Peacemaking Category

Featured Peacemaker: Josh Daneshforooz

In the coming months, we'll be highlighting a different Jesus-centered peacemaker or organization once a month. These are people that you need to know if you are interested in peacemaking, and the first one we'd like to highlight is Josh Daneshforooz.

We Are Fellow Pilgrims

“We are fellow pilgrims, wanting to know God and to do His will.” This was our motto, our sincere statement of life purpose and understanding between us. Five men around the table, holy books open, sipping tea and snacking on homemade pastries.

Communities of Reconciliation: Who Will Define Christian-Muslim Relations?

I anxiously prepared for our first Community of Reconciliation gathering. Would anyone show up? Busy international scholars and students are not the easiest people to gather together.

Misunderstanding

I looked in my rearview mirror, and a young man in an old Lincoln Towncar was right on my bumper and really agitated about something. I looked at him in the mirror and he flipped me off. WHAT is going on with this guy?

Cultivating Peace Habits

Rain turned to hail as Rory and Linda Brannum drove down the road. They were shocked to see a naked woman in the distance on the side of the road. As they got closer, Lashunda Richardson dove right in front of their car. Rory slammed on the brakes and screeched to a halt ��" barely missing Lashunda. Rory jumped out of the car and called 911, thinking this was a suicide attempt.

Peacebuilding Communication Leads to Healthy Organizations

I had the privilege of doing mediation, peacemaking, and organizational consulting for a Christian organization recently. We faced a seemingly intractable conflict and dysfunctional organizational practices. As was expected, this led to tense moments and periods of confusion. However, there was success on all three fronts: mediation was accomplished, peace was experienced, and the organizational realignment was implemented. Why were we successful?

Stories from Afghanistan: an Evangelical, a Jihadist, and a Communist Muslim?

When my friend introduced me to my Afghan officemate, he said, "Thomas, please meet Mr. Siraji, a key part of the Aghan-Turk staff. Mr. Siraji was a member of the Mujahideen. He was one of the youngest jihadists fighting against the Russians. But don't worry, Thomas. He has come down from the mountain, he has shaved his beard, and he is MOSTLY civilized now!"

Stories from Afghanistan: When God Ran

  This is part two of Thomas Davis's "Stories from Afghanistan" series. For the context and ba...

Video: Peacemaking for Dummies

In our most recent video, Rick Love discusses Romans 12:18 - the one-verse peacemaking manual, as he puts it. Enjoy, and feel free to share this with your friends.

Video: What Peace Catalyst Is All About

We're very excited to announce that we've been working on some new Peace Catalyst videos recently! And today's... an easy, concise description of who we are and what we do. We hope you enjoy this, and we hope you'll also share it with your friends and anyone you know who is interested in peacemaking. Thanks for helping us spread the word!

Peacemaking without Borders Part Two: The Six Spheres of Peacemaking

What would happen if evangelicals were as proactive in their approach to peace as Jesus commanded? What would happen if the evangelical view of peace was as comprehensive as the Bible’s? In my previous blog I described the Spectrum of Peacemaking, a consistent and comprehensive peace ethic for the individual believer. By contrast, the Six Spheres of Peacemaking relate to the church universal. It is something that God’s people from around the globe are involved in.

Peacemaking without Borders: A Peacemaking Spectrum Part One

Most churches have specific ministries and formally-appointed people to work in the areas of evangelism, counseling, and spiritual direction. But few churches have specific ministries or formally-appointed people to do peacemaking in the church, with neighbors, or enemies. But these are things that EVERY believer needs to do and know how to do.

Tables Turned - A Case Study

When he first came into the room, I initially thought he was a homeless person looking for food. The restaurant workers greeted the man as though they knew him. The restaurant owner said, “I’ve always been Muslim, but my friend here,” he pointed to the bearded man, “he might have a different perspective. He was a Christian but converted to Islam.” He then asked his friend to speak.

Fighting For Truth and Keeping The Peace: James Show Us We Can Do Both

One of the things I love about the Bible is its brutal honesty. It doesn’t sugarcoat the heroes of the faith nor the environment in which they lived. So it’s not surprising to find detailed accounts about conflict in the Bible. One of the most prominent and significant conflicts in the Bible took place in Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 15. We know it as the Jerusalem Council, and at stake was the very essence of the gospel. We know the outcome of this council, but we will miss valuable relational lessons if we only see this as a battle for truth. It is also a brilliant example of peacemaking and conflict resolution facilitated by Jesus’s little brother James.

Five Core Competencies of Conflict Resolution Part Five: Forgive Others

We are social beings built for peace. Every human being inherently longs for harmonious relationship...

