You may have noticed that I talk a lot about the idea of peace and the need for peacemaking for a while now—here, on Facebook and Twitter, in materials for our partners, in conversation… but I haven’t always been good at explaining what I’m actually talking about.
This is important to clarify, because for the longest time I would have had no idea what I meant. Until I found a church that talked about peace in concrete ways, my only real references for the term “peacemaker” would have been a cowboy’s revolver from the Wild West or a massive ballistic missile from the Cold War. As a middle child who generally liked helping people, I had a small grasp of mediation and peacemaking , but it would have been as a “job you did”, not a “type of person you are”.
As a concept, Peace wasn’t anything I really knew about growing up, and it certainly wasn’t a part of my faith in any explicit way; likewise, I also shouldn’t assume everyone else gets my language. So over the next several weeks, I want to have a conversation where I’ll spend some time talking about my own journey to understanding Jesus as the Prince of Peace, what peace has to do with theology and the Gospel, and how peace can show up practically in our lives and in our community.
As we explore this, I want to be clear that I am far from an expert; it’s taken me a decade to get to where I am now, and I have no doubt that I’ll continue to understand all this (along with the rest of my faith, I hope) in new and better ways in the next five, ten, and fifteen years. So please chime in with your thoughts, experiences, questions…heck, write a guest post if you’re so moved!
To start, what is Peacemaking?
– Peacemaking is Active — peace doesn’t come about by sitting around and doing nothing.
– Peacemaking is Just — acting against corruption and oppression.
– Peacemaking is Nonviolent — rejecting violence as a tool for creating positive change.
– Peacemaking is Vulnerable — reaching out to our enemies with open hands.
– Peacemaking is Inclusive — giving a voice to all and inviting others into the process.
– Peacemaking is Constructive — actively repairing what is broken and building up what is good.
– Peacemaking is Humble — accepting our own brokenness, and forgiving the brokenness of others.
– Peacemaking is Service — partnering with God to heal, reconcile, and restore relationships and the world.
– Peacemaking is the Way of Jesus shaping the world around us.
That’s a start. What else would you add to the list?
Next week, I’ll share more of my story and how Peace became so central to how I understand my faith. Stay tuned!