There are so many good books written on “Peace” and “Peace Studies,” we could write volumes of suggestions. Below are a few of Pastor Bob’s favorite books that will help introduce you or help you further develop your understanding of “peace.” If you would like more suggestions or a full copy of Pastor Bob’s bibliography from his doctoral dissertation on this subject, please contact him by email. Enjoy taking the time to explore and live a life a peace.
Introductory Books on Peace
- Practicing Peace: A Devotional Walk Through the Quaker Tradition, Catherine Whitmire From the author of last week’s recommendation Plain Living: A Quaker Path to Simplicity comes Practicing Peace: A Devotional Walk through the Quaker Tradition, a guide to the Quaker discipline of practicing peace for spiritual seekers of any religious tradition. Stories of successful nonviolent movements throughout history are partnered with quotes mined from over 350 years of Quaker teachings on peace. Query questions lead readers on a journey to self-discovery and through the stages of practicing peace: first by focusing inwardly, then turning their eyes to practice peace in the world around us.
- Christian Peace and Nonviolence: A Documentary History, Edited by Michael G. Long From the Sermon on the Mount to the twenty-first century, this comprehensive reader recounts the Christian message of peace and nonviolence. Through testimony by the confessors and martyrs of the early church, the voices of medieval figures like St. Benedict and St. Francis, as well as Erasmus, Lollards, Anabaptists, and Quakers abolitionists, Christian Peace and Nonviolence presents a coherent story in which the peace message of Jesus is restored to central place. Later sections highlight many of the great prophets of modern times, including Tolstoy, Dorothy Day, A.J. Muste, Thomas Merton, Daniel Berrigan, and Oscar Romero. Their challenge remains timely and urgent. As John Haynes Holmes observed, If war is right then Christianity is false, a lie.
Great Introductory Book for Group Study
- Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future, Margaret J. Wheatley “I believe we can change the world if we start talking to one another again.” With this simple declaration, Margaret Wheatley proposes that citizens band together with their colleagues and friends to create the solutions for social change, both locally and globally, that are so badly needed.
Recommended Voices on Peace
- The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr., editor Clayborne Carson Using Stanford University’s voluminous collection of archival material, including previously unpublished writings, interviews, recordings, and correspondence, King scholar Clayborne Carson has constructed a remarkable first-person account of Dr. King’s extraordinary life.
- The Nonviolent Alternative, Thomas Merton The writings in this work were precipitated by a variety of events during the last decades of Merton’s life – the civil rights and peace movements of the 1960s among them. His timeless moral integrity and tireless concern for nonviolent solutions to war are eloquently expressed.
- Gandhi and King: The Power of Nonviolent Resistance, Michael J. Nojeim (This was one of Pastor Bob’s most informative books in his dissertation studies.) The lives and work of Mohandis Karamchand Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. have much to teach us about nonviolent resistance to oppression. This book presents a comparative analysis of their legacies that demonstrates how powerful peace and love can be, even in the face of hate-filled oppression, aggression, and violence.
- Gandhi and Jesus: The Saving Power of Nonviolence, Terrence J. Rynne
Going Deeper with Peace and Possible Group Study Options
- The Politics of Jesus, John Howard Yoder “A standard in many colleges and seminaries, Yoder makes a strong case for the Anabaptist view of Jesus’ radical critique of society as well as for an intense, though pacifistic involvement.” This is a very difficult and challenging read – this may be best read in a reading group.
- Speak Truth to Power: A Quaker Search for an Alternative to Violence, American Friends Service Committee Click the title to read the document online.
- Covenant of Peace: The Missing Peace in New Testament Theology and Ethics, William M. Swartley “One would think that peace, a term that occurs as many as one hundred times in the New Testament, would enjoy a prominent place in theology and ethics textbooks. Yet it is surprisingly absent. Willard Swartley’s Covenant of Peace remedies this deficiency.”
- “If You Only Knew What Would Bring Peace”: Shalom Theology as the Biblical Foundation for Diversity, Terry McGonigal (Pastor Bob utilized this study for his dissertation – it looks at Shalom Theology from Genesis to Revelation. Very informative and a wonderful Biblical study. This is also available as an online document.