Wake Up, Human 016: The Power of Nonviolence

A conversation with Lorin Peters

I talk with Lorin Peters, a physicist, teacher, and lifelong activist for nonviolence and peace. Our conversation centers on themes of war, peace, and religion, and some of the ways in which nonviolence can wake us up as a spiritually and socially transformative power. It’s inspiration for questioning the status quo.
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* In the episode intro I share Lorin’s bio, followed by some brief introductory comments on nonviolence. The interview starts at 9:15.

Show Notes

It is with great love that I share this conversation with Mr. Lorin Peters on the power of nonviolence.

Lorin is a physicist, a teacher, and a lifelong activist for nonviolence and peace. He’s also someone I greatly admire. For over 50 years, he’s devoted himself to protesting violent systems and structures and educating on the alternatives. Lorin’s Mennonite and Catholic faith informs his activism, and the marriage of spirituality and social justice are at the core of his work. 

I met Lorin through a shared dedication to nonviolence, and we’ll talk about nonviolence a lot in this episode. Our conversation explores themes of war, peace, and religion, and some of the ways in which nonviolence can wake us up as a spiritually and socially transformative power.

We’ll make an effort to offer a definition of nonviolence, which is not always easy to define. We’ll explore the relationship between Christianity and nonviolence, some links between Jesus and Gandhi, and some places that the church might be missing the mark when it comes to honoring the nonviolent teachings of Jesus. 

We’ll talk about the practice of unarmed civilian peacekeeping, the tragedy of moral injury and suicide in soldiers, and the questionable wisdom of the so-called just war theory. In addition, we’ll briefly touch on the relationship between financial investing and violence, and consider some ways we can invest our money without contributing to further violence and harm. Lorin will also share some of his personal stories and experiences along the way, including the story of the dream that jump started his nonviolent journey. 

Lorin is, in my mind, the real deal. He doesn’t just talk about peace, or love, or nonviolence. It’s really, really about that for him. It’s about ‘love your friends, and love your enemies just the same.’ I can’t say enough good things about this man, and I’m so glad the WUH podcast can offer a platform to amplify his voice.
Shout out to Christian Peacemaker Teams, now renamed as Community Peacemaker Teams, whose work is featured in the episode. And deep thanks to Michael Nagler at Metta Center for Nonviolence for your mentorship and inspiration. Without you this conversation would never have happened. 
May it be of benefit. 
And if you love the episode, please review + and share! 

Links and resources mentioned in the episode:

Lorin's recitations for Meditation:

Prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light; 
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek 
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive, 
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

The Beatitudes:

Blessed are the poor in sprit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you,
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven,
For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

~Matthew 5:3-12

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