peace and justice

Thomas Arendshorst 01-07-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

Peace studies combine research, analysis, and practice in an attempt to answer questions of what peace actually requires, why accepted wisdom has failed to move civilization away from violence and toward peace, and how people have successfully reformed social, economic, and political relationships to achieve sustainable peace. And through this study, real-world answers are emerging.

Jacob Myers 09-26-2014
Tapestry, 'Battle of Constantine.' Image courtesy Aleks49/shutterstock.com

Tapestry, 'Battle of Constantine.' Image courtesy Aleks49/shutterstock.com

Christ-followers are given another angle of vision, another mirror into our souls, in the person of Jesus Christ. No passage of Scripture points more acutely to this image than one of this week’s lectionary texts: Philippians 2:1-13. The Apostle Paul invokes the Christ hymn as a means of reminding us who we are called to be. He urges his readers to “be of the same mind” and to “have the same love” as the one who’s image they bear. Put simply, Jesus-followers are called to participate in a selfless, humbling, even self-emptying mode of being in the world.

How then ought Christ-followers respond to the religiously-inspired violence perpetrated by groups like ISIS/ISIL? I believe that Christ-followers, while denouncing all forms of violence—especially religious violence—ought to respond with compassion and sympathy.

We are able to move toward compassion and sympathy when we are able to articulate religious violence according to broader historical, geopolitical, and theological modes of analysis. What we require is something beyond bland appeals to ethical imperatives or capitulation to the rhetoric and presuppositions of religious extremists. We need a way to traverse the gulf that separates demonization from compassion, hatred from love.

My thinking about religious violence is sharpened by the work of my friend and mentor Ted A. Smith. In his forthcoming book, Weird John Brown: Divine Violence and the Limits of Ethics (Stanford University Press), Smith articulates a moral vision fueled by practical reason beyond that which is captured within an “immanent frame of causes and effects.” Smith writes explicitly to the concept of divine violence, which is a type of violence that claims some kind of immediate relation to that which is counted as holy, sacred, or ultimate. In light of Smith’s astute analyses, and following the model established by Christ Jesus, we may call Christians to a particular kind of understanding in the face of religious violence.

 

[Editors' note: Below is a hymn written by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette to inspire churches to further support and pray for famine relief in Somalia.]

O God, You Love the Needy
7.6.7.6 D LLANGLOFFAN ("Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers")

O God, you love the needy and care for all the poor!
Today our hearts are heavy with news of drought and war.
When plantings yield no harvest, when hungry people die,
When families flee, defenseless -- Lord, hear your people's cry!

Many people remember "O God, Our Words Cannot Express," a hymn written on the afternoon of September 11, 2001. The hymn was quickly shared by email and Web postings (it is still on over 10,000 websites); it was used by many churches on that evening and in the days that followed. The hymn was featured in newspaper stories, radio programs, twice on national PBS-TV, and on BBC-TV in the United Kingdom. YouTube has the Church World Service music video by Emmy winner Pete Staman of this hymn being sung by Noel Paul Stookey (of "Peter, Paul & Mary") with the Northfield Mount Herman School Choir.

The new posting of this interfaith hymn includes a revised version for the 10th anniversary. Also included is "God, We've Known Such Grief and Anger", a hymn lifting up Christian hope in the face of disaster that was written for the first year anniversary of 9/11. Last week I wrote a new hymn for the tenth anniversary of September 11 with an emphasis on working for peace and justice for all.

Lynne Hybels 06-14-2011
In 2008, as I heard the increasing public rhetoric of hostility emanating from the Middle East, I found myself wondering what Jesus would say and do if he were here in the flesh today.
This hymn was originally used for the dedication of the 180 solar panels on the sanctuary of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware where I am the co-pastor.
Lindsay Branham 05-03-2011

The news of Osama bin Laden's death rippled across social networking sites Sunday night. As I scrolled through my news feed, I witnessed my internet community express their delight and celebration over the death of America's "enemy," and I was surprised to see such blatant euphoria.

[Editors' note: Below is a hymn written by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette to celebrate Palm Sunday.
[Editors' note: Below is a hymn written by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette lamenting gun violence. We hope you find it helpful in light of the shootings in Arizona.]
Jennifer Kottler 12-08-2010
We've been asked by more than one of our readers and supporters about how we can support the DREAM Act and hold that in tension wit
This hymn can be a helpful one for churches seeking to support the relief efforts in Pakistan.
Troy Jackson 08-24-2010
[Editor's Note: In anticipation of the anniversary of the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, God's Politics will featu
Justin Fung 07-01-2010
As a musician, I'm always interested in seeing how my fellow creative types respond to injustice or need.
Lynne Hybels 03-19-2010

I arrived in Bethlehem last Sunday evening to speak at a conference called "Christ at the Checkpoint: Theology in the Service of Peace and Justice." I'm not a theologian or an expert in anything.

Myrna Pérez 01-22-2010

This week started off by honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and is ending with a Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, giving corporations unprecedented ability to affect election outcomes by declaring unconstitutional certain limitations on corporate expenditures on electioneering.

12-22-2009
I recently returned from 8 days in Melbourne Australia where I attended the 2009 Parliament of the World's Religions.

As our nation mourns the untimely death of the King of Pop, I am grieving over the death of a lesser know man: a man whom many will never know, but whose mark on the world is significant. Two weeks ago, Rev.

Elizabeth Palmberg 06-18-2009
Sojourners magazine just had its first redesign in my seven years of working here, and all I can say is "wow," because I have a limited graphic-design vocabulary.
Vicki Kemper 07-01-1986

An Interview with Jim Corbett

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