As we remember the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, we join our voices with the psalmist in a cry of lament: "How long, O Lord, until Abel's blood stops crying, until justice rolls down like waters, until the lion can lay down with the lamb in a restored creation?" We lament the violence suffered by 9/11 victims and their families. And we lament the violence that people in Afghanistan and Iraq have suffered these past eight years. We cry out against the violence, and we want to act now for peace.
A couple of decades ago our brother Ron Sider made the following statement:
Making peace is as costly as waging war. Unless we are prepared to pay the cost of peacemaking, we have no right to claim the label or preach the message.
Before long the Christian Peacemaker Teams was born. CPT has been interrupting injustice and respectfully partnering with local nonviolent movements in some of the toughest corners on the planet for years. CPTers radiate the sort of courage and imagination we need if we are to expect folks to take our cross seriously in a world riddled with terror and smart bombs. For this reason, many of us have joined delegations -- like the one we went to Iraq with in March 2003.
This sort of Christian "witness" is marked by the truth at the center of the Christian message -- greater love has no one than those who are willing to lay down their lives for others. There is something worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for. No doubt, CPT is a new face of global missions in a world of omnipresent war-- a witness to the God that loves evildoers so much that God died for them, for us. These days, the cross presents a beautiful alternative to the sword.
As we pray for peace in these times, we feel God inviting us to be a part of the solution. So we are launching a little invitation called the "911 Campaign" to help raise support for the Christian Peacemaker Teams. In these difficult economic times, the leadership at CPT tells us that money is for the first time in their history the greatest limit to growing their work. An unprecedented number of people are ready to be trained and serve as Christian Peacemakers. We're praying for the church to stand behind them every bit as much as taxpayers stand behind the U.S. Army.
So we want to invite you to contribute $911 to CPT by Sept. 11 -- or if that's too hard, shoot for $9.11. We can all do something. Try something wild and creative, like offering free car washes on a hot day and inviting donations. Rally a few friends, your business, or congregation and pull together to be a $911 Campaign sponsor. Or take a day's wages or a week's wages and fast from all expenditures in solidarity with the thousands who are suffering from violence and war, from displacement and homelessness because of conflict. Let's act like this is an emergency, a crisis for peace -- because it is. Keep all our brothers and sisters at Christian Peacemaker Teams in your prayers ... and consider putting them in your checkbook as well. May God continue to give us the courage to get in the way of injustice and to interrupt evil with grace.
Shane Claiborne is a founding partner of The Simple Way community, a radical faith community that lives among and serves the homeless in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. He is the co-author, with Chris Haw, of Jesus for President. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is the author of New Monasticism: What It Has to Say to Today's Church.
Click here to give to CPT now, or make checks payable to "Christian Peacemaker Teams" and mail (if in the U.S.) to Christian Peacemaker Teams, Box 6508 · Chicago, IL 60680-6508. Checks in Canada can be mailed to 25 Cecil St, Unit 307, Toronto ON M5T 1N1.