John Dear on discipleship and civil disobedience
“I am trying to follow Jesus. Jesus was nonviolent and practiced civil disobedience and was eventually arrested, jailed and executed. I’m supposed to be his follower, and in this world of total violence, injustice, poverty, war and nuclear weapons, it seems inevitable that I, too, must engage in nonviolent civil disobedience.”
It is for these beliefs and the actions that have come out of them that theologian and activist John Dear has spent 9 months in prison, a year and a half under house arrest, and has been arrested around 75 times for acts of civil disobedience.
Dear believes that nonviolent civil disobedience was an integral part of who Jesus was, and that if he as a disciple truly wants to follow the teachings of Jesus he must also be engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience against the evils of empire in order to follow the way of the cross.
“What does it mean to take up the cross and follow Jesus? We came to the conclusion that the cross is nonviolent resistance to the culture of war and empire; it was the natural public consequence from the state for our nonviolent civil disobedience to war and empire.”