We are excited to host Shane Claiborne of The Simple Way & author Greg Barret as they talk about their experiences of establishing "subversive interfaith friendships in a world at war" on the 10th Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq (March 19, 2003). Greg will show a few scenes from a documentary on his personal involvement in this issue he's been working on. You won't want to miss this telling of a modern-day, wartime Good Samaritan story! Joining this conversation will be Shane's good friend, Jeremy Courtney of the Preemptive Love Coalition, who will be flying out from Iraq just for this event, to tell his challenging story of how followers of Christ (mostly doctors and other medical care providers) are putting their ideals of compassion into practice by doing their best to bridge deep national, ethnic, and religious divisions in this war-torn country. By phone or Skype, Sami Rasouli as the American founder of the Iraqi Peace Teams movement will briefly give his personal perspectives as a leader in the Muslim community on how fostering Muslim-Christian understanding can help heal our world. Finally, local poet Kathleen O'Toole and Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter John Francis will be adding their gifts of poetry and song respectively to this inspiring, yet challenging evening. Shane's organization, The Simple Way, will be live streaming the event for their global networks. Concluding the event, we'll have a Q&A and a time for book signings. Be forewarned, this will not be an evening for the faint of heart because difficult, painful issues will be explored!
A Modern-Day Good Samaritan Story (with a surprising twist): Jesus told his followers to live out the lesson of the Good Samaritan but little did Shane, Rev. Weldon Nisly, and Cliff Kindy in this small Christian Peacemaking Team know how much that lesson would change their lives forever on March 19th, 2003, the day that the U.S. began its bombing campaign in Iraq. These three U.S. Christian peacemakers weathered these first horrifying days of the "Shock and Awe" campaign in Baghdad only to be nearly killed in a car accident as they were leaving the country. They were rescued by Iraqi Muslims who took them to a medical clinic in the already bombed-out town of Rutba, where they received an extraordinary level of protection and care. In sending the Americans on their way, their hosts had only one request: Go and tell the world of Rutba, a place where Christians and Muslims can live in peace!
In fulfillment of that pledge, the three peacemakers returned to Rutba in 2010 with D.C. journalist-author Greg Barrett to thank their rescuers and to start an ongoing process of peace, friendship, and reconciliation between U.S. Christians and Iraqi Muslims. On March 19th, 2013, Shane, Greg, Jeremy, Sami and other leaders in this inspiring, growing reconciliation movement come to Washington, DC to share their story with us and challenge us to live out the lesson of the Good Samaritan with them.
We look forward to having you join us and appreciating anew the revolutionary principles of the Good Samaritan!
Best, Glenn & Jen
Schedule for the evening:
6:30PM-7:00PM: Pre-Event Silent Retreat Opportunity: There will be a Labyrinth and space for Contemplative Prayers for Peace, both inward and outward, in the Radcliff Room and Lincoln Chapel respectively (enter through the New York Ave. office door entrance).
6:40-8:30PM: Main Event with Shane, Greg, Jeremy, Sami, Kathleen, and John (enter through the two front sanctuary doors where New York Ave and H St. merge). We will play a trailer of Greg's documentary and John will play music starting around 6:40PM as people stream in early to take a seat. You can use this pre-event time to engage in silent Contemplation.
8:45-9:45PM: Post-Event Reception at Laughing Man Tavern (click here).
About our conversation partners: Shane Claiborne is a Philadelphia-based faith organizer, author, peacemaker, and one of the leaders of the growing Neo-monastic movement. He’s one of the founders of The Simple Way (click here) which helps lead an international group of radical, neomonastic-style communities of faith make a difference in the lives of countless neighborhoods. His latest book (with Tony Campolo) is entitled The Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really meant what he said? (click here to order). Author Phyllis Tickle devoted a chapter to Shane's innovative justice ministry and community in her recent book, Emergence Christianity: What it is, Where it is Going, and Why it matters (2012).
Greg Barrett is an author and reporter with twenty years experience with wire news services and newspapers. He's reported both small and large cities, from Loris, S.C. to Washington, D.C. Prior to writing The Gospel of Rutba: War, Peace, and the Good Samaritan Story in Iraq (Orbis, 2012) (click here to order), he authored The Gospel of Father Joe: Revolutions & Revelations in the Slums of Bangkok (Wiley, 2008). You can follow him by going to his website and blog (click here).
Jeremy Courtney is founder and President of the Preemptive Love Coalition (click here) ("Preemptive Love Unmakes Violence and Remakes the World"). Jeremy has given a moving TED talk on the principles of his organization (click here). This Iraq-based Christian medical ministry uses medicine and peacemaking to heal the wounds caused by two related major problems in contemporary Iraq: heart defects among Iraq children (caused by the weapons used in the various wars) as well as enduring interfaith/ethnic conflict.
Sami Rasouli is the Iraqi-born founder of Muslim Peacemaking Teams (click here). Sami left Iraq as a young man, and eventually settled in Minneapolis, becoming a small businessman. Several decades later he returned to Iraq when his mother died in September 2003. Horrified by the destruction and fighting he witnessed during his visit, he resolved to return and try to help his country by being a peacemaker with an emphasis on bridging internal divisions and providing basic medicine to Iraqis in need. After seeing Christian Peace Teams in action, Sami started the Muslim Peacemaking Teams which quickly won wide support and respect in Iraq.
John Francis is a singer-songwriter (click here) who strives to be a peacemaker through his art. He sang with Shane and Greg during their workshop at Wild Goose East in 2012.
Kathleen O'Toole is a DC-based poet (click here) who explores the intersections of faith, creativity, and public policy (including war) in her work. She's published two volumes of poetry, including Practice in 2005 and Meanwhile in 2011 (click here to order).
Location & Parking: We will be meeting in New York Avenue Presbyterian Church's sanctuary on the church's second level. If you arrive before 6:30PM, you can enter the church through the New York Avenue entrance. Right at the entrance you can see the doors to the rooms where the labyrinth and contemplative prayer can happen. After 6:30PM, you can the front doors on the church where New York Ave merges with H St. At 6:30PM, there will be music by John Francis, silence for contemplation, and a documentary trailer on a continuous loop going before the main speakers start at 7PM. So before 7PM you can walk the labyrinth or sit in the main sanctuary, whatever you prefer. There are several parking garages in the immediate area, including an PMI Parking Garage at 900 New York Ave NW, Washington (click here for other PMI Garages in downtown DC).
Metro: New York Avenue Presbyterian is about 2 blocks away from the Metro Center Station which serves the Red, Orange, and Blue metro lines. If you leave the exit at 13th and G Street, you can head north a block to H Street. Once on H Street turn west and walk a block. You will see the church where H and New York Avenue come together. Take the New York Avenue entrance if planning on taking advantage of the labyrinth at 6:30PM. Enter the front doors where H St and New York Ave merge if arriving for the main event at 7PM.
Suggested Donations and book purchases: While this event is free, we will be collecting donations at the end of the event for the work of Jeremy Courtney's Preemptive Love Coalition which helps Iraqi children with heart defects. We ask for those inspired by this story to contribute $5, 10 or even 15 dollars. Every dollar counts! At the end of the event, we'll have a time for book signings, folks to purchase copies of Shane and Greg's new books as well as John Francis' latest CDs.
Sponsors: To pull off this event, we are thankful for the volunteer time and effort offered by our speakers and musicians (Greg, Shane, Jeremy, and John) as well as local churches that underwrote the use of the building and our miscellaneous costs. The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, The McClendon Fund for Theological Education located at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, and North Chevy Chase Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Maryland were all were instrumental in making this event a reality! Thank you all!