Monday, May 16, 2005
Bringing Light to a Culture of Fear
This post is borrowed from the blog of my Ooze friend DesertPastor. Since he didn't create the original material I didn't think he'd mind if I posted here too without asking. :) Thanks DP!

History professor, John D. Roth of Goshen College, recently delivered a stirring lecture entitled "Called to One Peace: Christian Faith and Political Witness in a Divided Culture". Although the lecture was written to the Anabaptist/Mennonite community, I believe it offers a powerful word to all followers of Christ. Consider Dr. Roth's concluding remarks:

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Behind our white-knuckled focus one the "hot button" issues, behind the passions of the Red/Blue divide, is the reality of fear... we live in a culture dominated by fear:

...in the past three years, we have spent nearly $400 billion on anti-terror measures; we have defeated and occupied two countries; we have created a Department of Homeland Security; curtailed immigration; transformed airport security systems ...and yet even in the most wealthy and powerful nation on earth, we still live in fear.

...every night, the evening news floods us with images of more suicide bombs and the inevitable retaliations, more refugees, more massacres, more self-justifications: we live in a world where hatred breeds more hatred, violence begets more violence – with every side certain that it is fighting a Just War; that its cause is on the side of Truth and Justice.

...closer to home, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans have defined the future as US or THEM; our goodness vs. their evil; our Truth vs. their Deception.

In the midst of all this, Christians — redeemed by the power of God’s love — are invited to bear witness to a different sort of reality. In the midst of the pain and division and violence around us, Christians should be holding out to the world a candle of hope. To be sure, the flicker of that candle might seem tiny and insignificant; it may not illuminate all the corners where darkness holds sway. The good news of the gospel offers no promise of political success; there are no guarantees that the Love of Chirist will convince tyrants to put down their weapons, or bring an end to suffering or injustice.

But by holding up the light, Christians bear witness to the world:
...that the darkness of hatred and division will not prevail
...that love is stronger than fear
...that allegiance to the body of Christ comes before all other allegiances
...and that history is ultimately shaped not by human might nor by power but by the spirit of the living God.

And so this evening, I invite all of you who are followers of Jesus to be shining examples of the transformative power of God’s love - and may the healing of the world begin with the hard, joyful, work of reconciliation in our own congregations and our own church.
 
posted by Mike Clawson at 1:12 AM | Permalink |


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