the art of moral jujitsu.
My sponsor told me this would happen. “Temptation comes from the brightest corners and at the most unexpected times,” he said. I washed my hands and face in cold water and flushed the toilet to make it appear like a genuine bathroom visit. I walked out of the bathroom, said I had to go. She scrambled her sorrys and for the first time in my life I meant it when I said, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
I open my eyes and an ex-stripper tells me to fuck off. Then it must be a couple hours later and I’m upstairs and it’s dark and I’m thinking of quicker ways to kill myself. A far-off foghorn is warning ships away from the cliffs. It’s a sad sound, long and low. I can taste on my teeth what I drank all night. Darling Nikki is asleep on her back on the mattress next to me — I call her that after the Prince song.