Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘John Malkin’

Words of Wisdom Album

I’m creating an album of original music that integrates many of the interviews I’ve done on my radio show over the past 17 years! I’m raising funds for the project through a new crowd-funding website that went online today. It’s a non-profit format, generosity-based and named after the Buddhist Pali word “dana.” The album will benefit Free Radio Santa Cruz and Food Not Bombs.

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Here is my two-minute video about the project: WORDS OF WISDOM

You can also go directly to the dana website and see the video and details and offer a contribution toward producing “Words of Wisdom” if you’d enjoy: https://dana.io/

Peace,
John Malkin

Quakers

The Only Alternative: Christian Nonviolent Peacemakers in America
by Alan Nelson and John Malkin. (Excerpt)

The Quakers

The movement to create the Quakers – more formally known as the Religious Society of Friends began in England in the mid-1600s. A leather worker and shepherd named George Fox (1624-1691) led in developing this new Christian way of gathering, studying, praying and taking action. The first Quakers emphasized the importance of personal guidance and direct experience of the teachings of Jesus. From their early days, the Quakers challenged the authority and dogma of church and state and they questioned the notion that a minister or intermediary was necessary to know God. Quakers have often suffered imprisonment, confiscation of property and death in their struggles for freedom and justice. Fox wrote in his journal that he was frequently beaten or forced out of a town after verbally challenging clergy about matters regarding faith and politics.

Fox encouraged William Penn (1644-1718) to establish a colony in North America where a “holy experiment” could take shape. In 1681, King Charles II of England had settled a debt owed to Penn’s father by grating to William Penn ownership of a vast area of land in America. Penn left for America on August 13, 1682, to set up the colony with thousands of other Quakers who shared a vision of creating a community where they could worship as they chose without persecution by the British government or the Catholic Church. The “Holy Experiment” became known as Pennsylvania. There are currently about 300,000 Quakers worldwide.

Relations between Quakers and American Indians were peaceful, especially compared to the bloody history between American Indians and most other early Christian and non-Christian immigrant groups. Also, the Religious Society of Friends has always worked for equal rights for women, regarding women and men as equal children of God and equally capable of public ministry and of filling leadership roles in the Quaker community and church.

Quakers were among the first to oppose slavery in the United States and to prohibit it among their members. Quakers in Germantown, Pennsylvania, protested slavery as early as 1688. John Woolman (1720-1772), a colonial Quaker, opposed and helped to eradicate slavery among Quakers in the United States.

Another Quaker, Levi Coffin (1789-1877), was called “the president of the Underground Railroad” because, using their home as a safe house, he and his wife and family helped about three thousand slaves escape to freedom. Coffin gave escaped slaves food, shelter, medical care and safe transportation. Such revolutionary social action was not popular with landowners, slaveholders, or some Quakers, who deemed Coffin’s actions “too radical.” In spite of death threats and attacks on their home, Levi Coffin and his family continued their liberating work rooted in Christian nonviolence to help ex-slaves begin new lives, free from their former “owners.”

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Jim Douglass & Nonviolence

Excerpt from The Only Alternative: Christian Nonviolent Peacemakers in America by Alan Nelson and John Malkin.

JIM DOUGLASS

James Wilson Douglass was born on July 16, 1937, in Princeton, British Columbia, Canada. He grew up in Hedley, BC, a small mining town in the Rocky Mountains, where his father managed a gold mine. Douglass’ Irish Catholic mother had prepared to become a Dominican sister prior to marrying his father, a widower with four children already in their teens.

James Douglass studied nuclear engineering at the University of California Berkeley, and English and philosophy at Santa Clara University. He did graduate work in English at the University of Kansas, and earned an MA in theology at the University of Notre Dame. Before being inspired to work for peace, Douglass intended to be a nuclear-weapons designer and was in the U.S. army in 1955 and 1956.

From 1962 to 1965, Douglass succeeded in persuading bishops at the Second Vatican Council to condemn total war and to support conscientious objection. He has also spent time in jails for his nonviolent civil disobedience, resisting U. S. nuclear and military policies. In the 1980s, he led efforts in tracking and protesting the U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear-weapons “White Train” that carried nuclear materials secretly, and in the 1990s he traveled to Iraq to non-cooperate with the U.S.-led economic sanctions and wars against that country. Douglass and his wife, Shelley, together founded the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action; the Agape Community, which tracked the White Train, and Mary’s House, a Catholic Worker house in Birmingham, Alabama.

