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Learning Opportunities

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* Read & Practice Peacemaking

Now reading Just and Unjust Peace by Daniel Philpott.

Meets monthly.

Books on our Peacemaker's Bookshelf:

* Drone Warfare : Killing By Remote Control by Medea Benjamin. A well-researched look into drones and the ethics of drone use.

* Mighty Be Our Powers by Leymah Gbowee. This book is on the United Methodist Women's reading list. By Nobel Peace Prize winner Gbowee, it is her autobiography as a leader of the women's movement for peace in Liberia. Gbowee's very personal revelations of her own struggles in the midst of her country's struggles create a sort of true grit inspiration for humble, striving-against-all-odds peacemakers everywhere. We also showed the movie Pray the Devil Back to Hell as a community peace event. Very powerful.

* War and the Christian Conscience by Joseph J. Fahey. This book is also on the United Methodist Women's reading list. It contains a sort of workbook to sorting out one's own values and opinions when it comes to issues of war and peace. We found the different values frameworks helpful, and while we didn't think the workbook questions were as helpful, we can see revisiting this book for teaching purposes in the future.

* From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Democracy by Gene Sharp. We picked this one because it has been translated into a dozen languages and has been found useful around the world. Our favorite part is Appendix A, where Dr. Sharp has listed all of the nonviolent elements of a grassroots strategy for regime change.

* Maria Armoudian's Kill the Messenger. What role do the media have in creating the conditions for atrocities such as occurred in Rwanda? Conversely, can the media be used to preserve democracy and safeguard the human rights of all citizens in a diverse society? How will the media, now global in scope, affect the fate of the planet itself. Veteran journalist Maria Armoudian explores these intriguing questions and more in this in-depth examination of the media's power to either help or harm.

* Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy. Eric Metaxas details Bonhoeffer's role in religious resistance to Nazism, and provides a compelling account of the faith journey that eventually involved the Lutheran pastor in unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Hitler. Insightful and illuminating.

* Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, by Immaculee Libagiza, and A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah, both stories of young people who have not only survived horrific tragedies, but transcended them with a faithfulness that’s amazing to comprehend.

* Hector Aristizabal’s The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of Art, Activism, and Transformation, a powerful and personal narrative of a man who has been transformed from torture victim to spiritual guide. Connected to our work with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.

* Mark Braverman’s Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land. The book charts Braverman's journey as an American Jew struggling with the difficult realities of modern Israel.

* Boulding & Ikeda's Into Full Flower, a conversation between a Quaker and a Buddhist about peacemaking at every level - from home to the UN. A peaceful read.

* Aaron Glantz's The War Comes Home, a frightening, compassionate look at the lack of care our veterans receive when they return broken and beat-up from war.

* Fitzgerald & Gould's Afghanistan: An Invisible History - An amazing (and, OK, amazingly dense history that helped our group understand more of what is happening in Afghanistan. We wish President Obama would read it, too.

* Chris Hedges' Empire of Illusion - Hedges will really wake you up to the ways in which Americans are being lured into an inattentive sleepiness to complex issues. An experienced journalist who is also a person of faith, Hedges nonetheless left us wound up with wariness, soothed only a little by the closing 2 pages about the triumph of hope. As Jesus-followers, we are left to work out faithful solutions on our own.

* Mark Kurlansky's Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea - We were so inspired by this book that we did additional research on history's courageous nonviolent heroes and worked up portrayals of them for Halloween and beyond. Easy to read, hard to put down.

* John Dear's Living Peace: A Jesuit priest and respected leader of the ecumenical peace movement, Dear led us through a journey of contemplation and action. His persistent call for peace and crazy, radical actions for peace both soothed and incited us.

* Michael Henderson's No Enemy to Conquer: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World: An amazing compilation of stories from every context in the world where enemies found each other and found forgiveness - Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Israel/Palestine, Nazi Germany, South Africa. In a world of violence, it's hard to believe that so many people are reaching out to one another to heal old wounds...so that we can go forward together in a new way.

* Code Pink's Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism: This anthology of peace advocacy draws on hundreds of leading female voices, each one taking risks and devoting her life to peacemaking in her own way. Our group learned a lot about who is out there doing what - and therefore we were pulled in many directions at once!

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