4 Shalom Activist

working with passion for wholeness

Questions for reflection

What does it really mean to proclaim that ‘faith without works is dead’? Do you believe this to be true?

How does the example of the early church’s sharing and redistributing its resources challenge our modern capitalist societies? Does it challenge the way you think of personal wealth?

‘The bishop of the slums’, the Brazilian Dom Helder Camara stated that ‘When I feed the poor they call me a saint, when I ask, ‘Why are they poor?’ they call me a communist.’ Why do you think this is?

What do you make of Sophie Scholl’ words, “How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give themselves up individually for a righteous cause?”

Further reading and further thoughts

“There is no time left for anything but to make peacework a dimension of our every waking activity.”
Elise Boulding

“You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless they have their freedom.”
Malcolm X

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
Nelson Mandela

“There is no path to peace – peace is the path.”
AJ Muste

“We all have the power to give love. And if we do so, we change the kind of person we are, and we change the kind of world we live in.”
Rabbi Harold Kushner

“Seek the shalom of the city, for in its shalom you will find your shalom.”
Prophet Jeremiah

“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there will be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from you action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”

Read: Micah 4:1-5; Luke 4:16-21

G Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Boston: Porter Sargent, 1974 (Note that this book usually comes in three volumes)

G Sharp, Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th century Practice and 21st Century Potential, Boston: Porter Sargent, 2005

P Ackerman and J Duvall, A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2000.

A peacemeal idea

Watch the film Molokai: The True Story of Father Damien, Prism (PPA 1147), 2001 as a group and then discuss it afterwards over a Peacemeal?

Living it out

“Working for peace is really hard work. Peacemaking means getting up every single day and working hard for global peace. It’s not doves or nice paintings or bad poetry; it’s very creative hard work every day. And that’s the only way to make the world better” These words of Jody Williams present a great challenge. The challenge is even greater when striving for peace as an individual rather than as activists in community. Try and find one challenge that faces your local community and see if you can settle on an approach to this as a group.

Recognise that being a ‘Shalom Activist’ presents many opportunities. Two important ones are: bringing about lasting positive change in a situation where injustice once prevailed, plus the opportunity to work together with people of other faiths and beliefs who share your passion to ‘put everything right’. Actively look for a mixed faith-belief group – that are working for a cause you feel passionately about – and join them. Learn from each one of them, as well as sharing your sources of inspiration as well.

A meditation

Imagine yourself as one of the zadik (‘righteous ones’) of Jewish legend (see p. 55), who share the pain of the world with God, and because of whom the world exists and without whom the world could not continue; their presence prevents God’s heart from breaking. Marked by humility, they work secretly, never acknowledging who they are. They have direct experience of the Shekinah (the unique presence of the Spirit of God) upon them. Embrace your calling as a zadik, reflect on how this reality will influence both your behaviour and your sense of identity. Note your reflections in your journal.