You are here

Call to nonviolence

"Be angry but do not sin." (Ephesians 4:26) This is Paul's clarion call for nonviolence. There is a lot to be angry about. Exploitation, oppression; those of high degree taking advantage over those of low or no degree. Paul's 4th and 5th chapter represent a virtual cathechism for how to live nonviolently in a violent world. "Do not let the sun go down on your anger" (4:26). Violence -- be it physical violence or verbal violence -- often springs from anger that won't go away. Let it go, Paul admonishes us. Several years ago, Ernesto Cortez, a community organizer for the Industrial Areas Foundation, wrote a book called Cold Anger. A second generation Mexican-American, Ernesto received a MacArthur Genius Fellowship for his work. Keeping his anger cold, so he could have an ongoing impact. Maintaining discipline and direction in the face of discrimination -- which he received regularly as a Latino growing up in Texas. "Take up the armor of God." (6:13) Not to go to war -- but to engage in the practice of nonviolence.


At the beginning of AA Meetings The 12 Promises are sometimes read. The 12 Promises are considered half of what is referred to as the 12 and 12. The first 12 refers to The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. The second 12 are The Twelve Promises. We are taught that if you do the step work suggested as a program for recovery in the Twelve Steps you get to realize the promises of sobriety as outlined in the Twelve Promises. The 12 and 12 along with the Big Book are the Gospels of AA, the canonical bedrock of a rich and divinely inspired recovery literature that has been and continues to be a miraculous grace for those suffering from the disease of alcoholism and drug addition.

The Tenth Promise states, "that we will intuitively know how to handle situations that once baffled us". When I was an active alcoholic challenging situations would often baffle me. Seemingly small inconveniences or the tiniest uneven ebbs and flows of daily living would empower my resentments. I would perceive these tiny bumps as personal affronts provoking an emotional response of rage and anger. My denuded spiritual condition crippled me. I was unable to dispassionately step back, be still, rationally consider circumstance and think a solution through and the proper manner of response to elicit a preferred and wholesome outcome.

My spiritual sickness made sure my anger was always stoking red hot. The Third Promise states that "we will comprehend serenity and know peace". Being still is a a precondition to comprehending and knowing serenity is only possible with the clarity of sober thought. The clarity of sober thought was made possible for me when I took up the armor of God and wrapped myself firmly in the truth of a recovery program. Keeping sober by doing the step work allows me to live in the serenity as one in the unconditional loving unity of the Holy Spirit.

I offer prayers to all the still sick and suffering that they may find a way to recovery and for those in recovery may they enjoy the grace of one more day of sobriety and the promise of an abundant life.


Peace and prayers to all the beloved,


Add new comment

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). The Communications Office of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark reserves the right not to publish comments that are posted anonymously or that we deem do not foster respectful dialogue.