What Christian thought offers the world is not a set of ‘rational’ arguments that (suppressing certain of their premises) force assent from others by leaving them, like the interlocutors of Socrates, at a loss for words; rather, it stands before the world principally with the story it tells concerning God and creation, the form of Christ, the loveliness of the practice of Christian charity - and the rhetorical richness of its idiom. Making its appeal first to the eye and the heart, as the only way it may ‘command’ assent, the church cannot separate truth from rhetoric, or from beauty.
The inner nature of the Christian life is made visible in and through the practices of the church. In other words, the good news of our salvation sets us free, but our freedom as Christians cannot be separated from our presence within the community of believers, the body of Christ of which we are members and which the Spirit knits together with the ‘bond of peace’ (Ephesians 4:1-6).
Nonviolence seeks to ‘win’ not by destroying or even by humiliating the adversary, but by convincing [the adversary] that there is a higher and more certain common good than can be attained by bombs and blood. Nonviolence, ideally speaking, does not try to overcome the adversary by winning over [them], but to turn [them] from an adversary into a collaborator by winning [them] over.
All things are possible to one who believes; even more to one who hopes; still more to one who loves; and even more to one who perseveres in the practice of these three virtues.