Five Core Competencies of Conflict Resolution Part Four: Ask for Forgiveness

Asking for forgiveness is humbling. Who likes to admit they’re wrong? But if we want to make things right, we need to do this right. This blog is part four of a series on the five core competencies of conflict resolution: 1) Take Responsibility 2) Lovingly Reprove 3) Accept Reproof 4) Ask for Forgiveness and 5) Forgive others. In this blog we will look at what it means to ask for forgiveness.

Five Core Competencies of Conflict Resolution Part Three: Accept Reproof

Whenever I teach on peacemaking I ask those at the seminar, “Which aspect of conflict resoluti...

Five Core Competencies of Conflict Resolution Part Two: Lovingly Reprove

This is part two in a series about the five core competencies of conflict resolution. In my last blog I focused on taking responsibility. We are accountable for our part in the conflict, and we take initiative by going to the person privately. But what do we say? This is the second core competency.

Five Core Competencies of Conflict Resolution Part One

We all know the pain of conflict. We have been wounded by words and wounded others with our words. In our hearts we realize that unresolved conflict poisons relationships and multiplies alienation. So we need help. Many people have the will to make peace but not the skill. So in my next number of blogs I want to strengthen readers' will and help with the skills of peacemaking. To do that, we will look at five core competencies of conflict resolution.

Don’t Get Ambushed: Two Things You Can Do When Sparks Fly on Your Team

Leaders disagree, sparks fly, and teams divide. Been there. Done that. Here are two lessons I have gleaned that can help you keep from being ambushed by conflict.

Sweet People, Sweet Potatoes: Multi-Faith Friends Do the Dirty Work

Last spring, I had the privilege of facilitating the launch of a group we would later begin calling "Multi-Faith Friends for the Common Good." On March 11, three Jews, four Muslims, and five Christians met in the library at Apex Mosque with two chief goals. One, we wanted to have a go at building genuine, authentic friendship with one another across the obvious cultural and ideological divides, which were perceived to be vast. And two, we wanted to see if, in the context of these new friendships, we could find a way to work together for the good of our community.

Peacemaking Defined

What exactly is peacemaking? What's the difference between peacemaking and reconciliation? Are they the same thing? If you wonder about questions like this, Rick Love gives some answers in today's short video clip.

Raising a Harvest of Righteousness

What can bring together a group of Muslims, Christians, and Jews who desire to find reconciliation and to serve those in need? Gardening, that's what! Recently, "Multi-Faith Friends for the Common Good", a group facilitated by Peace Catalyst in Raleigh, North Carolina, came together at a local farm managed by Goodwill Industries to harvest produce for donation to the North Carolina Food Bank, which distributes food aid to the needy.

Dialogue with Recreational Reconciliation

When some of my international who are friends studying in Davis and the San Francisco Bay area were going to have a one-week break from school, I thought how great it would be for them to see Yosemite Valley. What could be better than to continue to grow in genuine friendship and dialogue about culture, faith, family, and life in the beauty of Yosemite Valley?

Oh the Simplexity of Social Peacemaking!

The famous Yale theologian and peacemaker Miroslav Volf spoke recently to pastors at the Vineyard Great Lakes Regional Conference in Columbus, Ohio. He told a story about the Common Word Dialogue between Christians and Muslims at Yale: "Prior to the dialogue, we inserted a brief apology, asking for forgiveness in the Yale response to the Common Word. People got so upset! They said you should not ask for forgiveness until Muslims ask for forgiveness first!" Miroslav paused, and with a big smile on his face asked, "Since when is my moral behavior predicated on the moral behavior of another?"

Peacefakers, Peacebreakers, and Peacemakers

If you're reading this blog, there's a good chance you're a follower of the Prince of Peace. You want to follow Jesus into a world of conflict, and you want to embody the peaceable ways of Jesus. Yet good intentions and loving aspirations frequently fail in the face of conflict (I can testify to that!). In reality, we are often peacebreakers. Some of us are even by nature peacefakers, and yet we long to be peacemakers.

Jesus' Sunna of Peace

Dialog between various religious partners is not about melting differences into one tepid spiritual brew. Yet as we retain the distinctives at the core of our faith, we should enter the conversation with open hearts, attentive ears, and minds eager to learn. I've gained so much and have become a better follower of Jesus through my interaction with Muslim friends over the years. It works in the other direction as well.

Video: Sally Harr & the Somali Bantu

Working with Muslim refugees in Phoenix is a powerful opportunity for peacemaking and for promoting the peace of our city. We're continuing to work with the Somali Bantu community in Phoenix to put on multiple-times-weekly English and citizenship classes, and we're so thankful for all the volunteers who make it possible. We couldn't do this work without our incredible and faithful volunteers, so today we'd like to share the video story of Sally Harr, who has been invaluable to our work with the Somali Bantu.

