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It would appear that Peacebuilding Institute of East Tennessee’s (PIET) programming is crystallizing around the theme of nonviolence. This was the focus of our 10-hour Winter Workshop on February 1st and 2nd. Five sessions addressed nonviolence within, nonviolence in the family, nonviolence in the community, nonviolence in the world, and nonviolent communication (for more on nonviolent communication, see the report below.) Our next workshop, scheduled for March 11th and 13th, on is on healing, followed by a seminar, Saturday, March 15th, on “Nonviolent Atonement.” The ‘Nonviolent Atonement” seminar has enormous implications for our understanding of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Though there are several theological theories concerning the meaning of Christ’s crucifixion, Christians have typically embraced the “satisfaction” theory. Anselm, a Catholic theologian of the Middle Ages (c.1033- 1109 C.E.) is the associated with this theory, which states that God the Father required the violent death of Jesus to satisfy his need to restore his (God’s) honor and justice. God, according to Anselm, had to be paid back for man’s sin; that is, the debt of sin had to be “satisfied.” As Jesus was the only one who could pay such a debt, God required his violent death on the cross in payment for the sins of all humanity.
This makes God the Father a violent God. But there is ample evidence in both the Old and New Testaments that God is just the opposite – a God of peace, love and forgiveness. Therefore, there must be some other way to explain Jesus’ violent death on the cross. The “Nonviolent Atonement” seminar presents another theory. Nonviolent atonement theory is the subject of a growing debate among contemporary Christian theologians worldwide. It is a particularly relevant topic for those of us who want to believe that God is a God of peace, and that the practice of peacemaking is a reflection of the nature of God.
Three American theologians, all of whom have written extensively on the theory, will facilitate the March 15th seminar. Michael Hardin, who was with us last October, is editor of and a contributor to Stricken by God?: Nonviolent Identification & the Victory of Christ, and is with the ministry, Preaching Peace, based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Anthony Bartlett is author of Cross Purposes and Assistant Professor of Theology, Bexley Hall Episcopal Seminary, Rochester, New York. Sharon Baker is author of By Grace? An Economy of Atonement and Assistant Professor of Theology at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.
This workshop is imperative for all those who believe that theology and nonviolence matter. God’s apparent violence towards Jesus is a crucial matter for all Christians, regardless of their understanding of the Atonement. There is always more to learn of God and God’s ways towards the world.
News and Notes from PIET
Reflection on the Public Hearing held February 26, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory on the “Draft Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement” of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
For all practical purposes, in spite of the impressive title, these hearings had to do with the projected renovation and expansion of the nuclear bomb-making capacity at the Y-12 complex of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The 400-seat auditorium in the ironically named New Hope Center at the gates of the Y-12 complex was filled to capacity for both the afternoon and evening sessions. Iindividuals who had registered to speak were given three minutes to say whatever they wanted to put into the record. Ninety-two people spoke at the afternoon session, and more at the later session.
The speakers appeared to be fairly evenly divided between those speaking for the proposed upgrade of Y-12 and those opposed to the production of bombs altogether. The disconnect between the two factions was readily apparent. Those who spoke for the upgrade of bomb-making capacity were generally concerned with the local economy, the possible loss of jobs if the upgrade does not happen, and the expressed concern to do their part in keeping America strong. Those against the upgrade were typically more concerned with our proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the breaking of the non-proliferation treaty, the image we project to the world, and the perpetuation of violence and hostility. These comments quoted in the Knoxville News-Sentinel are representative of the divide.
This observer concludes that…
I submit that for all these reasons, and more, it is absolutely essential to our survival and the survival of the planet that production of nuclear bombs cease immediately and that dismantling of all our nuclear warheads begin. Please use the attached form to submit these and any other reasons you may have to the NNSA authorities at the address given or submit your comments through the project website which can be found at http://www.complextransformationspeis.com . The deadline is April 10, 2008.
