Living Without Enemies: Being Present in the Midst of Violence

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InterVarsity Press, May 31, 2011 - Religion - 144 pages
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With senseless violence occurring throughout society, people are suffering and communities are groaning. Fear and not knowing where to begin hold many back from doing anything at all. But is "doing something" really what is most needed? Marcia Owen and Samuel Wells come together to tell the story of a community's journey through four different dimensions of social engagement. After attempts to seek legislative solutions led nowhere, a religious coalition began holding prayer vigils for local victims of gun violence. It was then that Owen discovered the beauty of simply being present. Through her friendships with both victims and offenders, Owen learned that being present was precisely the opposite of violence--it was love. And to truly love others as God loves us meant living without enemies and taking small steps toward reconciliation. Owen and Wells offer deep insights into what it takes to overcome powerlessness, transcend fear and engage in radical acceptance in our dangerous world. Your view of ministry will be altered by this poignant tale of coming face-to-face with our God who loves boundlessly and has no enemies.

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About the author (2011)

Samuel W. Wells is vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, and visiting professor of Christian Ethics at King's College, London. He was previously dean of Duke University Chapel and research professor of Christian ethics at Duke Divinity School. His pastoral experience before coming to Duke included a spell as a community worker in inner-city Liverpool. He served four parishes as a Church of England priest from 1991-2005. Most of this time was spent in the post-industrial North East and in a socially disadvantaged neighborhood in East Anglia. He also served suburban and urban village communities in Cambridge. From 1998-2003 he was closely involved in establishing a community-led development trust, the first such organization in the East of England. During this time he also launched a non-profit organization offering disadvantaged children opportunities to discover wonder and joy through creative play. Wells is the author of numerous books including Transforming Fate Into Destiny, Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics, God's Companions, Speaking the Truth: Preaching in a Pluralistic Culture and Be Not Afraid: Facing Fear with Faith.

Marcia A. Owen is executive director of the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham (RCND). She has also served as a sales and marketing manager and lay leader in the local United Methodist Church. In addition to her contracted duties she continues to be an active volunteer with RCND since joining the Coalition in 1993.

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