Because peace is relational, it can be argued that there is no good news of God apart from living the truth in community (1 John 1:7). This may seem like an overstatement, but I believe our lenses have been significantly affected by our post-Constantinian world view, as well as by theologians such as Luther who have stressed God’s grace—which is amazing, to be sure—to such an extent that radical discipleship centered on Jesus and his values of peace and justice has been neglected (1).
People sometimes say to me, “Do this peace and justice thing on your own time. Don’t distract the church from the work of preaching the gospel.” But I believe this limited definition of the gospel is overly reductionistic. Jesus’ way was not limited to theological proclamations. It was love. It was peace. It was lived. A few examples from Jesus and the early teachers emphasize the relational aspect of the good news of Jesus’ kingdom:
In January I took a class at Semilla, an Anabaptist seminary in Guatemala—Peace and Justice: Latin American Perspectives. In describing the course to a friend on Facebook, I used the phrase, “peace theology.” He asked what I meant by this, and since Facebook is an insufficient platform for life’s more persistent questions, I posted the following thoughts on my blog to clarify.
Torture is not currently receiving the level of attention that it attracted over the past few years. Regardless, I decided to include torture in this Lenten series on peace and justice because not only will it be an on-going issue in the “War on Terror,” but it also acts as a window into Christian moral reasoning.
In my previous post on loving foreigners, I mentioned the episode of Who Do You Think You Are? which featured Emmitt Smith’s quest for his ancestral roots. At the end of the episode, Emmitt visits a school in Benin that is a safe haven for children who have been rescued from modern day slavery or human trafficking.
In Part 1 we established that the Jewish prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus and the early church were concerned about the economic life of the community. In light of Ellen White’s statement that economic injustice would be an on-going scourge, Wednesday’s task was to begin listening to the cry of the oppressed.