Saturday, March 31, 2012

Struggling With

III.    Vows of Nonviolent Witness
We pledge to act in allegiance to God alone, and to resist injustice with goodness”

  1. I will speak up in defense and protection of anyone, even enemies, who are attacked with violence of word or action, even at the risk of my own life.
(Isaac Beachy, Fellowship of Reconciliation Colombia)
Isaac discovered at least one very important thing from the San Jose de Apartado Peace Community in northwest Colombia: struggle for God’s shalom is not easy! In his February 2011 blog entry, Isaac admits: “When I first wrote the title to this blog [‘With the Struggle’] I had no idea what a struggle meant. Before, a struggle was an exciting story full of graffiti, marches, people power, powerful Spanish protest songs and was victorious. Struggling or being with a struggle seemed like an adventure to me... Now fully understanding the emotional and often physical cost of being in a struggle, I see it’s not something you do for fun.”

Thursday, March 29, 2012

This Is Your Weapon

II.      Vows of Rejection
We renounce violence of the heart, tongue and fist, neither willing nor working harm to any”

  1. I will reject violence of the fist: I will not retaliate toward anger or assault, provocation or violence, in word or action; I will not seek or inflict any injury, harm or death toward any person.
(Idi Amin testing a new weapon)
Idi Amin has been referred to as Africa’s Hitler. His eight-year reign of terror over Uganda in the 1970s resulted in hundreds of thousands killed. Amin perpetrated gross human rights abuses, violent political repression, ethnic persecution and extrajudicial killings. When church leaders spoke up in protest, they were interrogated and killed. Festo Kivengere, an Anglican bishop who escaped into exile after Archbishop Janani Luwun was murdered for speaking out against Amin’s tyrannical regime, was asked if he would strike back at Dictator Amin if he had the opportunity: “If you were sitting in Ida Amin’s office with a gun in your hand, what would you do?” Bishop Kivengere responded, “I would give the gun to Amin and say, ‘This is your weapon; my weapon is love.”* 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Terms of Engagement

I.        Vows of Affirmation
“We devote our daily life to God, and to serving our neighbors as images of God”

  1. I will daily read the Scriptures and meditate on the witness of Jesus Christ.
La Bible, Notre-Dame du Taur, septembre 2011Why this messy holy book? So many different voices, so many different genres, so many different pictures of God. For Christian people who believe Jesus calls us to a peacemaking discipleship that is always nonviolent, the Bible doesn’t always seem to yield a message in line with that calling. So why search for God in this messy book (anthology, really)?

Pastor Barbara Brown Taylor describes untidy scripture,  “God’s story has its own twists and turns, its own chapters of rage and repentance along with some magnificent cruelties, but it is above all the story of a God who does not break promises, a God who entered into covenant with humankind and who remains loyal to that bond, no matter what we may think of its terms…That is the God who walks toward me in the Bible…The Bible is the book in which the terms of that relationship are explored” (The Preaching Life, 53)

Our central confession is that Jesus—not anyone or anything else—is our Lord, our ruling authority. And when we see that Jesus himself was profoundly shaped by the Hebrew scriptures and that the earliest Christians searched those same texts trying to figure out what God had done through Jesus and how to order their lives accordingly, we are compelled to do likewise. In their example we see the pages of the Bible as the best way to discover God’s reconciling ways shown in Jesus. 

Monday, March 26, 2012


I.        Vows of Affirmation
“We devote our daily life to God, and to serving our neighbors as images of God”

  1. I will daily seek to do good for someone without reward or recognition.
Heard about guerilla goodness, anonymous or random acts of kindness, paying-it-forward?  People voluntarily giving up their right to be recognized, to be thanked, to be pleased with themselves, to receive some kind of gain from their good actions? Most Western economic thinkers who trust the “invisible hand” of self-interest see giving it up as unlikely human behavior—and they are right. Yet this is exactly what Christ calls his followers to and models the same himself.  One of the earliest Christian confessions about Jesus, Philippians 2:6-11, makes clear that he gave up his right to gain from his privileged status and obedient actions—willing to suffer for doing good rather than receiving his deserved reward for it!

God’s ironic way left Jesus with far more reward and recognition than if he had initially demanded what he deserved for his status and good works, “regarding equality with God as something to be exploited.” Jesus gave up his privilege and rights for recognition and suffered for doing good, but in the end “God highly exalted him” because of it.