Walter Wink, in his book Engaging the Powers, notes that, “Nonviolence is no longer a concern limited to pacifists [or Mennonites/Anabaptists] but has moved into the forefront of human events as perhaps the only viable means to a desirable future. Nonviolence recognizes that the most basic of human rights, is the right not to be killed. On one thing, at least, virtually all Christians agree: . . . God’s reign itself will be nonviolent” (p. 173). Below are some additional resources to learn more about what Mennonites believe about peace.
- Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians by John Paul Lederach (2014). What if reconciliation is central to the biblical message? And what if Christians, who have been missing the mark for millennia, are waking up to the reconciling mission of God? Serves as a guidebook for Christians seeking a scriptural view of reconciliation and practical steps for transforming conflict.
- The Upside-Down Kingdom by Donald B. Kraybill (2011). The kingdom of God announced by Jesus appeared upside down in first-century Palestine. Jesus wins by serving and triumphs by losing. Today, God’s way still looks upside down as it breaks into diverse cultures around the world.
- Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus by Benjamin Corey (2014). Corey confronts our vision of Jesus head-on, asking the hard question: Is what we see and hear in the modern church all there is to the message of Jesus . . . or is there a more radical side to Jesus than we have been led to believe?
- The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr (2002). How should we as a society respond to wrongdoing? When a crime occurs or an injustice is done, what needs to happen? What does justice require? Restorative justice is the process of involving, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offense and to collectively identify and address harms, needs, and obligations, in order to heal and put things as right as possible.
- Fight: A Christian Case for Nonviolence by Preston Sprinkle (2013). Sprinkle, a gun-owning believer, asks Christians to look anew at Christianity and violence. The book tackles difficult parts of the Old Testament to argue that nonviolence is at the core of God’s plan for humanity.
- A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor’s Journey toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace by Brian Zahnd (2014). We know Jesus the Savior, but have we met Jesus, Prince of Peace? When did we accept vengeance as an acceptable part of the Christian life? Using his own journey from war crier to peacemaker and his in-depth study of peace in the Scriptures, author and pastor Brian Zahnd reintroduces us to the gospel of peace.
- Making Friends among the Taliban: A Peacemaker’s Journey in Afghanistan by Jonathan Larson (2012). Larson retraces his friend Dan Terry’s nearly 40 years of humanitarian work in Afghanistan. Dan found improbable friendships across the front lines of conflict and inspired small Afghan communities to find a better way of life. This inspirational narrative of Dan’s life and friendships offers a model for living authentically wherever we are.
- How Christians Made Peace with War by John Driver (2007). Driver tells the history of the early Christian church from the end of the New Testament to the start of Christendom brought on by Constantine.
- 366 Ways to Peace is a perpetual calendar (usable every year) of quotations on peace, from the well known to the unknown, for every day of the year. Also includes Scriptures to go with each quote. Compiled by Melodie Davis.
- Waging Peace: Muslim and Christian Alternatives (2011). This hour-long documentary is about overcoming mistrust, hatred, and violence. It looks at the history of peacemaking in both Christian and Muslim traditions and includes stories of how these faith groups work for peace. The goal of the documentary and the online supplementary material is to help nurture an atmosphere in society for better understanding of one another and a more peaceful future for our world. Produced by MennoMedia.
- Weaving Life: The Legacy of Peacebuilder Dan Terry. American Dan Terry and his family spent 40 years devoted to the people, the culture, and the landscapes of Afghanistan. Tragically, in August 2010, Dan was among 10 humanitarian aid workers assassinated in Afghanistan. Weaving Life tells of the way Dan wove relationships, joy, partnership, and understanding into his work in Afghanistan. This 2012 documentary tells his story.
- Pax Service: An Alternative to War.This 43-minute historical documentary aired on Hallmark Channel in November 2008 and is now available on DVD with bonus material. The program traces the history of Pax and tells the stories of Pax volunteers working in Germany, Austria, Greece, Paraguay, and the Congo. Includes a discussion guide with optional English and Spanish subtitles. Produced by Mennonite Media.
- Also watch this seven-minute summary excerpt from the full-length documentary on YouTube.
- Peace DVD.A study DVD inspiring youth—and adults—to imagine what the world would be like if every person tried to make it a more peaceful place. This two-hour DVD features 24 stories of people making choices about food, work, and actions that lead to peace. Peace DVD is designed to be used in a six-session series, or as a one-time session with at-home assignments. Assignments assume web access to peaceDVD.com. Contents include Peace with God, Peace and Community, Peace and the Earth, Peace and Service, Peace and Nation. Produced by Mennonite Media.
- Thermostat. Produced by Mennonite Central Committee, this is a resource for youth on war, peace, and Christian conscience. Thermostat features a DVD and study guide with 33 sessions divided into seven units: Peacemaking, Imagination, Allegiance, Security, Terrorism, Camouflage, and Nonviolence. You can mix and match to choose what interests your group most. Sessions include Bible studies, role plays, personal stories, video clips, dramas, handouts, background reading, and more.
Listed below are just a few of the thousands of websites that explore alternatives to violence in our world. These are sites that we recommend for one reason or another. Some are religious and others are secular.
- Conscientious Objection in America: Primary Sources for Research. Swarthmore College Peace Collection archivist Anne Yoder has created an information-rich website that provides basic facts on the subject and points to opportunities for in-depth research. Enhanced by photographs and other images, the site includes a brief historical outline of conscientious objection in America from the Revolutionary War to the present, stories and accounts of conscientious objectors, a listing of over 175 archival sources from over 30 U. institutions, and links to non-archival sources. The primary sources range from personal papers of individuals who declared themselves to be objectors to war, to records of organizations that worked on their behalf. New sources are being added as they become known.
- Alternative Service in the Second World War: Conscientious Objectors in Canada: 1939–1945
- Statement on “Peace, Justice, and Nonresistance” from the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective
- Peace and Justice Support Network of Mennonite Church USA
- Peacelab Podcast with Jason Boone and Hannah Heinzekehr
- “Agreeing and Disagreeing in Love.” Mennonite statement on how to relate to those with whom we don’t agree.
- Peace and Activist Links. The Human Rights Library of the University of Minnesota provides an extensive list of helpful links.
- Teaching and Learning for Peace. Peace-building stories, songs, and activities for children and adults.
Printed materials (pamphlets, packets):
The materials that follow are available from Mennonite Central Committee. For information on acquiring them, contact MCC: in Canada email firstname.lastname@example.org, in the United States email email@example.com.
- Alternatives. Twelve-page booklet designed to help youth find post–high school education and training without joining the military. Includes a list of books, websites, and agencies.
- Christian Peacemaker Registration Forms. File with your church a statement of your beliefs about war, to document your beliefs before a time when they would be needed. Based on US Selective Service Form 150. Also available in Spanish.
- A Commitment to Christ’s Way of Peace. This brochure contains an inter-Mennonite statement on peace, recommended to churches for study. Available in Spanish, German, and French.
- What about War in the Old Testament? While the Old Testament includes many war stories, it also has many streams within it that point toward peace and God’s universal concern for all people.
- Who Is a Conscientious Objector? Deciding about War. A NISBCO (National Inter-religious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors) brochure outlines philosophical questions about war and peace.
Mennonite peace centers:
Center for Peace and Nonviolence
Kern Road Mennonite Church
18211 Kern Rd.
South Bend, IN 46614
Dallas Peace Center
9120 Ferguson Rd.
Dallas, TX 75228
Iowa Peace Network
4211 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312
Newton Area Peace Connections
PO Box 85
Newton, KS 67114
Seniors For Peace
1900 South Main Street
Goshen, IN 46526