Following Jesus and Making Peace in a Violent World

No one will question that we live in a violent world.  No one will doubt that most of the world powers assume that violence must be met by violence.  And, oddly to some, many if not most Christians also assume that the great evils of our day will be resolved inevitably only by some use of violence.  But it was not always so among followers of Jesus.  Many today, perhaps especially among younger leaders, have grave concerns about fighting violence with violence as a matter of policy if at all.  Their concerns rise from allegiance to Jesus.  I have invited a younger colleague, Rev. Peter Hough, to reflect with me on this issue.  Let me set it up this way. …

SAVE THE CHILDREN!

“When they start gassing the children, enough is enough!  Someone needs to do something, fast!  The people who have power need to step in, stop the madness, save the children!”  I imagine something like that within the mind and heart of our President last Thursday as he announced his ordering of an airstrike on the runways used by the Syrian President to launch his poisonous assaults on innocents of his own country.  Whether one agrees with that response or holds out hope that such response is likely to help long term, still the impulse to do something decisive was widespread.  Clearly, in the aftermath of Thursday’s response by our government, most of the world has taken notice in ways different …

BUT … IT IS POLITICAL!

In recent days I have heard several people say something like: “I am not trying to be political, now, …” or “Please don’t take this as a political statement,” or “Not to be political but … !”  I think I know what each was trying to say, or not to say.  But each time I thought to myself, “But … it is political!” They were making a point about the church or the gospel or what they believed to be an appropriate response to present circumstances, and they offered this disclaimer.  They were not trying or wishing to be “political.” But how can people who follow Jesus as their Messiah, that is “King,” speak about or act upon their faith …

IF JESUS WERE AN IMMIGRANT

A lot of people are talking about immigration and immigrants these days.  Whether for or against;  whether the gospel Jesus proclaimed and embodied has anything to do with it, and if so what; whether immigrants pose a threat to us, and if they do exactly what sort of threat—inconvenience, discomfort, danger, death; whether immigrants from some groups should be treated differently than others; whether immigrants from places predominantly Muslim pose more of a threat than those from other places—these and many other questions enliven or deaden the multiple media enveloping our lives these days.  The Free Methodist Church offers a well-written, reasoned, biblically shaped and practical position on matters of immigration that I thoroughly affirm and commend to all followers …

Now, About Governing

As the alarm sounded on November 9 in Uyumaya, Nigeria I jumped out of bed and looked at my phone.  I expected news of the first woman elected President of the United States.  Instead, I was shocked to learn that no one had yet won the election and that Donald Trump had just surpassed Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College tally.  It was not until mid-morning in Nigeria that news came that Donald Trump was now President-elect. This was shocking news to everyone around us in Nigeria, and later in Kenya and, of course, to most people in the U.S.  In the days that immediately followed, the shock deepened as protesters demonstrated around the U.S. in major cities, as we …