“In the Second World War there were over 10,000 loyal Canadians who served Canada without weapons. What were they called?” This is the question Conrad Stoesz has been asking students at the Red River Heritage Fair for more than a decade.
Chilean mothers of the “disappeared” gather, holding signs of their missing loved ones. (Photo by Kena Lorenzini, from Wikimedia Commons)
When I was a young child, my family lived in Chile, where my parents worked at an inter-Protestant seminary. We happened to be there to witness the end of the brutal, U.S.-backed military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, as he was peacefully voted out of power in the late 1980s. Even as a child, I knew about the dictatorship’s practice of “disappearing” people—of kidnapping students and dissenters, torturing and often killing them in secret, and then denying any such people had been detained. They were simply gone without a trace.
The bleeding woman touches Jesus’ cloak, in an image from the catacombs in Rome. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)
I got into an interesting discussion with a friend from my church recently. In adult ed., we were talking about liberation theology and its view of sin. (You can read about liberation theology and sin here.)
When I shared the story of my attack, I got a wide variety of responses from my friends, family, and co-workers. It is difficult to know what to say to people after things like this happen, so I was grateful whenever someone attempted to talk about it with me or to give me advice.
Akido is sometimes described as a nonviolent martial art. At the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute in Hiroshima, Japan, I had the privilege of learning a bit from a Japanese Mennonite professor and akido practitioner. I remember a few key points that seemed a fitting metaphor for following Jesus' nonviolent way.