Douglass has written a series of four books on the theology of non-violence: The Non-Violent Cross, Resistance and Contemplation, Lightning East to West, and The Nonviolent coming of God. The Nonviolent Coming of God describes the ways Jesus of Nazareth embodied revolutionary nonviolence and taught it to the people of his day, who faced the choice between nonviolence and violent annihilation by the occupying Roman military forces. Jesus’ prophecy that we all must choose between nonviolence and annihilation is no less true today than it was in his own time. In his writing, Douglass maintains that the resurrection of Jesus – the nonviolent coming of God – is still happening today in the form of worldwide revolutionary nonviolence.

Especially important are the connections Douglass makes between theological, psychological, political, and economic aspects of peacemaking and revolutionary nonviolence. In ways congruent with much of the best contemporary and traditional psychotherapies, he speaks as a seasoned social-change activist and theologian about human growth and potential. He presents a theology (logic of God) and a psychology (logic of the psyche) of nonviolent peacemaking, as well as of personal and social growth and transformation.

Douglass does not call on people of non-Christian traditions to become Christians, but he does call on Christians and all religious and spiritual people to become acquainted with the centeral aspects of nonviolent peacemaking that all religious and spiritual traditions contain. Douglass’ writings and activism for social change have focused on nonviolent resistance to militarism, on noncooperation with injustice, and on compassionate witnessing to suffering as taught by Jesus and other religious teachers.

The Only Alternative

Excerpt from The Only Alternative: Chiristian Nonviolent Peacemakers in America by Alan Nelson and John Malkin. Originally edited by Gabriel Constans.

Martin Luther King Jr., said, “Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the force of hate with the power of love.”

Throughout human history, violence has failed to create peaceful communities in which the world’s people can live, thrive, and interact. Though some interpersonal (behavioral) or international (systemic) acts of violence and war may temporarily interrupt violence in the short term, violence always perpetuates violence. There is no way to create pace and safety with strategies based on violence. Only through means that are themselves peaceful and non-violent can anger and fear be relaxed, compassion cultivated, and peace realized.

We have been taught to believe that a beneficial way to influence the behavior of people whose actions disturb us is to judge them and threaten them with various degrees of violence, or by actually inflicting violence upon them. Though these actions may stem from a compassionate desire to contribute to the well-being of another person, all of these use punitive strategies based on the idea that the best way to influence the behavior of another person is by inflicting physical or psychological suffering upon them, rather than by discovering a strategy that would compassionately meet the needs of all involved. This education that emphasizes moralistic judgment of others as right or wrong and good or bad is based in a system of reward and punishment that is applied to self and others. Jesus challenged this method when he urged people to give up revenge and war and to utilize the power of revolutionary love. He urged his followers to turn from retribution and the notion of “an eye for an eye” to a compassionate way of “turning the other cheek” and “loving your enemies” (Matt 5:39, 44).

The main strategies available for dealing with violence are to ignore it, to use violence, or to call on the soul force of nonviolence. Jesus and the peacemakers featured in this book are aware that ignoring violence does not facilitate peace. In fact, the more that people ignore the violence within and among us, the more that violence is free to grow. Virtually every spiritual tradition has offered the view that violence creates more violence, and that rather than trying to find a way to peace, peace itself is the way.

All violence – personal, interpersonal, military, and institutional – is the result of an alienation from self, others, and God. It is a manifestation of the anxiety and anger that is alive when we think that we are separate beings, and that our thoughts and actions do not affect others. We have been taught to think that peace and love are things to be found outside of ourselves, in the future.

Ultimately, whenever we participate in or enable violence against other people, we also hurt ourselves because we are all children of God, interconnected in one life. Like Cain, we are perpetuating violence against our own siblings. We are “one body in Christ,” inextricably linked, even with those who may want to harm or kills us.

The self-destructive dimensions of violence are especially apparent when we remember that all human beings have God-given potentials for spiritual growth and happiness, and that acts of violence done in revenge and hatred hinder any spiritual and emotional growth. Violence prevents our realizing who we are and who we might become on Jesus’ way to peace. Any violence against God’s creatures is violence against life itself that exacerbates the alienation that so many feel from themselves, from others, and from the love of God.

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