How can gun violence prevention advocates and gun rights advocates learn to understand each other? How do we depolarize our faith communities and reconcile with each other? Does silence offer a holy response and a common language for prayer?
Bishop Mark Beckwith, longtime friend of TDBI and co-chair of Faith Leaders for Ending Gun Violence, has been working in this overlapping space of nonviolence reform throughout his career. He is the retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, co-founding the Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope and Peace, a network of religious leaders committed to reducing gang violence in the city. He also co-founded Bishops United Against Gun Violence in 2012, which has grown to a network of 100 bishops.
In this podcast episode, TDBI president Rev. Rob Schenck talks with Bishop Mark about the interconnecting network of faith leaders working towards gun violence prevention, the nonviolence of Bonhoeffer, and the importance of depolarization within American society. Their conversation addresses the tensions within our communities and how Bonhoeffer’s experience with the Black church informed his outlook on suffering and nonviolence.
Bishop Mark Beckwith’s passion is to invite people to look beyond and beneath their political and theological positions, which in today’s climate of polarization can be overly confining, and find hope and blessing – and a way forward.
Bishops United Against Gun Violence, a network of nearly 100 Episcopal Church bishops, urges cities, states, and the nation to adopt policies and pass legislation that will reduce the number of people in the United States killed and wounded by gunfire.
Braver Angels seeks to depolarize American politics. Their work is rooted in grassroots organizing. Volunteer leaders leverage Braver Angels programs and unique organizing structure to impact community life and American institutions.
In Seeing the Unseen: Beyond Prejudices, Paradigms, and Party Lines (Morehouse Publishing, 2022), Mark Beckwith offers a middle ground between opposing viewpoints.Instead of dismissing those whose views and experiences are different from our own, Beckwith argues that we must look directly at them and see the goodness that is inherent in all things.