Winter Workshop Introduces New PIET Program
The PIET Winter Workshop, “Teaching Non-Violence” included a new element that surprised even its planners. In the last session of the workshop, “Non- Violent Communication,” Melanie McGhee, introduced us to the work of Marshall B. Rosenberg. Dr. Rosenberg, a psychologist, has developed “nonviolent communication (NVC), a language that allows people to interact in ways that value everyone’s needs equally. NVC has proven effective in widely varying contexts, from families, organizations, schools, and churches, to international diplomacy. The underlying concepts of the process are not new, having been espoused by Jesus, Gandhi, Bahá’u’lláh, and others, but NVC applies them in ways that are simple to understand and which produce impressive results. Two of Dr. Rosenberg’s books are reviewed in the upcoming issue of En Christo. (If you do not already receive this publication you may do so by contacting the editor of Peace Memo: firstname.lastname@example.org)
For PIET, whose work is peacebuilding, the message is clear. NVC is a process we not only have to practice in all our relationships – personal and public – but that we have to teach at every possible opportunity. To that end, at least two PIET staff members plan to obtain formal training in NVC in the next few months, leading to certification as NVC trainers. Once PIET has trainers, we can offer the training to as many groups as we can schedule, including school, professional, civic, and religious groups, in East Tennessee and beyond Groups wishing to schedule training in NVC are encouraged to contact Victoria Medaglia or Jim Foster , email@example.com We anticipate receiving the certification no later than the end of this year, and will begin scheduling workshops for 2009.
Don’t miss the PIET workshop on God’s Healing Strategies, March 11th and 13th, from 6:00- 9:00 PM each evening. This interactive event will provide tools for shalom: peace for the whole person and his or her world. It includes learning the skills and powers of being truly human and discovering our spiritual birthrights in imitation of Jesus.
Topics covered include:
· Silencing the Voices of Culture and Hearing the Voice of God
· Experiencing Oneness with God and the Creation
· Forgiving Ourselves and Others
· Healing as Imitators of Christ
Michael and Lorri Hardin of Preaching Peace will facilitate the workshop, which will be held at Church of the Good Shepherd, 5337 Jacksboro Pike, in Fountain City.
Please register with Jim Foster, (865)573-4089 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no charge, but there will be opportunity to make voluntary contributions.
Your editor gathers news from a variety of online sources. Naturally, one link leads to another, which leads to yet another, … Here are two items that relate nicely to non-violent communication in a broad social context.
First, Rockridge Nation is a community project of the Rockridge Institute. Founder George Lakoff, a former student of Noam Chomsky, is best known for his work on metaphor in human thinking, behavior, and society. Members of Rockridge Nation discuss questions about framing in our cultural and political debates.
The second is an article by Sara Robinson, “When Change Is Not Enough: The Seven Steps To Revolution,” published on the Campaign for America’s Future website. I include it here because we who choose nonviolence need to understand processes that can lead normally
peaceable people to become violent. If
this article draws an accurate picture, we may have opportunities to enlist people in non-violent alternatives to the assumedly inevitable violent revolution.
The delighted toddler's voice squeaked through the telephone line. "How are you? How are you?" Houda chanted. "Come here!"
The last time I heard this little one
speak, he was living in a refugee camp and could manage only
a few baby-talk words in Arabic. Now, his mother says, "He
is very clever, he learns English faster than any of us!"
She wisely insists on Arabic in the home so that
Houda and I met when he was the youngest member (at 18 months old) of the eighteen-person group of Palestinian refugees who fled Baghdad in October 2005 . . . a group led by Thair Shafiq Ali, and accompanied by Tom Fox and other members of both Christian Peacemaker Teams and Muslim Peacemaker Teams.
You've followed their stories for more than two years now. This February, the last of the children and their parents arrived in Canada. Of the eighteen, all but the three single men made it through the refugee immigration process and have a chance at a new life.
