My Favorite books on NonViolence

I was on facebook the other night and my friend Justin reminded me of a quote my Stanley Haurewas which said, “The problem with Christian Nonviolence is that sometimes you have to watch others suffer for your convictions.” 

Of course, this as been the major topic of conversation for the last two days because everyone knows that when I am working through an idea, I am talking to everyone who will listen. 

I stumbled across a list of Nonviolent books today and thought that I would make a list of my own favorites as well.  These are not all books about nonviolence, but it is a list of books that brought me to my ideas on war, peace and violence.

In no particular order:

1. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
In the early chapters of the book is a wonderful story about how a priest handled an instance of theft from his home.  His response changed the direction of a man’s life forever.  I understand that this is literature, but I think that one action can still have that power in reality. 

2. The Politics of Jesus – John Howard Yoder
Reshaped the way I view political institutions in America and is one of the most cited books by writers on the issue today.

3. A Different Drum: Communitymaking and Peace – Scott Peck
Peck’s book deals mostly with how we live in peace with the people around us in order to make our whole community more Christ-like. 

4. Jesus and Nonviolence – Walter Wink
Usually when a person writes a book on an issue, thenit is  followed up with another book on the same idea, they tend to be the same book.  This is not the case with this and the previous book by Yoder.  Though essentially the same premise, this book packs new theological insights. 

5. The Rifle – Gary Paulsen
Sometimes you read a book or see a movie and something about the time you read it, something about when you find it, has an effect on you that ripples through the rest of your life.  This book was one of those.  It follows the life of a rifle made for the Civil War.  From battle, to closet, to attic, the hanging over a fireplace, but it’s a reminder that no matter what you decide to do with a gun, there is really one thing that they are made for. 

6. The Wringer by Jerry Spinelli
This book, like The Rifle  was something I read when I was young but changed my thinking pretty deeply.  The book follows a kid who has to decide if he’s going to follow in the practices of his community or questions whether or not they are right.


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About coleyoakum

My name is Coleman Yoakum. I am formerly a student at Harding University. Today you can find me in Detroit Michigan doing what I can to expand the Kingdom of God and preparing to start an intentional community in Pontiac. I enjoy reading, writing, photography, music and politics. I am sure that all of these things will find their way to this blog from time to time. Twitter: coleyoakum Facebook: Coleman Yoakum Email: Flickr:

2 responses to “My Favorite books on NonViolence”

  1. Angela says :

    Thanks for the link to the list (and your personal list) of nonviolent books. As I was going over the titles it occurred to me that Connor is wearing his “nonviolence or nonexistence” t-shirt that we picked up at the King Center. I’m so grateful that my children are growing up surrounded by young men and women who are passionate about love and peace and justice. Thanks for being one of those men!

  2. coleyoakum says :

    I am glad to have friends who are committed to raising their kids in a way that provides nonviolence as an option to think about.

    Thanks for showing me how to use teachable moments for when (to be read: if) I have kids one day.

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