Pacifism and Power:
Exploring Protests and Policing
Exploration discussions on Wednesdays @ 7:30 p.m. via Zoom:
- September 9: Defunding the Police; FAQ about building a police-free future; “Defund the Police” is deeply Anabaptist; and other relevant material of interest from the list below
Below you will find a variety of resources to help you learn about and connect more deeply with issues of pacifism and power. The intent is not that you will read and engage with all of the items, but that you will choose a few that seem most interesting to you. All items are appropriate for all ages; those selected specifically for children are marked with an asterisk*.
Items are listed in four categories:
- Head: Readings and videos to help us learn about the topic
- Hands: Activities to engage with the topic
- Heart: Opportunities to reach out to others–within the church and beyond
- Spirit: Spiritual practices to help you connect more deeply with God
Please feel free to share your reflections and additional resources in the comments below.
things to think about
Mennonite Church USA statement on racial injustice
“Reflections on Protesting and Faith” from Mennonite Church USA
Mennonite Central Committee web page “Why are so many people incarcerated“
And MCC’s video “Mass incarceration and the Christian mandate” (16 minutes)
PeaceLab, from The Mennonite, has many good podcasts–choose one (or two)!
Some positive movement: “Atlanta to transform city jail into justice and equality center community space“
Here is a good introduction to the idea of prison abolition: “The Case for Abolition” by Ruth Wilson Gilmore and James Kilgore
And here’s a graphic art statement about prison abolition
A New York Times article: “Is Prison Necessary?”
Podcast about mass incarceration and the history of the US criminal justice system from Throughline.
Trevor Noah interviews guests about what it means to defund/abolish the police (22 minute video)
Here is an organization that promotes a world without police
And here are some answers to frequently asked questions about building a police-free future.
Why “Defund the Police is Deeply Anabaptist” by Mennonite pastor Hillary Watson.
Podcast on the history of policing in the US from Throughline.
A 4-minute video introduction to the idea of defunding police.
Here is a discussion on the “Fictions and Futures of Transformative Justice“
An academic article on Mennonites and policing
“Must Christian Pacifists Reject Police Force?” article by Gerald Schlabach
An issue of Conrad Grebel Review on Policing
Audio and video stories about youth encounters with police in Chicago
*Sesame Street’s videos on “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration“
Imagining a World Without Prisons 51-minute video
A 15-minute TED Talk on What a world without prisons could look like
Revisited podcast on abolishing prisons
- The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale
- Angela Davis’ 2003 book Are Prisons Obsolete? (full text online)
- The Unconquerable World by Jonathan Schell
- The Movement Makes us Human by Joanna Shenk and Clayborne Carson
Other resource lists:
ways to reach out
Share one of the resources from the “head” section with a friend or family member, then talk with them about it.
Talk with a police officer about the work they do. How do they feel about their contribution to the community? What aspects of their job do they wish were different? What support do they need?
Talk with a person who has been incarcerated or had a family member incarcerated. What was that experience like? What would have helped prevent the situation? What reforms/transformations do they think are most important?
Participate in the advocacy work of Mennonite Central Committee.
*Listen to this song by John McCutcheon and talk about how people can work together to make a difference.
things to do
Check out the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams. You can read about their efforts, sign up for their newsletter, sign a letter, and watch a webinar.
Learn more about Black Lives Matter
*Make a protest sign. What do you want to say to the world?
Learn about protests that are happening near you. Consider joining one or supporting it in another way.
ways to connect with God
Make a prayer list of organizations and individuals working on justice issues you care about. Pray for them on a regular basis.
*Invite children to contribute to this list and join you in prayer.
Listen to some songs of protest.
Read this “Sermon for Yom Kippur 5778: Another World is Possible.“
Listen to a protest speech from Pastor Mike McClure Jr.
Pastor Joanna’s sermon on Acts 3:1-4:4: Annoying the Authorities. (You may have already heard this one.)