Six points of view. First, MCC Canada Executive Director Rick Cober Bauman responds to a question many have asked him: Does MCC’s voice of non-violent, non-military responses to violence have credibility in the face of Russian military aggression? Second, Anabaptist World editor Paul Schrag writes that Mennonite Brethren pastor Maxym Oliferovski wouldn’t condemn fellow Ukrainians who take up arms in the fight. “For his people,” writes Schrag, “the hard questions about pacifism — ‘what would you do if . . .?’ — are not hypothetical now.” Shrag notes that in the civil war that followed the Bolshevik Revolution, Mennonite men organized armed selbstschutz (self-defense) units to defend their villages. Third, in an open letter to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, the president of the Mennonite World Conference wrote that “When Peter pulled out a sword, Jesus told him to put it away.” Fourth, Marie Dennis of Pax Christi International and the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative argues that Ukraine shows we must reject the possibility that any war can be just. Fifth, in Parsing Pacifism: Ukraine’s Mennonite Heritage Shapes Evangelical Responses to Russia, Christianity Today magazine reports on Anabaptists wrestling with the challenge of trauma and forgiveness, and differing views on nonviolence between older and younger generations. “Most people in our churches will not pick up a gun, but we will not condemn a soldier,” says one pastor from the Association of Mennonite Brethren Churches of Ukraine. Finally, justice and peace scholar Eli McCarthy at Georgetown University offers five ways to support non-violent resistance in Ukraine, including not dehumanizing adversaries even when they commit great wrongs.
(Recommended reading from our April 2022 Global Briefing)