As militarism and nationalism are circling our planet once again, pastor, teacher and singer-songwriter David Edwards reminds us of the timeless Christian calling to be peacemakers. During the Vietnam War, his own calling as a conscientious objector (CO) led him to alternative service in a children's hospital. In this memoir, he invites us to share his spiritual journey and rediscover the hope of peace in our world. At its best, he writes, religion calls us to build peaceful communities with all who share our planet.
In What Belongs To God, David Edwards explains core values found in Jewish and Christian scriptures that call us toward a nonviolent life and a love that embraces the stranger, including one's enemy. The book continues his legacy as a teacher by including ready-to-use resources for discussion groups in a Discussion and Action Guide called "Choosing Peace." That section of the book is an entire plan for either a three-day spiritual retreat focused on peacemaking or for a series of weekly discussions. Also in this book are links to download some of Edwards' inspiring music, as well as free discussion-starter pages that readers can share with friends as they talk about these ideas.
The book's central message is: "Everyone has a right to live, and every life belongs to God," writes the Rev. Dr. Alvin O'Neal Jackson, executive director of the Poor People's Campaign in the book's Foreword.
Or, as David puts it, "All of life, including our own life, belongs to God, from whom it flows as a gift." In glimpsing this truth, David writes, we begin to see the world in a far more hopeful light.
As the chapters unfold, David shares his story as a conscientious objector, explaining how his decision developed and how his experience of civilian alternative service changed the course of his life and ministry. Many of the folk songs David wrote and shared with congregations sprang directly from the spiritual gifts he discovered in the real lives of the diverse men, women and children he encountered. Even though David died in 2019, this book invites individuals and congregations to continue sharing in his wisdom, and even his rousing voice lifted in song.