APRIL 19, 2013 EDITION
Former Pelhamite Shanley Authors New Book “The Many Sides of Peace”
By Alex Wolff
Former Pelham resident Brayton Shanley will discuss his new book “The Many Sides of Peace: Christian Nonviolence, the Contemplative Life, and Sustainable Living” on May 31 starting at 7:00pm at the Catholic Worker in New York on the Lower East Side where Dorothy Day lived and passed away.
The book, which is a collection of 20 different essays on 20 different ways of being at peace, reflects Mr. Shanley’s experience living in a Catholic lay community in Massachusetts for the past 30 years, where he has led a life preaching nonviolence and sustainability. Throughout the years, Mr. Shanley has practiced peace by taking his faith into the streets with public vigil, protest, arrest and noncooperation.
“I’ve dedicated my life to helping people in prison, protesting against war and capital punishment, and living in a community that does sustainable living,” said Mr. Shanley. “That’s been my life and my inspiration.”
In writing the book, Mr. Shanley said that he hopes to help people live a meaningful life.
“I think it’s good and true. Not that I do it perfectly, but it’s worth life consideration,” he said.
Mr. Shanley has a MA in Pastoral Ministry from the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College, but his views on the Bible and its teachings are shaped by his own worldview and interpretation of the Bible.
“When you look at the Gospels and look at faith, I think Jesus is trying to tell us that these values: healing, nonviolence, peace loving, should be motivating us all day long. Not that we can always be successful, but we’re putting in the effort somehow,” he said.
In the book, Mr. Shanley’s essays discuss global warming, the need to live peacefully and the dangers of weapons, and how to create a more peace loving world.
He says that his views began to evolve when he was living in Pelham in the 1960s, noting that his mother Ellie and father Tom were influential in shaping his life.
“My mom was very influential morally. She felt that people should be helped,” he said, noting that the Civil Rights movement was ongoing. “Then, the antiwar movement came along. I was eligibile for the draft and I had to think about war. I went to St. Anselm College and took a World Religions Course and I was hooked.” He then became interested in Ghandi and vegetarianism and in his words it was “one step after another.”
Among the different essays in the book, which were compiled over many years and then refined into book form over the past two years, Mr. Shanley discusses how one can become a peacemaker.
Topics include “Don’t hit kids,” “Don’t use profanity and ugly language,” Don’t fill our mind with video games,” and “Dieting,” among others.
Mr. Shanley has been involved in green design and construction of the Agape Community buildings since 1987 where he lives with his wife Suzanne. He is also coeditor of the Agape’s journal, “Servant Song,” and his essays on nonviolence, sustainable living and the contemplative life have been published in numerous peace and contemplative journals. Mr. Shanley’s cousin, Norma Martinez, still resides in Pelham and he visits frequently.
“The Many Sides of Peace: Christian Nonviolence, the Contemplative Life, and Sustainable Living” is published by Resource Publications and is available for purchase on www.amazon.com.