Disciples are peacemakers

(Author's Note:
This is a big week on the J-Blog. We're going to be featuring a couple of interruptions in the Disciples Are series with our good friend Ed Cyzewski, author of Coffeehouse Theology and his new book A Path to Publishing. In the meantime, you'd do well to check out his original interview on the blog here, and get ready for a week of fun! Now on to the show...)

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9 ESV

Peace is an incredibly tricky thing.

For instance, how about that war we find ourselves fighting right now? I was having a conversation with a friend about this yesterday. On the most basic level, I'm really against the war. I don't think we should be over there. I don't think it was justified. I don't think the war does a particularly good job of glorifying Christ. I've felt that way since the beginning, and I still feel that way today.

But then I think about what would happen if we left. What would that region look like if we all of a sudden took off and never looked back? Would that at all be the responsible thing of us to do? Wouldn't that simply lead to chaos in the region, which would likely support the growth of the terrorist cells over there that started this whole thing?

Or what about the troops? On memorial day (see, sometimes my procrastination produces good timing!) I find it incredibly meaningful to remember that being opposed to the war doesn't mean being opposed to the troops who so willingly and heroically give their lives over to us to fight on our behalf. Do my luke warm feelings about the war translate into luke warm feelings about the people who are fighting it? I certainly hope not!

What about peace on the every day level? As someone in church leadership, I'm all to frequently put in a position where choosing one side will upset one group of people, and choosing another side will upset another. Making a choice will certainly lead to more conflict, but not making a choice is most definitely terrible leadership and will also lead to conflict...

Suddenly, when you think about it a little bit more than just the surface question, the idea of peace becomes complicated.

There's a wonderful series of videos on YouTube right now that might be worth examining:

Three rock stars, three different answers about the notion of peace. If we can't come up with a decent definition for peace, then how can we possibly be the people who are making it?

I am gearing up for a sermon this Sunday (subtle plug) on Doubt, and I was having a conversation with a student about it yesterday. This student was telling me that he felt like he was growing distant from God every time he had a doubt or he had these questions in his head, and in fact he was starting to get worried that he was pushing himself away from God. I reminded him that in fact if you're worried about pushing yourself away from God, you'll almost never do it. If it's that important to you, you'll find a way to hang in there.

The same thing is true about peace. We might not know what true, authentic peace looks like in our culture, but we also seem to recognize it when it's there. If in our hearts our desire is peace, if we strongly desire to make peace, then peace will in fact find us. It's hard to get into an argument with someone when you have peace as your goal. It's hard to devalue another human being when you desire peace. Maybe in the instance of peacemaking, hitting the target isn't quite as important as taking your best shot.

More tomorrow!