prince of peace

Cindy Brandt 12-01-2014
Stop fighting. Image courtesy RYGER/shutterstock.com

Stop fighting. Image courtesy RYGER/shutterstock.com

Peace, with its connotation of tranquility and stillness, is the Christian’s most misunderstood concept. We have long sought to keep peace by silencing dissent under the guise of pursuing unity, coated with a zealous concern for niceties, unwilling to budge a status quo. We forget to ask the crucial question: for whom do we keep peace?  

Wherever peace is elusive, the first ones to suffer are the vulnerable.  

When corporations engage in legal battles, employees who don’t get a vote have the most at stake. When marital tensions rise high, children’s tender spirits lay at the parents’ mercy. When war ravages a country, the displaced peoples helplessly suffer.

When keeping the peace only benefits the powerful, it is not a Christian peace. The sweet baby Jesus portrayed in sentimental Christmas cards has taken an abrupt departure from the kind of peace we see Jesus embody in Scripture. Even as an infant, the baby Jesus so disrupted the power authorities of the day that sent them scrambling into every home killing firstborn baby boys.   

Christian peace is not about coddling people’s fear of conflict. It isn’t about making sure everyone is comfortable. It does not silence those for whom a lack of peace is a life or death situation. The irony is that often, the ones with feeble power are the ones who are told to keep peace and remain silent.   

When the society is disrupted by scandalizing conflict — whether it is the Bill Cosby rape accusations, or the “harsh disciplinary methods” of certain celebrity parents, or an entire neighborhood weary of losing their young men to police violence — the Christian dare not keep peace by silencing the voice of the victims.

Brian E. Konkol 3-22-2013

Photo courtesy Robert Voight/shutterstock.com

On Palm Sunday many will hear the Gospel of Luke’s perspective surrounding Jesus’ celebrated entry into Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-40). In hearing this well-known portion of the New Testament, we are often led to wonder how the same crowds that so graciously and enthusiastically welcomed Jesus would passionately and viciously call for his death just a few days later. In trying to comprehend the sudden and significant shift in public opinion, we recognize that the crowds did not swing their support independently, but rather, they were acting under the influential push of propaganda.

As Luke’s Gospel reminds us, in between Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the calls for his crucifixion, the “chief priests and the scribes” plotted to put Jesus to death (22:2). As these powerful elites were “afraid of the people”, they conspired in a power-protecting push to have Jesus humiliated, tortured, and brutally killed. And so, while Luke’s Gospel does not provide exact details into the strategies of the chief priests and scribes, their motivations appear to be clear, as they, and others within the ruling class, perceived Jesus as a risk and thus needed to ensure his quick and clear elimination. As a result, due to the influential influx of propaganda, combined with an overly complicit public, just a short time after Jesus was welcomed as a king he was sentenced to death as a criminal.

Nadia Bolz-Weber 7-25-2011

He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches." He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened."

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

--Excerpts from Matthew 13

It's been a rough weekend. Watching the devastation that the combination of mental illness and fundamentalism brought to the people of Norway. Watching what the combination of drug addiction and fame brought to a talented singer, who, like so many who went before her, is now dead at the age of 27. Something they don't tell you when you get clean and sober is that if, by the grace of God, you manage to stay that way -- you get a much better life -- but year after year you also watch people you love die of the same disease. So yesterday when I heard that Amy Winehouse had been found dead in her home, it brought me back to nine years ago when my dear friend PJ was also found dead in his home.

Lynne Hybels 6-14-2011
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.
Lynne Hybels 6-06-2011

No, I am not submitting a belated entry into the heated conversation about Rob Bell's latest book.

Sheldon Good 1-11-2011
God's heart broke just as ours did upon hearing of the victims in Tucson.
[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.]

Jim Wallis 1-10-2011

The shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, the young Congresswoman from Arizona, must speak to the soul of this nation.

Duane Shank 12-17-2010
President Obama released the Afghanistan-Pakistan annual review on Thursday morning, concluding that, "
Burns Strider 12-16-2010
While American troops will be working through the Christmas holidays, putting their lives on the line for our safety, and while millions of Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of the Prince o
Crissy Brooks 6-14-2010
Last month, the mayor of Costa Mesa -- where I live -- proposed and passed a proclamation declaring our city a "Rule of Law" city. It is not that we were in total anarchy before May.
Steve Holt 11-27-2009

Imagine for a minute the fallout were a Muslim high school in America to choose for its mascot "the Jihadists."

In that light, how do you think Muslims (or Jews) view Christian schools whose mascot is "the Crusaders?"

Charles Gutenson 10-23-2009
Check out the FRC's latest ad opposing health-care reform:

Logan Isaac 8-04-2009
I'm a big fan of iTunesU, and I usually try to listen to informative podcasts on long drives, since I can't read and drive simultaneously.

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