This year's distinguished lecturer is Fr. John Dear--an internationally known activist for peace and nonviolence, and friend of Henri Nouwen. And someone whom I've known for many years and deeply respect. His lecture on the spirituality of peace-making is on Monday, Sept. 27, at 7:30pm in Craig Chapel of Drew Theological School.
Fr. John Dear is a Jesuit priest, pastor to the poor, peacemaker, organizer, lecturer, and author/editor of 25 books, including The God of Peace: Toward a Theology of Nonviolence, and his autobiography, “A Persistent Peace.”
Writings on Peace and Justice by Henri Nouwen, edited by Fr. John Dear, SJ. is one of the text books I use in my courses and seminars on the spirituality of Henri Nouwen.
What I like most about this book is how John knitted together the various strands of Henri Nouwen’s experiences and reflections on social justice and peacemaking, including:
- marching with Martin Luther King Jr, from Selma to Montgomery in 1965
- speaking at a moratorium rally against the Vietnam War in 1972;
- his Good Friday Peace Action –a prayer vigil at Groton, CT, in protest to the christening of the navy’s new Trident nuclear submarine called the ‘Corpus Christi’ (when I attended Yale in 1980);
- his participation in public protests at Nevada Test Sites calling for nuclear disarmament and nonviolent direct action against militarism;
- his ministry of solidarity with the poor in Peru and Guatemala (1981-82);
- his participation with Witnesses for Peace on the border of Honduras and Nicaragua (1983);
- his six-week national Peacemaking tour in north America seeking to raise public support to change US policies in Latin America under the Regan Administration (1983);
- living and working among the poor and broken in Latin American and at L’Arche community in Canada from 1986-1996).
- his prophetic call for inclusion and embrace of people with HIV/AIDS as beloved children of God in the 1980’s and 1990’s.