Letter to an Experimenter with Truth

Dear Jane,

So the movie Gandhi touched and affected you to such an extent that you feel drawn to begin your own "experiment with truth." In your letter you ask, "Is there any Christian group participating in a Gandhi-like campaign against the arms race?" and you add, "I think I could devote my life to such an effort."

I'm enclosing a list of Christian communities engaged in nonviolent campaigns to rid the world of nuclear arms. Many of these people have been on the cutting edge of the peace issue for more than a decade. Their witness, writings, and lives have called many Christians, myself included, to deeper gospel commitment and courage. The debt we owe them is immeasurable.

When you visit these communities, however, go with an open and questioning heart. You owe it to yourself as part of your own experiment with truth to ask hard questions, to pursue the difficult, perhaps painful, answers.

Check first to see if masochism is the unspoken buzz word. Does the group use suffering, rather than love, to prove nonviolence? It's easy to spot: conversations will always bend toward civil disobedience and personal prison experiences. The value of any nonviolent action will be measured by the possible length of the jail sentence: the longer the term, the better the nonviolence. Whether the action communicates with the general public is secondary; the action is "serious," that is, "truthful," because "we could get six years."

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