The Passion of Jesus, the NonViolent Revolutionary

This blog is an attempt to ‘keep alive the memory of the Passion’ of Jesus, as Passionists say. It is an attempt to ‘blow the dynamite of Catholic social teaching’ as Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, used to say. The Passion of Jesus Christ continues in our world today in the crucified of today, the crucified people and the crucified earth. Our crucified God continues to suffer with them and in them. Jesus the non-violent revolutionary showed us and taught us what it means to love and suffer as God does. 

My hope is that this blog will inspire and challenge. That it will communicate what I’ve been up to and why. That I will be able to share with those who read it my thoughts on what the world, the Gospel and the God of Jesus Christ call us to.

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A month of Faith and Resistance

It has been a busy month. It was great to be at the launch of the Faith and Resistance Network on July 15th. http://www.faithandresistanceblog.wordpress.com I believe the Gospel based non-violent direct action we are trying to support and promote through the network are a true way of ‘keeping alive the memory of the passion’ of Jesus, as well as a realistic effort to ‘explode the dynamite’ of the Gospel.

F+R Launch cropped

(Above: Faith and Resistance Network launch)

As an example of the kind of the resistance meant, on July 6th – 7th I took part in a protest outside of, and then a blockade of the UAV Engines factory in Shenstone, just to the north of Birmingham. On the 3rd anniversary of Israel's assault on Gaza where over 2,000 civilians, including over 500 children, were killed, activists from around the UK shut down the Israeli death drone factory UAV Engines (Elbit Systems) near Lichfield.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170707-uk-protest-shuts-backbone-of-israeli-drone-factory/

The factory is owned by Elbit Systems, the biggest arms Israeli arms company. I’ve been there before for small vigils and other protests in the last three years ago. The factory makes engines for Elbit drones, many of which are sold to the Israeli military, who have used them to bomb Gaza, among other things. Later on I was blocking a gate with a chain wrapped round me, and was one of five arrested. We were taken to Burton police station and held from noon till 2am.

As I see it, we were keeping alive the memory of the passion of Gaza, and entering into the dynamics of the cross. The practice of evangelical non-violent resistance is good news in that it promotes conversion in the sinner, the oppressor, and breaks out of the spiral of violence. 

I’ve also beeen helping to gather Christians to take part in the ‘No Faith In War’ day of vigils and direct action, as part of the Stop the Arms Fair week of action before the DSEi Arms Fair. www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk/events/stop-the-arms-fair-week-of-action/

My faith was and is nourished by being part of the ‘great tradition’ of the Church, as seen in the example of the Saints and mystics. In an effort to return the favour, to share an experience of life among the poor and of a Gospel radicalism that is yeast in the dough, we invited Bishop John Sherrington of Westminster Diocese to visit to the London Catholic Worker: www.indcatholicnews.com/news/33002

These are connections of faith and resistance. That is, with Bishops and parishioners on the one hand, and  Palestine Solidarity activists – secular, atheist, Muslim as well as Christian – on the other. This I believe to be significant, to bridge the gaps in our world, to enable mutual cross fertilisation of traditions and movements. This is akin to where Jesus stood too. He shared the life of the poor, was faithful to yet critical of his tradition, and sought to resist the powers of his time, with zealots, rebels and and prophets among his followers and inspiration.