Walter Wink is professor of biblical interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City and a leading advocate of nonviolence. He is the author of a seminal trilogy on engaging principalities and powers; his most recent book is The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium (Doubleday, 1998). He was interviewed in early April by Fletcher Farrar, editor of Messenger, the Church of the Brethren magazine, where (in the May issue) more of this interview appears.
Q. What scriptures come to mind [in regard to the bombing of Kosovo and Serbia]?
Walter Wink: Jesus weeping over Jerusalem: "If you had only recognized the things that make for peace." Kosovo and Serbia certainly havent been able to live peacefully with their own people. Thats the tragedy behind everything else that has happened. We have tried to come in there and impose peace by force. The moment we do that, the more these groups become ethnically identified and the more impossible it is to envision any kind of future in which they could live together peacefully with other ethnic groups.
Jesus statements about loving the enemy are the ultimate challenge to that whole region. Until that happens, there is no future for the former Yugoslavia. Jesus teachings about turning the other cheek would certainly be appropriate. But the moment for those who had that kind of response seems to have passed.
Q. I am surprised to hear you say that there is a time when all hope is lost for nonviolence. What do we do now?