Peace among nations is a noble goal worth pursuing. It is also impossible without the other facets of peace being in place. Treaties are mere scraps of paper without transformation of hearts and minds. As we pray for our leaders and for concord among all cultures, here are some pathways to peace essential for human flourishing:
Personal peace with God and oneself. Conflicted, guilty and wounded hearts are underneath so much pathological activity and strife. This peace comes when individuals are reconciled to God and with their own pasts.
Peace among families. In 1967, Neil Diamond wrote and recorded a powerful song, Husbands and Wives, containing these words, “It’s my belief/pride is the chief/cause of the decline /in the numbers of husbands and wives.” It is time for spouses to decide ahead of time that they will remain faithful in body and spirt to their partners and their children.
Peace within and among churches. The local church is Jesus’ Plan A for his mission and the hope of the world…and all too often a place of discord and power struggles. May the faith, hope and love of the Gospel bring humility and mutual respect among all members.
Peace among diverse classes and cultures, educational backgrounds and ethnicities. Global ideals are only as strong as their local applications. When we make friends across classes and cultures and work for the common good, there is a ripple effect that becomes influential across the street and around the world.
And the key to all these facets of peace? A decision on the apart of at least 2 people to think of God’s glory and the good of others before themselves. In other words, letting love and humility, courage and wisdom win out over ambition and ego.
May this Advent find all of us at peace with Christ and fostering peace in our families and neighborhoods. We do not need the State house, the Beltway or the UN to lead the way – it begins in our hearts and homes.
Our deep divisions come from an impoverished anthropology.
We must reaffirm that all persons we encounter are made in God’s image with vocations of worship and work, play and rest, mutual self-donation and personal flourishing.
Our new anthropology must embrace created dignity, sin-infected depravity, gracious new creation in Christ and the restoration of all creation, as we enjoy God’s eternal reign.
Class and culture, gender and race are transformed with this new vision.
Transforming our society begins with love and truth.
Love: I desire and act for the good of others.
Truth: I assume responsibility for my decisions while recognizing larger influences I may not always control.
As we pray and work for justice, Pastor Chris Brooks’ words resound:
”We must confront individual iniquity and institutional injustice.”
”Poverty is not permanent.”
Poverty, racism, sexism, classism: all can be overcome with unselfish actions rooted in love and truth.
A free society is a virtuous society.
A virtuous society is built on timeless truth.
And it all begins and ends with self-donating love.
And that love is Triune.
Dear Donald Trump,
I pen these words with prayers for you and our nation.
You have caused quite a stir.
But unsettling the political landscape is not statesmanship.
For some you are the key to our nation’s survival.
Others see a narcissist running a new reality show.
I think you are – like all people – beautiful and broken – gifted and selfish, concerned about country and struggling with character.
Many share your concerns on immigration and jobs, national security and terrorism, inefficient government and insecurity about America’s future.
I know that many of your positions are “opening negotiating positions” especially the ban on Muslim immigration and the wall with Mexico.
But Mr. Trump, character matters. You cannot shout, “crooked Hillary” and not face your own challenges. I call on you to cease personal insults and offer clarity on:
- Immigration that remains hospitable.
- Job creation that keeps goods flowing globally.
- Abortion: will you support the Republican platform?
- First and Second Amendment liberties.
- Racial reconciliation – how to we reduce tensions and engender unity?
And there is much more…
I haven’t decided my vote. Frankly, I am dismayed that neither party could do better.
Will you envision a future and demonstrate the ethics necessary for all to flourish or are you merely one more demagogue we must endure?
Stop the insults. Start sharing insights. Come clean on any hidden issues.
And above all, cease boasting about all you will do.
Please articulate what all of us must do for a better future.
I already have a Savior…I am looking for a public servant.