Charlottesville. I lament the pain and injustice that we are seeing there and all around the world. The world needs peace, but how do we get there?
Non-religious peacebuilding is mostly based on skills and tactics. These have been a major focus of the peacebuilding world for the last generation.
Christian Peacebuilding balances skills with character formation, personal habit development, forming a society of people (the church) who live as ambassadors of reconciliation in the biblical narrative and who engage the world around them as followers of Jesus who bring hope, healing and justice into dark and scary places.
This week the Charlottesville attack was another reminder of how hurt, angry and scared some people in this world are. It doesn’t matter what color people are, they can all be angry and scared, each for their own reasons.
It’s horrifying to think that Nazi ideas still have a hold in America today. But, I’m not totally surprised. We’re engaged in a spiritual war. There are humans who do evil based on the influence and ideas that have shaped them. Some of these ideas are purely demonic. Our job as church leaders is to follow the leading of the Creator God’s spirit, who always points us to Jesus, and help transform those evil and violent ideas. We Christian Peacebuilders are called to plant new seeds of peace.
Peacemakers sow seeds of justice and peace by their peacemaking actions. James 3:18
My gut reaction to what happened in Charlottesville is to find a solution. But the solution will take a long time. The divides that exist down there are hundreds of years old, peacebuilders will take a long time to find justice, to heal and to start a new common journey. But it’s God’s will, and they will do it and we will support them in every way we discover how.
We can do something too. No matter what conflict disturbs you or where you are in the world. ISIS, Maute, War on Drugs,Charlottesville, Canadian indigenous conflict…. The church can continue to become the people of God who build peace and righteousness/justice among ourselves as a witness to society. As we are shaped to love one another and sacrifice for one another across racial and economic boundaries we show the world the will of God.
One of the ways we are shaped is through Sabbath. This linked NOMAD podcast episode here is about how God gave the people of Israel the Sabbath to shape them. To make them into people who see the world the way he intended and bring blessings to all of the nations.
To grow deeper in our Christian Peacebuilding Identity we need to understand the practices that Jesus gave us and how they shape us into His character. That’s key to being a Christian Peacebuilder, not just doing peacebuilding.
Listen to the episode here or download it on the NOMAD podcast on your favorite podcast app.