I like peace. I’m a huge fan of it. We even named one of our kids “Peace”. I’m not naive to think it doesn’t take work, but I’m also not such a pessimist to believe it isn’t possible…building a bridge is a complex process, but engineers have shown us for years, it’s not an impossible feat to bridge a gap.
“Peacemaking is the mission of God and central to our vocation as followers of Christ.” – Jon Huckins
And, “Conflict is not the problem…it’s our inability to navigate conflict transformatively.”
“The Problem: Peacemaking has been disintegrated from our understanding of who God is,
what God has done in Christ, and what He is doing here and now.” – TGIP
This weekend I was in the Twin Cities, soaking in the colors, enjoying some time with family, and meeting up with new and old friends, two of which I’d like to share about in this post.
Jer Swigart and Jon Huckins have become brothers to my peacemaker’s heart. These guys started The Global Immersion Project. The mission of TGIP makes my heart skip a beat. These guys foster safe spaces around the table for seeming “enemies” to come together and hear one another’s stories. In the Middle East they gather Christians, Muslims, and Jews, to learn from one another…there are no weapons, just a common meal and the sharing of hearts. They are actively involved in the refugee crisis, too, building relationships on the ground. Jon and Jer are the real deal and, in my personal opinion, the content of their message is something everyone needs to hear.
It was humbling to be part of an initiative they facilitated at Woodland Hills Church this weekend, sponsored by Pastor Greg Boyd. When Jason and I lived in Minneapolis years ago, we went to WHC and loved the community and teaching, there, so this gathering of peacemakers and Dr. Boyd sharing was just a tad epic for my peacemaker mind: BLOWN.
Friday night Greg Boyd laid the foundation for peace through the lens of biblical scripture and a peacemaking Christ. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised because I’m familiar with the heart of his teaching, but I was kind of blown away to hear these truths from a Christian pastor in America because the trend of some church leaders and pastors, in my personal experience, has been leaning more and more towards fear, the end of the world, and American nationalism lately rather than the Kingdom of God, His love over us, and the call to live and love our enemies and neighbors like Christ did and modeled for us to do.
I guess it was just a breath of fresh air…
The funny thing is, Jer and Jon were encouraged by it, too…because, not only do they facilitate these incredible spaces where people gather to hear the hearts of others, but usually, first, they have to be the ones who lay out the biblical call for peacemaking, even in churches, where love is supposed to be preached.
I came away from the weekend with a few treasures:
- deepened friendships and new ones
- a free burrito bowl from the generous couple, Adam and Bri from Des Moines, who paid for mine ahead of me
- renewed passion for building bridges of peace with women, personally and vocationally, wherever God leads
- my eyes, heart, and hands to be open to everyday peacemaking, whether to neighbors, strangers, family, or friends
- encouragement to stop trying to please others or care what this or that group thinks…it’s not my job to make everyone happy…and that making peace makes waves.
(photo credits: Foundry and Unsplash, pixabay)