Thursday, January 22, 2009

Persistent Questions

I love to read. I read a lot. Whether it’s The New Yorker magazine, a novel, a cookbook, a biography, or the labels on canned goods I’m always reading something.

This week I finished A PERSISTENT PEACE by John Dear SJ. It was highly recommended to me; actually thrust upon me by an enthusiastic follower of non-violence and one of Dear’s biggest supporters. My interest was piqued and luckily the library had an available copy.

For anyone who doesn’t know John Dear is a Jesuit Priest who believes in and wholeheartedly embraces non-violence. He lives an impressive life. He’s been arrested nearly a hundred times in his pursuit of peace. He’s authored over twenty-five books. He’s travelled the world. He was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize.

Unfortunately the book asks more questions than it answers. I kept asking myself who is this man and why has he stayed within the confines of a church that doesn’t approve of him.

Dear strives with every breath to live the life of Jesus, which he mentions way too much throughout the book. I guess you could call him the ultimate Jesus fan and Jesus wannabe.

I wanted badly to embrace his story and be inspired. I wasn’t.

Each chapter flies through chunks of his life without going very deep, and that’s the problem. I began to feel like he would go to every demonstration for potential celebrity rather than the cause. I started to doubt his sincerity.

I Googled Dear and watched a few videos of him speaking. During his speeches his passion is evident, and my doubt began to fade. Maybe the book should have come with an accompanying DVD.

I respect Dear’s vision, but wish he let someone else write his biography. Maybe then we would have gotten a glimpse to the real man.

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