(You can read it here: http://ncronline.org/blogs/road-peace/leaving-jesuits-after-32-years)
Several years ago I read his book entitled, “A Persistent Peace.” Since that time I have read his columns periodically and have had the opportunity to attend one of his presentations as well. One thing is for sure; he gives a person something to think about in regard to pursuing peace. Whether you agree or disagree with his tactics, most people will recognize that Fr. John Dear has certainly raised awareness about living a nonviolent lifestyle.
I am not going to enter into the debate about the methodologies Fr. John employed to get his message across to people. His multiple arrests are self-explanatory in that regard. However, I want to reflect upon the challenge that I sensed after reading his book and being present at one of his presentations. Father John stirred up a desire within me to truly make a commitment to transformation. Living with the status quo certainly did not appear to be a viable option if I was going to seriously strive to live out the teachings of the Gospel. There had to be changes in my thinking, as well as in my prayer and actions, if I had any hope of effectively entering into a way of life focused on peace, healing and nonviolence. Apathy and complacency should not be taking up residence in my day-to-day experiences.
The discernment process of Fr. John Dear over the last few years must have been excruciatingly difficult. An individual doesn’t walk away from 32 years of commitment without a significant amount of internal struggle. I wish Fr. Dear well in his new endeavors. Furthermore, I hope he has the opportunity to experience healing and peace in his life and ministry as he moves ahead.