The Violence of Love

Let me pass on a book recommendation. I've been reading a lot lately about Oscar Romero. And one of the best introductions to his theology is the edited book by James Brockman entitled The Violence of Love. In the book Brockman gives us short selections of Romero's sermons and writings during the three year period when he transformed himself from defender of the status quo to prophet and martyr. The title of the book comes from a quote of Romero's from November 27, 1977:

We have never preached violence,
except the violence of love,
which left Christ nailed to a cross,
the violence that we must each do to ourselves
to overcome our selfishness
and such cruel inequalities among us.
The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword,
the violence of hatred.
It is the violence of love,
of brotherhood,
the violence that wills to beat weapons
into sickles for work.
Most of the book consists of short quotations from Romero which are rendered like free verse (as illustrated above). I think this was Brockman's editorial hand at work. Regardless, it's wonderful. The Violence of Love reads like theological poetry.

If you want to be introduced to Romero's life you might want to start with the movie Romero, which, I discovered, has been uploaded to Youtube in eleven 10-minute segments. You can start watching the movie here.

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8 thoughts on “The Violence of Love”

  1. Thank you a lot for you recommandation, it seems to be the right book to read, to improve you faith, to relax your soul and mind.

  2. i wonder if there is a way men and women are socialized to hear and read language re: violence. while Romero chose that specific language to capture (even that word reflects violence) his personal expereince is there a way to learn from and about him without using the same language he uses? i.e., is it neccessary to collapse terminology and expereince to share the meaning?

  3. Loved that book and film.  Have used it for many years in teaching.   I wonder at my church - who will canonize a pope who silenced women and is still uncomfortable with Romero.  We are rapidly losing memory of him while we prop up an institution that must fall in order to rise.  Romero understood that sort of "violence' very well.   I've probably bought and given away 10 copies of the book over the years.  The film is one that becomes more painful with every watching.  Terrific choice today.

  4. To put flesh on the words, see these lovely photos of Romero at home in El Salvador, with friends, in snapshots taken before his death  and recently discovered.

  5. Viva Romero.  Viva Chaves (despite Synanon)!  

    Violence of love.  Violence against the option for the poor.  Three strikes, you’re out.   The experimental theology of violent racism.

    It’s the California three-strikes law v. progressive theology in the holy-white Crystal Cathedral!   —is North American white theology in the Apocalypse Now of mode of economic bankruptcies?  ... with, “All the children are insane”?   (yeah, I’m in a bad mood, for North American manipulated brown theology, sorry).

    Who is funding the violence of love, now?  – here?

    Why is North American theology violently loving itself by trying to avoid bankruptcy on the backs of North American browns?  

    Richard, trying to save your blog here from my blow-out.  If linking violates your etiquette, please delete.

    @ “Borderline Racism on the 4th of July.”

    Experimentally Cheers (but really bummed out),


  6. The book you mention is available for free in various forms from Plough is the publishing effort of the Bruderhof. One can get this book, and many, many others through their website. Here is the link to Romero's book:

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