Intersection: Spirituality & Peacemaking

OSI Team Email Quotes

But God is so greatly concerned with injustice that he continually invites his children to face darkness for the purpose of sending us in to scatter it. As we choose to face grave darkness in our broken world, one of the best ways to combat our pendulum swings between apathy on the one hand and despair on the other is to also intentionally choose hope. Hope can be impotently naive and moorless when pursued as nothing more than a sentimental wish. But when hope is grounded in the reality of who God is and the reality of how God works in our world, it becomes a source of great power in the face of even the darkest circumstances. (Bethany Hoang, Deepening the Soul for Justice, p. 26) [10 Oct 2013]

The presence of the kingdom means freedom from the power of disease, freedom from the power of demonic oppression, freedom from the power of being outcast from a society that blamed the victims and declared them unclean. In God’s abundance, we see unconditional acceptance of these so-called unclean and outcasts and demon-possessed. Jesus doesn’t ask many questions. Rather, he heals the needy. He simply shows that God’s love is genuine and powerful. (Ted Grimsrud, God’s Healing Strategy, p. 101) [25 Sep 2013]

One of the most radical things we can do is love the people we live with, day after day, mistake after mistake. One community we visited had printed T-shirts that read: “Everybody wants a revolution, but nobody wants to do the dishes.” It was a constant reminder that the revolution must begin with little acts of love, like washing feet or dishes. (Shane Claiborne & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers, p. 69) [3 Sept 2013]

Peacemaking is the work of love, and “in love there can be no fear, but fear is driven out by perfect love” (1 John 18). Nothing is more important in peacemaking than that it flow from a deep and undeniable experience of love. Only those who deeply know that they are loved and rejoice in that love can be true peacemakers. Why? Because the intimate knowledge of being loved sets us free to look beyond the boundaries of death and to speak and act fearlessly for peace. Prayer is the way to that experience of love. (Henri Nouwen, Peacework, pp. 35-36) [26 Aug 2013]

Justice is the work of community. It cannot be pursued alone. Justice is a manifestation of Christ’s body working at its very best. Just as we need to intentionally open ourselves to God and God’s leading, we need to open ourselves to doing justice in community. All of the body of Christ is called to be the Spirit-filled community that surrounds, supports, inhabits and propels the river of justice God is seeking to unleash. What we might understand to be “frontline” work is not actually more important than the work of the surrounding body of believers the world over. All our roles are necessarily inextricable and made to be so by our sovereign Lord who saw fit to make us his body. And because every single member and role in Christ’s body matters, it is critical that we learn to boldly discern what part of the body Christ has made each of us to inhabit. We cannot afford to misunderstand our call. (Bethany H. Hoang, Deepening the Soul for Justice, pp. 24-25) [13 Aug 2013]

Lindsey understood that each of the girls trafficked into brothels could easily have been her friend; I realized that each could have been my own daughter. This is why I do what I do. Every person is a human being made in God’s own image. Every person has hopes and dreams, likes and dislikes. What differentiates us are circumstances–the situations into which we are born. (Bob Goff, “Why I Do What I Do,” in Zealous Love: A Practical Guide to Social Justice, p. 32) [18 July 2013]

God calls into being a people, a community of faith. God’s purpose for calling this people has to do with blessing “all the families of the earth” (Gen. 12:3). This is God’s strategy for healing–the creation of community, the calling of a people to know God’s love and to share that love with the rest of the world. We can see here three important points, which help us understand the story of faith…

(1) God brings newness for his people. The community of faith God calls together is based on these people knowing God’s love and mercy…

(2) God uses his people to help others also experience this newness…

(3) God is committed to staying with this strategy over the long haul. People tend to find it difficult to be patient. We see so much brokenness around us. We wonder, what is the use? God’s promise to Abraham, God’s healing strategy of calling a people to know and to share newness happened more than 3,000 years ago. God is still patient. God still perseveres. God’s long-suffering love knows no end. God is in this for the long haul.

