Thursday, November 15, 2012

Robert Koehler: Peace Journalist

I feel very fortunate to have discovered Bob Koehler, a veteran journalist who for many years has turned his talents toward commentary with a mission. His writing has been very inspirational to me, and I would say Bob has figured prominently in motivating me to go forward with this blog.

Bob speaks his mind, with his heart fully engaged, on matters of conscience. He observes and comments on current events, then drills down into them to find the deeper relevance to our humanity. He unfailingly takes a stand firmly on the side that so few seem to consider: the one of compassion, of forgiveness, and most insistently, of non-violent conflict resolution. He insists that we take a hard look at the callousness, the inhumanity, of much of our modern society, but he is also fully confident in our ability to transcend it.

As a career journalist in Chicago, he has the credentials to back up his analysis of current events. He has been an award-winning reporter, editor, and for many years a columnist. Regarding his column, I'll let him describe it for you:
"Since 1999, I’ve written a column that has been nationally syndicated by Tribune Media Services, which is part of the Chicago Tribune. That column was initially called by the name this website still bears, Common Wonders. It started out more personal than political, then, post-9/11, as the Bush administration unleashed its war on terror, I became increasingly focused on current events. I referred to the column as “part political brawl, part secular prayer...”
...I’ve trespassed, as a journo aiming at a mainstream audience, upon the sacred consensus that America is a dumbed down, spectator nation, yet somehow special, God’s Chosen Superpower, the greatest nation on Earth. Let’s get beyond our limited allegiances, I say, and celebrate our wholeness as a species and a planet.
I’ve been called blatantly relevant.
And I have proclaimed myself, ever since coming across the term at Transcend Media Service, a peace journalist.
“Peace journalism is when editors and reporters make choices — about what to report, and how to report it — that create opportunities for society at large to consider and to value nonviolent responses to conflict.” — Jake Lynch
Visit his website, to keep up with his weekly columns.

While you're there, check out his book, Courage Grows Strong At The Wound.

Bob says:
"The book is a collection of my essays fused into several narratives. They run the gamut from the highly personal (dealing with grief, the death of my wife, single parenting) to the acutely political. The book is about the quest for both inner and outer peace, the urgency of both, and the fragile future we are giving birth to." says:
"This spellbinding book is a plea for sanity and disarmament, a celebration of the wonder of life and a cry of faith in an empowering love that can save us."
And a great review of the book can be found here.

I count on Bob's weekly columns to remind me that there is always another aspect to be considered when reporting or commenting on the brutality and injustice of our world: the possibility of non-violent conflict resolution, forgiveness, redemption, and peaceful co-existence. Bob is there to remind us that these are not just the topics of Sunday school sermons, but are in fact essential for our survival and evolution as a species. And he frequently shows us that there are brilliant, courageous people out there in the world right now, doing the hard work of seeking peace.

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