Twelve Weeks of Studying Nonviolence at the State Capitol

Creative Nonviolence needs space to grow in me. Becoming gun-woke is inviting me to learn how to see God’s Presence more clearly in conflict and violence, so that I might better join the work of Spirit there.

Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living is a study program for learning, practicing, and experimenting with the power of creative nonviolence to transform our lives and our world. It is a 2005 revised and expanded version of From Violence to Wholeness produced by Pace e Bene (Italian for “peace and all good”) Nonviolence Service.

Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and president of the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence says, “It is only when the individual becomes peaceful that the world will become peaceful. Engage is the way to transform the self.”

Michael Nagler, founder of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at U.C.-Berkley says, “This book is a toolkit for salvation. Beta-tested in the laboratory of hundreds of workshops, it spans the whole field of necessary knowledge to save the world, from the loftiest reaches of theory to how to use a flipchart. No doubt there will be many more handbooks like it in the years to come, but at present this is the only one I know of, and every community should have one.”

Since 1997, twenty thousand people have participated worldwide. It has provided participants with a vision, method, and skills to challenge and transform patterns and policies of violence in their lives and in the larger world, including:

*the residents of a housing project in a Midwestern city in the U.S. who used this process for a year to constructively transform the despair, rage, injustice, and violence they faced in their interpersonal relationships and in the midst of dehumanizing conditions. After this yearlong program, a pattern of suicide and physical violence ended.

*a statewide coalition that used this process for training and strategizing in mounting a long-term campaign to stop state budget cuts.

*communities who have used this process in areas of war and intense social conflict, including hundreds of Colombians who traveled through numerous militarized zones to take part.

Copies of the paperback workbook are easily purchased online. The United Methodist Church located next to the Lansing State Capitol building has generously permitted me and any others to meet there from 10am-noon each Wednesday throughout the summer. To close the study time each week, I plan to stand in front of the Capitol, near the statue of war governor Austin Blair, practicing a peace prayer for 22 minutes in support of those grieving the precious 22 lives needlessly lost from us on May 24, 2022. For more info, feel free to email me at lseto@bu.edu.

May God bless the work of peace in all its forms in this beautiful world today. Amen.

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