Tom Fox talks with Fr. John Dear -- a Jesuit priest, peace activist, lecturer, and writer of approximately 20 books on nonviolence -- about his new book, Transfiguration, a meditation on Jesus' transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. Dear invites readers to shape their lives along the story of Jesus and to continue his mission of love and peace. The book is essentially a meditation aimed at transforming ourselves and, in turn, the world in which we live.
When Peter woke up on Mount Tabor to see the transfigured Jesus, he exclaimed: It is good that we are here. He missed the message of that mysterious event, John Dear tells Tom Fox. “Moses, Elijah and God the Creator affirm [Jesus] and confirm his mission to go down the mountain to the cross to liberate the human race from slavery and violence and death,” Dear says. “At some point we have to affirm one other on the mission of creative nonviolence in a world of violence and resisting the structures of injustice.”
Episode 2: Prayer disarms us, prepares us for nonviolence (24 min.)
John Dear tells Tom Fox about “contemplative nonviolence.” He says, “You spend serious time every day alone in solitude with Jesus and allow the God of peace to disarm your heart. Give God all your anger and hurts and wounds, bitterness, resentments and violence. . . . And I mean taking our violence in Iraq and Los Alamos and bringing it all in our solitude to Jesus in contemplative prayer.” In this daily exercise, Dear says, we “allow [Jesus] to give us his transfiguration gift of peace. Then we can plumb the mystical depths of peace and radiate personally the peace we seek politically. In that way, we really have something new to offer the world. We are on the journey of the saints.”
Episode 3: The quintessential Jesus (3 min.)
John Dear and Tom Fox recite the quintessential sayings of Jesus.
In the course of his civil disobedience against war, Fr. John Dear has been arrested more than 75 times. In addition, he was incarcerated for eight months for participating in a Plowshares Movement disarmament action. In his latest book, Transfiguration, Dear uses this story as a model for personal and corporate transformation to the ways of peace and nonviolence. He also offers helpful suggestions on spiritual practices that lead to embracing nonviolence, as well as questions for individual contemplation or group discussion. Tom Fox calls it "a very prayer and quieting book, introspective in its nature.