Classes started yesterday, so I'm once again reading a lot and enjoying good lectures--at least I soon will be on the lecture part, because the first day of class isn't usually the best lecture ever, just an "explaining the class" day. But I'm looking forward to all my classes. I have only four this semester, just in case something weird happens with my pregnancy.
Systematic Theology II
Exegesis of Acts
Toward a Theology of Nonviolence
I'm excited about the nonviolence one--it should be interesting hearing about the Reformed tradition moving "toward" a theology of nonviolence. We already have a theology of nonviolence as Quakers (generally), but I suppose my professor is right that no one has really put forth a really good systematic theology of nonviolence. Quakers aren't known for their systematic theological works...I don't know of any besides Barclay, do you?
Anyway, for that class, so far we've read about 150 pages of Gene Sharp's book "Waging Nonviolent Struggle." It's an excellent book! I've come across Sharp before, for his famous 198 methods of nonviolent struggle list, but I had never read and works by him. This book is great because it lays out reasons for using nonviolent methods, then explains examples of these methods being used (although we haven't read any of that yet), and then he explains how to begin putting these methods of nonviolent struggle into practice effectively. If anyone's looking for practical advice about how to begin a nonviolent revolution...look no further! (Although it's a huge volume, so it will take a little while to wade through it.)
One thing that's struck me as I've been reading is, how do we get ourselves into gear to actually use these great methods? There are so many things we could be working on--resisting paying taxes that go to the military, boycotting goods that cause injustice because of workers' wages and conditions, demanding alternative energy sources...the list could go on. But how do we get ourselves empassioned enough to actually start acting on what we say we believe? These things wouldn't even probably hurt us (physically) to stand up for, they would just take time and energy, and being willing to be inconvenienced a bit. Well, I guess we might be thrown in jail for the tax evasion thing, but jail's not so bad compared to what early Friends endured.
So we have all these methods at our fingertips. When are we going to use them? How many deaths in the Middle East will get my generation to act like my parents' generation did about Vietnam? How long will we allow ourselves to be lulled into submission by our exorbitant amount of comfort? How long will we keep doing peace marches and not taking any more risky action?
What should we tackle first?