Forceful Restraint

Protesting Eric Garner's death, in Foley Square in New York City on December 4.

Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty.


As part of a doctoral program in Global Christianity, our cohort is picking over and engaging a litany of books at the numerous intersections of global leadership. Sharon Welch's introductory booklet Real Peace, Real Security: The Challenges of Global Citizenship (Fortress Press, 2008) delves into the meanings of peacekeeping, peacemaking and peace-building. Unlike "just war" theory which focuses on the last resort, Welch makes the case for first-resort thinking and action.

In Welch, I found an honest and compelling posture toward complex global challenges, including a realistic theological assessment: Peace-building must never underestimate "the power of violence and the resilience of hatred and enmity." Yes, yes, and yes.

But in the vein of those high school yearbook prophecies that more often than not get preceded by “Most Likely To __________,” I offer you:

Most Likely Comparison to Be a Hugely Ironic Analogy Given the Volatile American Social Moment in Police-Citizen Relations As Evidenced by the Brutal Deaths of Young Black Men in the City and in the Heartland

[International] peacekeeping forces are like [local] community policing efforts both in their mandate to restrain violence and in their need for self-restraint.
— Sharon Welch

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9 out of 10

9 out of 10