DEFAULT TO PEACEMAKING

In a previous post, I noted that the way of Jesus, from the beginning, has entailed peace-making.  To summarize: In his famous ”Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus blesses the peace-makers because “they will be called children of God” (Matt. 5:9).  In that same context, he also pronounces blessing upon the gentle or meek (5:5), the merciful (5:7), and the persecuted (5:10).  Each descriptor would seem to imply commitment to peace-making and, in general, a forsaking of violence.   The major voices within the New Testament support this.  The Apostle Paul commands blessing for persecutors and living at peace as much as possible (Rom. 12:14, 18).  The Apostle Peter charges his readers to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, involving patient suffering as the …

The Sky is NOT Falling!

Here is a paragraph from Henny Penny, more commonly known as Chicken Little, a folk tale about a chicken who believes the world is coming to an end. ** As Chicken Little was one day strolling about in a garden, she ran under a rose-bush and a leaf fell on her tail. A Fox was standing by, who wanted to make a good hearty meal, accosted her in a most friendly manner. “Oh, Chicken Little,” said he, “you are shamefully abused. That weight which fell upon your tail was a grievous oppression. You ought to stir up your friends, and make a fuss about it.” Chicken Little was awfully alarmed and excited, and away she ran to Hen Pen. “Oh, Hen Pen!” said she, “the …

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 …