They send thanks for your prayerful support. Adjustment to life in a new culture is difficult to say the least, so please do keep them in your thoughts. When you do, please remember also the more than 2,000 Palestinian refugees from Iraq who still languish in a tent city in the middle of the harsh desert on the border of Iraq and Syria. For two years now they have waited for a solution. Iraq gives them neither citizenship nor safety. What nation will step forward?
As you may know, Thair managed to leave Iraq last Fall. For the time being he is safe, though not secure. We are still working through delays in the fiancé visa process. That door is still open though, so be of good hope!
He is still painting, and even sent me six of the paintings he created while in the refugee camp. To be continued . . . .
For now, just rejoice in the laughter of baby Houda and the birth of new words, new hope.
Peace to you . . . .
Sheila Provencher facilitated our PIET Winter Workshop, here in Knoxville, a few years ago. She was a member of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq at the time Tom Fox was martyred. One of her-long term efforts has been to help Palestinian refugees from Iraq who are living in Syrian refugee. These people were denied citizenship in Iraq, so they cannot not obtain passports. They have been trapped as illegal aliens in Syria. Sheila has had some successes, but there are thousands more still eking out an existence in Syrian refugee camps.
A monthly collection of comments, quotes, facts and Tamarac Notes written and collated by Roberta Thurstin and Don Timmerman, published in collaboration with PEACEBUILDING INSTITUTE OF EAST TENNESSEE.
Military spending is out of control. In 2008, US taxpayers will be expected to pay $696 billion for the military, including $189 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the Pentagon is asking for over $766.5 billion. The US military spends more money than all the militaries of all the other countries combined. It now spends $11 billion a day in Iraq and Afghanistan, at a time when the US debt has skyrocketed to more than $9 trillion, up from around $5.6 trillion when Bush took office in 2001.The Pentagon cannot account for over a trillion dollars it received in the past. The US not only spends money on its own military, it also spends billions of dollars supporting military dictatorships throughout the world. It sold weapons to the Taliban, to Osama bin Laden, to Saddam Hussein, and is presently selling weapons to dictators in Pakistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Congo. It is in the process of selling 900 precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia for $123 million. Remember that 15 of the 19 people responsible for the 9/11 tragedy were from Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates is buying a Patriot missile defense system worth $9.7 billion from the US. Kuwait is buying $1.6 billion worth of items to upgrades its Patriot missiles.
Israel -- which is in violation of 70 UN Security Council resolutions and still occupying Palestinian land, demolishing Palestinian homes, and impoverishing the people more and more each day -- this year received $30 billion worth of weapons and military support from the US. Israel receives $11 million a day from US taxpayers. The total of US grants and loan guarantees to Israel for fiscal 1997 was $5,525,800. This military aid is not included in the US military section of the budget; it is included in the foreign aid section!
The only Americans who profit from invasions and occupations of other countries are military corporations, whose existence depends on these and on proliferation of weapons. They are happy.
We still have not learned weapons and violence cannot bring. Peace can only be obtained through love, compassion, forgiveness, and the practice of justice shown to other countries. All spiritual leaders, including Jesus Christ, taught and lived this. Are we so arrogant we think that we know better than these holy people?
We celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day by doing just the opposite of what he taught and lived. He preached nonviolence at any cost. His work for civil rights arose out of his belief in nonviolence. He taught helping the poor, not increasing the wealth of the rich. He spoke of love in action by saving those lacking the basics of life, not by killing and maiming others labeled "enemies” by our government. He said, "A nation that continues to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." - Don Timmerman
"Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his/her questions, to know his/her assessment of ourselves. For from his/her view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition….I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. When machines and computers, profit and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty." - Oscar Romero
"A terrorist is a freedom fighter in his own eyes; a freedom fighter is a terrorist in the eyes of his enemy." - Uri Anvery
The annual number of child deaths has been halved, from roughly 20 million in 1960 to 9.7 million in 2006. However, on average, more than 27,000 children under the age of 5 die each day. -UNICEF
The environmental damage caused to developing nations by the world's richest nations amounts to more than the entire third world debt of $1.8 billion. - The Guardian, 1-21-08
Each year 8 million weapons are manufactured, enough weapons to arm 1 of every 10 people in the world, and enough ammunition to shoot every person in the world TWICE. -Center for Defense Information
Since 1998, there have been 5.4 million people killed in the Congo (DRC). Part of the poverty caused by these deaths is due to foreign companies exploiting the resources of the country. Mining companies Freeport McMoRan, BHP Billiton, and Anvil Mining have all recently launched multimillion-dollar projects in Congo. Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler stands to gain $2 billion from a merger of Katanga Mining and Nikanor to create the world's largest cobalt and copper producer. Oil reserves also are exploited by Heritage Oil and other oil companies. - World Socialist Website, 1-22-08
In Ghana, only 5% of the $894 million generated by mining in 2003 was captured in Ghana. That's a mere $46 million in its $11 billion economy. Some 95% of the mining revenues go out of the country, and only 5% stays in the country, along with 100% of the problems of losing land, having water polluted with cyanide spills, and confrontations. –United Nations
Denmark has the happiest people on earth despite having the highest taxes on earth. Almost 70% of their income goes for taxes. This does not faze the people since most needed services are free to all, not just the rich. –Business Week, 1-17-08
In the past two years, Congress has been funding research on a proposed new family of nuclear warheads that would replace the existing arsenal. – Our Future, 1-18-08 (See article above on the public hearing at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. – ed.)
Like other workers, most undocumented and documented immigrant workers have both federal and state income taxes deducted from their paychecks. An undocumented worker picking tomatoes in Florida pays more income taxes proportionally than many corporate executives. Undocumented workers pay $7 billion a year into Social Security, but they are unable to collect any benefits from it. Immigrants pay sales tax as well and property taxes on property they either own or rent. Numerous studies show that the rate of violent and property crime among immigrants is lower than that of comparable sectors of the US population. - People's Weekly World, 1-19-08
The present Administration made at least 935 false statements on hundreds of occasions, particularly that Iraq had unconventional weapons, links to Al Qaeda or both. Even after the invasion, when a consensus emerged that the prewar intelligence assessments were flawed, administration officials suggested that the weapons might still be found. - New York Times, 1-23-08
In Iraq, the US had made deals with thousands of former "insurgents" providing them with arms and cash to patrol neighborhoods. The US had hired some 65,000 to 80,000 "volunteers" in these patrols, and the number is expected to rise to 100,000. Most are being paid an average of $300 a month for this. -New York Times, 12-22-07
Only 1/10th of the $1.7 billion in federal Hurricane Katrina relief in Mississippi has benefited the poor residents.
In 2005, the wealthiest 0.2% of the country's population had nearly as much income as all 150 million Americans who make up the lower economic half of the country. Some of the wealthiest Americans enrich themselves at government expense. They receive far more federal monies than do the poor. -Free Lunch by David Cay Johnston
Since 2000, the federal government has paid at least $1.3 billion in subsidies for rice and other crops to people who do no farming. While smaller farms may get next to nothing, some of the largest farming corporations get hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in government subsidies. - Washington Post
WORLD CITIZENSHIP CREED
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WORKSHOP AND SEMINAR REGISTRATION FORM
Please register me for the following events:
_____ God’s Healing Strategies, March 11 and 13, 6:00 – 9:00 PM each day.
This is a free workshop (voluntary contributions gratefully accepted) led by Michael and Lorri Hardin of Preaching Peace. It will be held at Church of the Good Shepherd, 5537 Jacksboro Pike, in Fountain City. (See page 3 above for more details.)
_____ Nonviolent Atonement Seminar, Saturday, March 15, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
General tuition is $40.00; seniors and students $30.00, payable at the door. Scholarships are available. Coffee and Registration begin at 8:00 AM. The seminar speakers are Anthony Bartlett, Sharon Baker and Michael Hardin. It will be held at Church of the Good Shepherd, 5537 Jacksboro Pike, in Fountain City. (See page 1 above for more details.)
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