taking the words of Jesus seriously

Our #LoveMakesAWay nonviolent direct action movement has not only gone national, it’s gone viral. Over 20 Christian leaders have participated so far to dramatize this horrific reality that morally cannot be ignored: there are over 1, 000 children being detained indefinitely by the Australian government because they are seeking asylum.

Yet you’d be wrong to think we church leaders just woke up some morning and decided, ‘Today’s a good day to be arrested.’ As well as prayer and serious discernment, Martin Luther King’s “Steps of Nonviolence” involve 4 previous steps before nonviolent direct action. Dr. King’s Steps are as follows:

  • Step 1: Gather Information

Learn all you can about the problems you see in your community through the media, social and civic organizations, and by talking to the people involved.

  • Step 2: Educate Others

Armed with your new knowledge, it is your duty to help those around you, such as your neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers, better understand the problems facing society. Build a team of people devoted to finding solutions. Be sure to include those who will be directly affected by your work.

  • Step 3: Remain Committed

Accept that you will face many obstacles and challenges as you and your team try to change society. Agree to encourage and inspire one another along the journey.

  • Step 4: Peacefully Negotiate

Talk with both sides. go to the people in your community who are in trouble and who are deeply hurt by society’s ills. Also go to those people who are contributing to the breakdown of a peaceful society. Use humor, intelligence and grace to lead to solutions that benefit the greater good.

  • Step 5: Take Action Peacefully

This step is often used when negotiation fails to produce results, or when people need to draw broader attention to a problem. it can include tactics such as peaceful demonstrations, letter-writing and petition campaign.

  • Step 6: Reconcile

Keep all actions and negotiations peaceful and constructive. Agree to disagree with some people and with some groups as you work to improve society. Show all involved the benefits of changing, not what they will give up by changing.

Steve Chong’s Kirkplace Presbyterian Church have just put up these 3 short videos of what many of us Christian leaders involved in #LoveMakesAWay have done for the last decade, steps 1 to 4. As we engage in step 5 we will continue practicing the previous steps. I’d encourage you in particular to watch my mate Greg Lake’s video. Greg is a former Immigration Department leader who managed a number of immigration detention centres, including Nauru, Christmas Island and Curtin. Greg resigned from Immigration in April 2013 after examining whether his role in managing detention centres was something that aligned with his Christian faith. We now work together to see these people set free. He’s a wonderful guy.

Steps 1-4 for Jarrod:

Steps 1-4 for Greg:

Question and Answer:

Please continue to pray. Not only as we engage in stage 5, but as we practice all six steps. Most of all pray for release for the captives, that these people may go free.

About The Author


Australian pastor and social change educator, Jarrod McKenna, has been described by Rev. Jim Lawson, as “an expert in nonviolent social change.” Jarrod is the Founding Director of CommonGrace.org.au, a co-initiator of the #LoveMakesAWay movement for refugee rights and is a co-founder of the global GazaCeasefirePilgrimage.com movement. Jarrod pastors with Steeple Church in Melbourne and Table in the Trees in Perth, and is the co-founder of the InVerse Podcast and Collective with Dr Drew Hart. He is living on Wadjuk Noongar land, found on most maps as Perth, Australia, with the love of his life Kathleen and their boys.

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