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Peacemaking is hard work because violence is the norm in our world. The going assumption in our school, popular culture, governing bodies, and (sadly) religious institutions is that violence is inevitable and necessary: inevitable because evildoers will always try to harm good people, necessary because defensive or retaliatory violence is the only thing that will dissuade or stop them. The inconsistency of seeing violence as a tragic fact in some contexts but a virtue in others apparently doesn't trouble most of us. Violence remains our default assumption, peace but a fleeting interlude or interruption in the normal course of events. So peacemakers who deny that violence is either inevitable or necessary have their work cut out for them. Swimming against the current is a daunting and overwhelming task.

That's why we offer this book of peacemakers. In profiling the lives, thoughts, and deeds of people from all over the globe who offer alternatives to violence, we hope to inspire others who yearn and work for peace and justice. It helps to be reminded that one isn't alone in the task, and that people of good will from ancient times to the present have labored to become instruments of peace in a world that too often settles for violence. It helps to hear the stories of fellow peacemakers. We learn from them, we gain strength from them, and we pass their wisdom on to the next generation. A daily reading of how they swam against the tide and created new currents can be an uplifting tonic. [excerpt]


This is the introduction to Dr. Kerry Walters' and Robin Jarrell's complete book, Blessed Peacemakers: 365 Extraordinary People Who Changed the World.

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