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exploring violence & peace: an interview with nonviolence trainer simon moyle (part 1)

On life.remixed I have written often on issues of peace and violence from a theological and biblical perspective. The result has been a robust ongoing conversation as life.remixed readers have wrestled with articulating Christian responses to war and violence.

This has raised a variety of questions, some of which I have received many, many times throughout the life of this blog. To help respond to some of these questions I recently sought out a friend and nonviolence trainer, Simon Moyle.

Simon is an ordained Baptist Minister in Melbourne, nonviolence trainer with Pace e Bene Australia, husband, and father of three children. He is an antiwar activist and writer. You can read some of his work at New Matilda, Eureka Street, ABC Religion, The Drum and Waging Nonviolence.

This is the first of what will be a three part interview. Enjoy!

Simon, you are a peace activist who has been especially active in resisting Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan. How did you get involved in peace activism? Read the rest of this entry

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Q&R – bin laden and just war

A reader of life.remixed writes:

Hey Matt,

I was talking to a Christian guy yesterday about the killing of Bin Laden. He was saying that he believes governments are put into power by God, and so are given authority to protect/defend their nation in such a way as America did with Osama. His main argument came down to this – it is ok for soldiers to kill other soldiers in a war, as they are both willing participants and are therefore not innocent victims. What are your thoughts on that point? Is there ever a ‘just war’? He cited the war in Lebanon as support, saying that had the Christians not fought against the Muslim groups, Lebanon would now be under Sharia Law. From reading your blog [referring to this post – MCA] I think that I take a similar stance to you, but I am interested how you would respond to that argument.

Great question! I have dealt with this question somewhat in my post and review of Brian Walsh’s work – Remixing Romans 13.

To expand on that post I would want to challenge the idea that a government is ordained by God and therefore can kill; this conclusion somewhat defies logic: Read the rest of this entry

just war, or just plain war?

“I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.’ And I did, and then God would tell me, ‘George go and end the tyranny in Iraq,’ and I did.”
– George W. Bush

“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.”
– Ann Coulter

“A good butt-whipping and then a prayer is a wonderful remedy.”
– Fob James, Former Governor of Alabama

“AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharoah’s chariotters.”
– Jerry Falwell

“There is only one way to get rid of nuclear weapons… use them.”
– Rush Limbaugh

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
– Jesus in Luke 23:34

By all accounts, the life of Jesus paints a picture whereby the terms justice and violence fit together about as well as two corner pieces of a puzzle or two pieces of hook velcro. Yet Christians have, throughout history, engaged in horrifically violent activities.

It really does boggle the mind how the life of Jesus can be so ignored by people who claim to follow him. Despite the fact that the Sermon on the Mount is an incredibly non-violent manifesto, many Christians today still insist that violence is the way forward in our world.

Imagine it… violence bringing peace…
Read the rest of this entry

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