“Mennonite peace theology in North America needs to be reoriented in a way that accounts for colonialism and its intersectional violence, and that more adequately reflects the heterogeneity, multiplicity, and relationality of the asymmetric relations of multicultural societies. ”
This dissertation project aims at developing a postcolonial Mennonite peace theology in the multicultural context of North America, where colonial settlement and migration have significantly influenced its construction. As a historic peace church, Mennonites have developed a distinctive pacifist position. Yet through their migration to Canada and the United States, Mennonites have been complicit in colonial violence. As white settlers, the formerly persecuted European Mennonites, a religious and ethnic minority, have assimilated to white Christianity as a religiously and racially privileged group.
In response to this, I argue that Mennonite peace theology needs to be reoriented in a way that accounts for colonialism and its intersectional violence, and thus more adequately reflects the heterogeneity, multiplicity, and relationality of the asymmetric multicultural reality. Through a decolonizing reading of Mennonite peace theologies, this project will demonstrate how Mennonite views of peace are built on Eurocentric and patriarchal assumptions and a modernist logic which has been used to acquiesce colonial and male-centric domination.
I therefore construct an alternative notion of planetary peace by drawing on various sources which had been subjugated in the colonial and modern era, such as Indigenous knowledge, theology of disability, feminism, and postcolonial resources. The common interest in relationality, interdependence, and mutuality found in these sources connects with the biblical notion of shalom, which can be defined as an ongoing relational state of well-being through right relations between nature, humans, and the divine. I also revisit the concept of hospitality as a contemporary praxis aimed at achieving planetary peace. This study thus contributes to a renewal of Mennonite pacifist identity in terms of a decolonizing and intercultural epistemology and practice that are relevant to the complex relations of the contemporary multicultural context.