Local News

Peace activist to speak in Davis on Sunday

By From page A1 | February 05, 2014

John DearW

John Dear. Courtesy photo

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What: The Rev. John Dear will speak about “The Nonviolent Life”

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Davis Community Church Fellowship Hall, 421 D St.

“It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.”

— Martin Luther King Jr.

John Dear has made the quest for a nonviolent world his life’s work, and King’s saying his motto.

Dear has written 30 books on the subject, traveled the world’s war zones, been arrested 75 times and given thousands of lectures on peace around the country. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu even recently nominated Dear, a Catholic priest based in New Mexico, for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

On Sunday, Dear brings his message to Davis, a place he says is uniquely poised to help lead this quest for a nonviolent world.

“Davis and California are such important places for this,” Dear said Tuesday. “I really hope the people of Davis and Northern California will become leaders in this movement.”

This movement, he said, harkens back to the messages of King and Gandhi — messages Dear says have been increasingly lost in a world marked by mass shootings, war, self-harm and environmental destruction.

“We all have to wake up,” Dear said. “We are very, very sick right now. … Dr. King and Gandhi were right — our only hope is nonviolence.”

Dear says his most recent book, “The Nonviolent Life,” is the culmination of his life’s work and the message he has been spreading.

The book’s thesis, he said, is that nonviolence requires three simultaneous attitudes: nonviolence toward ourselves, nonviolence toward everyone around us and nonviolence globally.

The violence we do to ourselves, he said, is evident in everything from addiction to low self-esteem to suicide; the recent death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from a drug overdose, he said, is evidence of the way we hurt ourselves.

“It’s like an addiction, a plague, the violence we do to ourselves,” Dear said. “There is very little self-love.”

To change that, he said, “we have to let go of hurts and wounds.”

At the same time, Dear said, we have to work to stop the violence going on around us, whether to people in our community, or even our families, or to the planet itself.

That will require action on the part of everybody, he said.

“Nonviolence is not passivity,” Dear explained. “You have to get involved. Everybody has to get involved. It’s way beyond a political party … we’re all called to be peacemakers.”

It is truly a grassroots movement, Dear said, and one he will be promoting as he travels the country for the next six months.

Specifically, Campaign Nonviolence calls on everyone to take a pledge to foster active nonviolence in themselves and the world around them. Learn more at the website http://campaignnonviolence.org.

Dear will speak in Davis at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Fellowship Hall at Davis Community Church, 421 D St. His talk will be followed by a question-and-answer session and book-signings. Copies of “The Nonviolent Life” will be available for purchase and child care will be available during Dear’s talk.

Dear’s appearance in Davis is co-sponsored by Davis Community Church and the Cal Aggie Christian Association. Learn more about Dear at his website, www.fatherjohndear.org.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

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