Jesus is serious. John Dear became convinced of that during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the summer of 1984, as Israeli jets flew above him and dropped bombs on Lebanon. It was a few months before Dear entered the priesthood, and he had been meditating at the Chapel of the Beatitudes above the Sea of Galilee, he writes in Jesus the Rebel, Bearer of Gods Peace and Justice.
Dear looks to the gospels to explain his understanding of Jesus seriousness. He highlights specific narrativesfrom the beginning of Christs public ministry through the crucifixion and resurrection and post-resurrection appearancesto develop a portrait of Jesus who is beloved and contemplative. He is also radical and committed to nonviolent acts of resistance to an evil, militaristic state and the hypocritically pious authorities of his institutionalized religion. Christs example of revolutionary nonviolence, the author believes, calls all who would be his disciples to resist similar evil and hypocrisy.
Deara peace activist, author of several books on the theology of nonviolence, and director of the interfaith pacifist group Fellowship of Reconciliationwrites resolutely and directly without resorting to the latest divinity school lingo. He possesses a wonderful ability to make the gospels plain and accessible. His commentaries are enlivened by his years of studying the gospelsand trying to live their full implications. The balance of study and the lessons derived from experiencehis own and that of others he believes exemplify gospel nonviolenceyield some uncommon insights that compel the reader to see the gospels in new ways.