If you've been paying attention to my Currently Reading bar, I've been on a bit of a pacifist kick. I'd say Anabaptist, but there have been a few Quaker books, too, and anyway, the specific books I've been reading are a bit more pacifist than Anabaptist- or Quaker-specific.
I probably mentioned this back in my #ItIsEnough post, but over the past six or eight months, I've made the transition from 2nd Amendment-loving conservative to pacifist moderate. I guess I'm a bit more liberal than moderate, but "liberal" always seems to imply Democrat in America, and I like to call myself an independent. Basically, I thought that wars were okay if they were justified and of course you could own a gun if you wanted to. Over many long conversations, mostly with my roommate, I came to realize I don't really think war is ever okay and I hate the idea of guns in general.
I joke that in a perfect world, there would be no war and no guns and nothing bad would ever happen. However, we do not live in a perfect world. However, I'm fine being called an idealist, and although this world will never be perfect, I want to do what I can to make it a little better. For me, that means opposing war and violence everywhere. And so I'm a pacifist.
I finished Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy the other day in the car on the way to New York, and everyone traveling with me quickly realized that I really like the Amish. You'd be surprised just how many times I managed to fit them into conversation. A friend and I were conducting a massive critique of Twilight on our way into Manhattan (we were brutal), and I even fit the Amish in with Twilight (can't quite remember how, though). The point is, I've always found people like the Amish and plain Mennonites so inspiring. There's something so incredibly compelling about their way of life that I can't ignore, and I think there's a lot to be learned from them. Pacifism is one. Forgiveness is certainly another. Their sense of community, their commitment to discipleship, the centrality of Jesus, the way they're in the world but not of it--all of it inspires me.
Of course, I'm not saying churches that aren't Anabaptist don't do these things; I think my home church in Chicago is an amazing example of discipleship and embodying the love of Christ. I just love the emphasis Anabaptism puts on these principles, and I love seeing how practicing these principles have transformed my life in such a short time. I'll go more into depth on this in a later post (boy, do I ever have a lot to say on this topic) when I have more time. Until then, I wish you all the best!
Because it seems appropriate: Peace be with you.