G20: What Would Jesus Do? was a nonviolent direct action training event aimed at engaging Christians in more serious and committed efforts for peace and justice.
The makeup of the group was exciting. Most of the 25 participants came from four significant but different communities, lending a diversity, balance and depth to the whole day. For every person there (with the exception of the trainers), this was their first experience of nonviolence training. Having said that, the experience levels too were diverse, with some hardened activists on the one hand and people who had never even thought about engagement in justice issues on the other. For all the diversity and difference, the one unifying factor was a desire to take seriously Jesus’ call to justice.
Jarrod McKenna (activist and nonviolence trainer from Perth) led most of the day, with Simon Moyle, Brent Lyons-Lee and Marcus Curnow from Urban Seed in support. Content ranged from exploring what violence is, to the theory and theology of nonviolence, through to planning some actions. A Sunday Age reporter and photographer turned up interested in what we were doing, and though they stayed for almost three hours (and wrote the story), it didn’t run.
The outcome of the day was two working groups; one based around prayer and liturgy and the other around the idea of representing the presence of the (excluded) poor. Details of the actions will be nailed down in the remaining few weeks, but already those groups have expanded outside those who attended the training. The sense I have is that there is a Christian activist movement building in Melbourne – people who want to take discipleship of Jesus seriously – and that this has been a catalyst for bringing that movement together.