As I arise this morning to pictures and videos of a church full of people worshipping (some who I know personally) while a group of angry, torch bearing white supremacist rallied outside in Charlottesville, my heart is in knots. I honestly feel sick.
I wanted to put this out before it moved from the front of my thinking. A few of us have been very concerned about the increase in violent activity in our city (here is a different recent post about this). The question I have been grappling with is what is the church’s response to such issues. To be honest, the complexity of urban violence is beyond me. What can be done? What can I do? I am not sure.
Honestly, it seems like there are a millions things on the minds of Americans right now and the potential of entering into another war seems like a strange little (and inconvenient) “gnat” only mildly clouding our attentions. We have been in international conflict for so long, for some it just seems like a “same old, same old” thing. I can remember not long ago that when our country was on the precipice of a international conflict (war) people would freak out.
I came across this today and felt like posting it, particuuarly as our country continues in its warring posture and stands on the precipice of another engagement.
I posted yesterday a call to those who lead in the Body of Christ to seek the “low place.” The magnificent portion of Schaeffer's book, No Little People, was our starting point. He mentions in the book two reasons for moving to humility. The first one is here. Today I want to share the second.
In the Bible, the word shalom is usually translated into English as “peace.” So when I think of shalom, peace is the first idea that comes to mind. Although there are some rather bloody moments in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, I do believe that God wants His people to be peaceful, and he wants peace for them. So when I think of God’s shalom, I usually tend to branch the idea out of peace. In Jeremiah 29:1-7, God instructs His people to live among the people of Babylon. He doesn’t want them to become like them; but he does ask them to live peacefully amongst them. He tells them to plant gardens, build houses, and marry their sons and daughters. These are not things people tend to do when they are in a state of war; on the contrary, these are things people do after the war, when peace reigns in the land and they are free to go about their lives once more.
We often talk about the “Person of Peace” strategy that Jesus clearly outlines in Luke 9 & 10 and then see playing out in the rest of the Gospels and in the early church. Admittedly, this can be difficult to wrap our minds around if we have only ever seen blitzkrieg evangelism used. Understanding that Jesus meant for evangelism to be deeply relational and keenly strategic seems a bit off if you’ve never seen it done before.