How did violence become OK? And is there any way back? At some point between George Floyd's killing on May 25
and the invasion of the US Capitol on January 6, America's consensus against political violence crumbled. Before 2020, almost everyone agreed that it should be out of bounds. Now, many are ready to justify such violence - at least when it is their side breaking windows or battling police officers. Something significant seems to have slipped. Is there any way back? As Christians, we need to consider what guilt we bear, with the rise of a decidedly unchristian "Christian nationalism" that historically has deep roots in American Christian culture. But shouldn't we also be asking ourselves what a truly Christian stance might look like, one that reflects Jesus' blessings on the peacemakers, the merciful, and the meek? Oscar Romero, when accused of preaching revolutionary violence, responded:
"We have never preached violence, except the violence of love, which left Christ nailed to a cross." If we take Jesus' example and his call to nonviolence at face value, we're left with all kinds of interesting questions: What about policing? What about the military? What about participating in government? This issue of Plough
addresses some of these questions and explores what a life lived according to love rather than violence might look like. In this issue:
- Anthony M. Barr revisits James Baldwin's advice about undoing racism.
- Gracy Olmstead describes welcoming the baby she did not expect during a pandemic.
- Patrick Tomassi debates nonviolence with Portland's anarchists and Proud Boys.
- Scott Beauchamp advises on what not to ask war veterans.
- Rachel Pieh Jones reveals what Muslims have taught her about prayer.
- Eberhard Arnold argues that Christian nonviolence is more than pacifism.
- Stanley Hauerwas presents a vision of church you've never seen in practice.
- Andrea Grosso Ciponte graphically portrays the White Rose student resistance to Nazism.
- Zito Madu illuminates rap's role in escaping the violence of poverty.
- Springs Toledo recounts his boxing match with an undefeated professional. You'll also find:
- An interview with poet Rhina P. Espaillat
- New poems by Catherine Tufariello
- Profiles of Anabaptist leader Felix Manz and community founder Lore Weber
- Reviews of Marly Youmans's Charis in the World of Wonders,
Judith D. Schwartz's The Reindeer Chronicles,
Chris Lombardi's I Ain't Marching Anymore,
and Mart n Espada's Floaters Plough Quarterly features stories, ideas, and culture
for people eager to put their faith into action. Each issue brings you in-depth articles, interviews, poetry, book reviews, and art to help you put Jesus' message into practice and find common cause with others.
About the Author
Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina.
Rachel Pieh Jones has written for the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, Runners World, and Christianity Today. In 2003 she moved to Somaliland, and since 2004 she has lived in neighboring Djibouti, where she and her husband run a school. She blogs at djiboutijones.com.
Andrea Grosso Ciponte is a Calabrian painter, graphic novelist, filmmaker, and illustrator. He is a professor of computer graphics and digital animation techniques at the Academy of Fine Arts in Catanzaro, Italy. Ciponte was born in Praia a Mare, Italy, in 1977. In 2011 his work was shown at the Venice Biennale. His graphic novel Renegade: Martin Luther, The Graphic Biography, won gold at the Independent Publisher Book Awards and at the Indies Awards.