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.
(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.
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.