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For the past few weeks, I’ve been compiling material on ”just policing” and “just peacemaking” theory while I wait to hear if my paper proposal for the upcoming 5th Annual Conference on the Ethics of National Security Intelligence at Georgetown University has been accepted. The primary theorist of “just policing,” Gerald W. Schlabach — who labels himself a Mennonite Catholic (that is, a former Mennonite who became Catholic) — has a book coming out with Brazos Press in April entitled Unlearning Protestantism: Sustaining Christian Community in an Unstable Age, which, Schlabach indicates, is meant to look at what he says is the ”‘Protestant dilemma’ in ecclesiology, [that is,] how to build lasting Christian community in a world of individualism and transience”
Schabach is also the founder of Bridgefolk, which is:
a movement of sacramentally-minded Mennonites and peace-minded Roman Catholics who come together to celebrate each other’s traditions, explore each other’s practices, and honor each other’s contribution to the mission of Christ’s Church. Together we seek better ways to embody a commitment to both traditions. We seek to make Anabaptist-Mennonite practices of discipleship, peaceableness, and lay participation more accessible to Roman Catholics, and to bring the spiritual, liturgical, and sacramental practices of the Catholic tradition to Anabaptists.
This coming October, Brazos Press is publishing Daniel M. Bell’s Just War as Christian Discipleship: Recentering the Tradition in the Church Rather than the State. Bell, who is presently a Associate Professor of Theological Ethics at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, wrote his Ph.D. dissertation at Duke on liberation theology under the supervision of Stanley Hauerwas. In 2001, Bell (see CV here) published his thesis as part of Routledge’s Radical Orthodoxy Series — Liberation Theology After the End of History: The Refusal to Cease Suffering — and then shifted his emphasis slightly into just war research.
Bell’s upcoming book — the arguments for which were previewed in a 2006 article (“Can a War Against Terror Be Just,” Crosscurrents Magazine, Spring 2006) — is a critique of the just war tradition as a theory of statesmanship. Bell insists that the difficulties in applying the tradition to (post)modern, asymmetrical conflict and the war on terror have arisen in large part because the tradition was never meant to be applied merely as a moral framework for statesmen, a “public policy tool,” or “a casuistic checklist.” Instead, Bell argues, “contrary to the claims of many prominent contemporary interpreters of the just war tradition, the medieval just war tradition as a form of Christian discipleship was not a theory of statecraft. Rather it is first and foremost an ecclesial discipline, the end of which is the edification of the body of Christ and the equipping of the saints as a witness to God’s kingdom where a just peace rules the day.”
But how are we to understand “just war as discipleship”? The quotes are taken from Bell’s above-mentioned article.