Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.
Here are my beliefs. Beliefs about God, peacemaking, Israel/Palestine, and the intersection of those three things. These are my convictions about serving with Christian Peacemaker Teams in the village of At-Tuwani in the West Bank. I am welcome to questions, comments, and dialogue.
Oh, one more thing, click on the far top-right button of the document window to see the document full screen.
Just war theory has become a very malleable and subjective theory. Those desiring to provide a justification for a certain war often find any reason that provides "legitimate" justification for the use of lethal force. The problem is that the just war criteria is exactly that, a set of established criteria. Seven points need to be satisfied to establish the right to go to war. Often when Christians attempt to cite just war theory, these seven points are not met, or even acknowledged.
Even more, certain assumptions are usually made by proponents of this personal "just war" theory. Walter Wink, using the work of John Howard Yoder, identifies these assumptions. Wink identifies "that one's own family, friends, and compatriots are more to be loved, or are more beloved of God, than one's enemies. It assumes that the life of the attacker is worth less than that of the attacked. It assumes that responsibility for preventing evil is an expression of divine love even if it involves the death of the aggressor. And it assumes that letting evil happen is as blameworthy as committing it. It also assumes that tyranny is worse than war; that national sovereignty is essential for national identity and integrity; that the intention of liberating one's people from despotic rule authorizes the use of unloving methods; and that God is so interested in our nation and its political and economic system that everything must be risked to preseve it."
A starting point for us may be to actually use this criteria for just war. I am certainly willing to concede that Christian ethicists and theologians abiding by this criteria will avoid some unnecessary wars. Yet, Walter Wink pushes us further. Wink proposes that "we terminate all talk of just wars...'just war' sounds too much like 'war is justifiable'...Christians can no more speak of just war than of just rape, or just child abuse, or just massacres."
These suggestions are difficult, but we have seen in our history how very slippery the slope becomes when wars begin to be justified.
I am committed to working with Christian Peacemaker Teams for the next 3 years. I am headed to the South Hebron Hills in Palestine (also known as the West Bank or the Occupied Palestinian Territories). The village where I will be living is called At-Tuwani.
The work of Christian Peacemaker Teams in Palestine involves accompanying shepherds, farmers, and schoolchildren as they face the threat of violence while going about their daily lives. We also call the oppressors and the armed actors to accountability.
Of course there are more specifics and more things I don't know about the work yet, but that is the skeleton. I'll be roughing it in the village, no running water, 5 people sleeping in a room, limited electricity...but I am eager to do this work. I am eager to practically engage the question: What would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war?"
p.s. Shortly I will be posting two things:  A statement of conviction (why I am called to do this work) and  A support letter. So be on the lookout for those.