(Ted Grimsrud, God’s Healing Strategy, pp. 45-47) [16 July 2013]

The statistics alone–the reality that there are 27 million people in slavery in our world today, and that nearly two million children are exploited in the commercial sex industry–are enough to leave any of us feeling paralyzed…. But again, by the grace of God, I began to realize that I was missing roots. I couldn’t just absorb all of this new information and expect to persevere. I needed a biblical framework of hope to undergird and root me in the God who already knows, who already sees, who is already at work…. I needed to intentionally translate the overwhelming information I was absorbing, to force the brutal facts to submit to the over-riding reality of hope in the God of justice. And I couldn’t do it alone. (Bethany Hoang, Deepening the Soul for Justice, pp. 22-23) [1 July 2013]

But what is the core of my Christian calling? Every Christian who knows her Bible has a ready answer: to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). Christ taught us that to love our neighbor was to treat people the way we would like to be treated (Luke 6:31). Accordingly, the call to remember the oppressed is couched in the logic of love: “Remember…those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” The Scriptures are confident that if we imagine we are the child prostitute, the torture victim, the child laborer, we would not want to be forgotten. (Gary Haugen, Good News about Injustice, pp. 39-40) [21 June 2013]

When we understand the reality that God see injustice and calls his people to act, we will grow to see that our own personal freedom and reconciliation in Christ is not the end of the story. We are free so that we can be part of God’s work of setting others free…. Our lives are meant to proclaim that Jesus has broken our spiritual chains, and in this proclamation we join Jesus in the simultaneous proclamation of good news to the oppressed, breaking literal chains as we do. (Bethany Hoang, Deepening the Soul for Justice, p. 19) [3 June 2013]

Christians today, if they want to be Christians, have to find the courage to make the word “peace” as important as the word “freedom.” There should be no doubt in the minds of the people who inhabit this world that Christians are peacemakers…. Peacemaking belongs to the heart of our Christian vocation; peacemaking is a full-time task for all Christians; and peacemaking has become in our century the most urgent of all Christian tasks. (Nouwen, Peacework, pp. 22-23) [28 May 2013]

As activity increases and [people] become successful in doing any work for God, there is danger of trusting to human plans and methods. There is a tendency to pray less, and to have less faith. Like the disciples, we are in danger of losing sight of our dependence on God, and seeking to make a savior of our activity. We need to look constantly to Jesus, realizing that it is His power which does the work…. Only the work accomplished with much prayer, and sanctified by the merit of Christ, will in the end prove to have been efficient for good. (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 362). [31 May 2013]

“Here’s the good news: prayer and action can go together; in fact they must. Otherwise we have little more than a bunch of inactive believers or worn-out activists, and neither do much good for the world.” (Shane Claiborne & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers, p. 12) [13 May 2013]

What we are called to is a life of peacemaking in which all that we do, say, think, or dream is part of our concern to bring peace to this world. Just as Jesus’ command to love one another cannot be seen as a part-time obligation, but requires our total investment and dedication, so too Jesus’ call to peacemaking is unconditional, unlimited, and uncompromising. None of us is excused! It isn’t something limited to specialists who are competent in political and military matters, or to the radicals who have dedicated themselves to leafleting, demonstrating, and civil disobedience. No specialist or radical can diminish the undeniable vocation of each Christian to be a peacemaker. Peacemaking is a full-time vocation that includes each member of God’s people. (Henri Nouwen, Peacework, pp. 16-17). [9 May 2013]

– – –

Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 16:20) [22 July 2013]

Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. (Ps. 82:3-4, NIV) [21 May 2013]

He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. (Psalm 146:7-9) [7 July 2013]

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9, NIV) [22 May 2013]

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Come now, let us argue it out, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:16-18, NRSV) [14 May 2013]

Thus says the LORD, “Preserve justice and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed.” (Isaiah 56:1) [24 July 2013]

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? (Isaiah 58:6-7, NRSV) [18 June 2013]

This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-23, NIV) [20 June 2013]

I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:21-24, NIV) [20 Oct 2013]

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24 NIV) [18 Sept 2013]

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