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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

320: "In a gentle way, you can shake the world" - Gandhi

Day 320: January 30th, 2021:

Today we begin The Season of Nonviolence - January 30 to April 4th 2021.

Why these dates? They mark the passing of the two great leaders of non-violence.

The season of non-violence begins on the date Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in 1948. The season ends on the date Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated - April 4th (1968) The 64 days that span the Season of Nonviolence offer daily challenges for ourselves and our communities to take up the practice of nonviolence in a deeper more meaningful way.

We celebrate these two men who understood that non-violence as Gandhi said "is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man."

Martin Luther King Jr. echoed this in a 1964 speech saying “non-violence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time”.

Both men demonstrated that non-violence is the social justice activist‘s greatest strength. Gandhi achieved the liberation of India and Pakistan from England through marches, mass demonstrations, work stoppages and hunger strikes. Martin Luther King Jr. integrated the South and showed the humanity and plight of Black people throughout the country. Both men were demonized and died at the hands of violent extremists.

Ghandi explained his philosophy of non-violence as he set out his vision to create a democracy in India – a democracy in which all Indians; Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and all the castes would be welcome and live in harmony.

I have no weapon but love to wield my authority over any one. I do sport a stick which you can break into bits without the slightest exertion. It is simply my staff with the help of which I walk. Such a cripple is not elated, when he has been called upon to bear the greatest burden. You can share that burden only when I appear before you not as your commander but as a humble servant. And he who serves best is the chief among equals.

In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by nonviolence, there will be equal freedom for all. Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such democracy that I invite you today. Think of yourselves as Indians only, engaged in the common struggle for independence.

Once the British were forced out, India disintegrated into civil war. Gandhi was horrified by the violence that broke out between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs in which hundreds of thousands were forced from their homes or killed.

Two weeks before he died, Gandhi said: ‘Death for me would be a glorious deliverance rather than that I should be a helpless witness of the destruction of India; “If I am to die by the bullet of a madman, I must do so smiling. There must be no anger within me. God must be in my heart and on my lips.”

About 5pm in the afternoon of January 30th, the 78-year-old Gandhi, frail from fasting, was being helped across the gardens of Birla House by his great nieces on his way to a prayer meeting. A Hindu fanatic, Nathuram Godse emerged from the crowd, bowed to him and shot him three times at point-blank range in the stomach and chest. Gandhi raised his hands in front of his face in the conventional Hindu gesture of greeting, almost if he was welcoming his murderer, and slumped to the ground, mortally wounded. He died within half an hour.

As we begin the Season of Non-violence let's think about a few of Gandhi's famous quotes:

"Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow men."

"You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind."

"When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator."

(Cesar Chavez)

"The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience."

(Rosa Parks)

"In a gentle way, you can shake the world."


Get involved with Non-violent education!

From thge Franciscans: Pace e Bene:

· If you are involved with our Nonviolent Cities Project, tell your local schools about it, see the call to action posted here.

· Post on your social media the daily themes, which can be copied from here.

· If you receive our daily "This Nonviolent Life" inspirational emails, post the quotes on social media each day to spread the message of nonviolence.

· Check out the M.K Gandhi Institute's materials which include taking a pledge, daily practices and a student journal.

· Take our Campaign Nonviolence Pledge and encourage others to do so as well.

· Sign up for an upcoming nonviolence course with Pace e Bene! Coming up we have a six-week course on Nonviolent Communication, a workshop on Mindfulness, a six-week course for your Lenten Journey Into Nonviolence, a workshop on Applying Meditation to Nonviolent Living and a Nonviolence in Education Workshop. Scholarships are available for anyone who needs it too.

· Finally, if you have time, read Rivera Sun's latest article on "What the Anti-Coup Campaign Taught Us". It's an important lesson in the power of nonviolent social movements that doesn't often make it into the headlines.


You are invited to the FCMFC February Zoom Networking meeting, Tuesday February 2, 2021 at 5 pm Pacific Time. The committee decided to move from providing a theoretical and resource-based approach to a more personal and experiential approach. Therefore, we offer the following ‘topic’ in a “question” format so as to initiate personal sharing, evoking actual experiential stories and personal experiences. In preparation we ask that you read the questions and think of any personal experiences you would like to share.

Day and Time

Tuesday February 2 at 5-6 pm Pacific

Please note: We will begin and end promptly.


Please RSVP to Ginny at <> by Monday, February 1.

Questions for reflection and sharing at the meeting

1. Share a time when you were instrumental in helping to heal division within your family, at work or in your community.

2. What factors contribute to your ability to listen and accept another’s viewpoint that is different than your own?

3. How does your faith enter into being open to others who hold different beliefs than you do?

4. How might our faith communities be, or become, “circles of care?

5. How might our faith communities bridge the many divisions evident in our country?


Meeting ID: 830 1000 9369

Passcode: 815860

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Meeting ID: 830 1000 9369

Passcode: 815860

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New to Zoom ?? If you have not used Zoom before, contact Ginny at before Monday February 1 to do a trial run with Zoom. We will not be able to help you at the time of the meeting. If you have questions, please email Ginny at

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