I found this great book that is a collection of short writings, essays, and letters from religious leaders that address issues of peace and non-violence. From Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King jr. to Thich Nhat Hanh, Bonhoeffer, Gandhi, etc. all have incredible insight concerning the relationship between God, society, man, violence, and peace.
A section from this book entitled I Believe is what I wanted to share with you. I read with a pretty critical eye most days anyways, but I especially had my critical eyes focused when I came across this piece called I Believe. Yet, I found that my theology agrees with almost every line of this poem of sorts. It is really long, so I highlighted that lines that really stuck out to me.
I believe in God
I believe in Jesus Christ
I believe in Man.
I believe in God as the infinite power which is the reason for my being.
I believe in Jesus Christ as major revelation of God.
I believe in man as the house of GOd, created in his image.
I believe that my finite person is incapable of ever comprehending the infinite, yet God reveals himself to me daily through myself and relations with others, through the lives of men and women throughout history, and ultimately through the life of Christ.
I believe that through Jesus Christ, the man from Nazareth, God reveals to me the life I should live.
I believe God lives within me and all of mankind.
I believe the basis of life is love: love on oneself, love of one's neighbor, as as Christ has said, love of one's enemies.
I believe we are meant to live in harmony.
I believe that when we seek this harmony with the motivations of love, we glorify God as he has commanded.
I believe in the basic law of God: Thou shall not kill.
I believe in the basic law of God: Thou shall have no other gods before me.
I believe that since God lives within each of us and all of us, the service of man is the service of God; therefore the destruction of man is the profaning of God.
I believe in non-violence as witnessed by the life of Christ.
I believe the laws of man must become secondary when they conflict with the natural laws of God.
I believe life must be a witness.
I believe this witness must be total, a commitment of all one's talents to the glory of God.
I believe this witness must work to overcome national, racial, economic, political, and cultural divisions to unite mankind in peace.
I believe the way of God is the way witnessed by Christ which is the way of peace.
I believe peace is found through its pursuit.
I believe God is revealed through the pursuit of peace.
I believe to search for the revelations of God is to work to know God.
I believe to seek God is to know God.
I believe God reveals himself through revelations of the soul.
I believe the soul is revealed through the process of the search for it.
I believe the search takes many individual and collective forms.
I believe it is found in the development of creativity which is within all of us, which we must work to free for the collective use in the service of man, is again the revelation of God.
I believe it is most found in the service of my fellow man as witnessed by the life of Christ, the man closest to God.
I believe just as Christ's life is a witness to the laws of God, my life must be a witness to my search of him through my service to man.
I believe therefore that I could not kill another man nor could i in good conscience serve or involve myself in any system, nor support in any way, the creation or continuation of any process which seeks to or results in the killing (I would add suffering) of another man.