In June, I was asked to lead worship at the Presbyterian churches in Stinson Beach and Bolinas, California. These two churches each have just a handful of members, perhaps 15-20 people on a good Sunday and sometimes eight to ten.
As a guest preacher, you never know who you’ll be encountering; who will be hearing what you have to say. I asked around and the consensus was, “These are basic nice folk, not so interested in new ways of looking at the Jesus story, but more about feeling comfortable.”
I’m not really in the business of making comfortable people comfortable. I want people in churches to encounter the Jesus who was a heretic; the Jesus who challenged the status quo; the Jesus who got himself crucified for it but ended up changing the world; the Jesus who said that caring for the sick, the poor, those in prison, the outcasts of society was the way to live; the Jesus who didn’t really care much about the old rules, but pushed them aside when human need came forward. I resonate with the words of Finley Peter Dunne, the city editor of the Chicago Times, that it was his job to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” (Martin Marty appropriated the phrase in 1983, to apply to God)
The first or second Sunday I preached in the Bolinas church, a woman came up to me and pressed a small white dove lapel pin into my hands. I was talking to everyone and had no time to engage her, but said thanks. Later I was moved and pinned it to my clothing. It was very much in keeping with my inclinations. A week later, this same person insisted that I read a book and gave me a copy. I could not politely reject the book, but if I read every book someone thinks I should read, most of which do not merit reading, there would be no time left over to actually counsel people (or write sermons).
The book sat for a couple weeks before I decided to read enough to fake it. Little did I know. . . Transition to Peace was the title, and the more I read, the more intrigued I became. By our nature, psychologists, ministers, and other do-gooders are sometimes impractical in our approach to good things. Russell Faure-Brac, the author of Transition to Peace was an engineer.
Engineers are different. They are not so interested in theories as they are in practical application. Quantum physicists are working out the theoretical basis for new forms of computing, the engineers are figuring out how to actually make a quantum computer.
Once I began reading, I could not put this book down. Fortunately it is a small book, but it contains the seeds of how we could move to a viable world of peace. It is the result of years of research and writing from a man who began his career doing top-secret weapons system research at Stanford Research Institute.
Buy this book! If you can’t buy it, insist that your public library acquire it. Sure Amazon will sell it to you. Or you could purchase it from
Transition to Peace
℅ Woodville Ranch
5755 Highway 1
Bolinas, CA 94924
I encourage you to first go to www.transitiontopeace.com and read more there, but then buy the book and read it, and let it inform your decisions. No Russell Faure-Brac didn’t have all the answers. But in his book he does proffer a lot and those take us out of our old stuck places and into new thinking.
Among the commentators I respect is Thom Hartman. Here’s what Thom had to say, “We need big, fast change and this book shows us the first steps to getting there.”
Thom Hartmann, bestselling author of Rebooting the American Dream
Another important commentor on reality is John Perkins.
“In my book, I describe myself as an Economic Hit Man. Given Russell Foure-Brac's earlier career in the weapons industry, I would call this creative and insightful book 'Confessions of a Defense Engineer'."
John Perkins, bestselling author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
And. No, the members of those two churches are not “Basic nice folk, not so interested in new ways of looking at the Jesus story, but more about feeling comfortable.” They are great people who are very receptive to new ideas and willing to plug those ideas into their lives to follow that 2000 year old Jewish rabbi into the 21st century.