The Heart of Peacemaking

"There are too many angry peacemakers!" bemoaned a friend of mine during an Evangelical Peacemaking Summit. Everyone laughed, because we all realized the irony of it. Sometimes those who wrestle with injustice and seek peace don't embody the very message they bring. They have the right beliefs and the right actions, but not the right affections. Something is wrong in their hearts.

Evangelical Homeschoolers Visit a Mosque

Recently, I had the privilege of speaking to a group of North Carolina homeschoolers and then leading them on a tour of their neighborhood mosque. A few minutes before we would go across the street to the mosque, I asked the kids if they had ever been to a mosque and how they were feeling about our pending visit.

Peacemaking for Dummies

People like learning from experts. And better yet, experts who not only know their stuff but who give good advice based on personal experiences. As we learn from them and experience for ourselves the truth of what they have to teach, they become more credible. They are teachers we can trust. In Indonesia we have a phrase for people like this: sudah makan banyak garam, which literally means people who "have eaten much salt." People who eat much salt have a lot of life experience and know what they are talking about.

Brit Milah, A Rabbi's Kiss, and The Birth of Multi-Faith Friendship

This week I made my second-ever visit to a synagogue and for the first time participated in a brit milah, the Jewish circumcision ritual. Rabbi Eric Solomon and Rabbi Jenny Solomon, of Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh, recently welcomed their son into the world, and they honored me immensely by inviting me to join other friends and family at the ceremony.

Anthems of Peace

No tomorrow? This morning on the radio I heard a song with the words, "Let your little light shine like there's no tomorrow." It got me wondering: are believers called to live as though there's no tomorrow, or are we called to live towards a better tomorrow? Let me put it like this: are we to live in apocalyptic fear or in resurrection hope? Pessimism, realism, optimism? Is there another option?

Investing His Peace

I have shared an elevator with the Managing Director of the IMF. It's in interesting feeling to exchange a smile with the woman recently gracing the cover of Newsweek magazine with the title, "The Trillion Dollar Woman." In a very real sense, she and her team of economists are given the task of fixing a frighteningly broken world. An economist and a pastor... are we not partners in the same task? A trillion dollar woman and a spirit-filled man?

Rest in Peace

Let me give a gift to all of those burnt-out, disturbed, and anxious peacemakers out there! Here it is: Rest!

The Message Ringing out from Bethlehem

I lectured at the Bethlehem Bible College (BBC), founded by Bishara Awad, for the three years the Oslo Peace Process was getting underway (1993-1996). For my youth ministry courses, I required students to make several visits to the YMCA Rehabilitation Center in Beit Sahour, the village literally down the hill from Bethlehem (also the traditional site where angels told some shepherds about Jesus’ birth). There, they spent time with Muslim young men who had been shot or tortured by the Israeli military.

Shalom in the Arrival City: How Serving Refugees Contributes to Global Peace

The word carniceria can be found in shopping malls all over Phoenix. In Spanish, the word means “meat market.” Most of these carnicieria’s are owned by entrepreneurs from a Latin American background. However, there is one not far from my house called Somali Carniceria. It’s a fully functioning store that serves the East African community of East Phoenix. Instead of buying a new sign, the owners adapted the sign that was left behind from a Latino butcher that had formerly rented the space, making a Hispanic-Somali monument to the layered diversity of Phoenix.

Practical Peacemaking: Be a Mediator Like Jesus

I read a book last week on mediation and laughed when the author (a lawyer who has mediated over 7000 cases) shared personally. She said that her 90 year old parents still mediate between her and her sisters! Wow, a trained lawyer and veteran mediator still needed the practical help of her parents to mediate conflict with her siblings. Mediation is a profoundly practical and important aspect of peacemaking.

Friendship, Peacemaking, and Bearing Witness

Can we be faithful to the friendship and at the same time desire to bear witness of God’s amazing love through Jesus? What does it mean to be evangelical peacemakers. We aspire to be fruitful peacemakers and faithful evangelicals. What does this mean for us?

Can you really be an Evangelical Peacemaker?

What does it mean to be an evangelical peacemaker? For many this is an oxymoron. How can you be a true peacemaker and at the same time be a faithful evangelical? I get criticisms from both Muslims and Christians about this. Some Muslims accuse us of doing peacemaking only as a means to evangelize. Some Christians believe that peacemaking without evangelizing is meaningless. Is this really an either/or issue? Is there a tension between peacebuilding and gospeling?

The Gospel of the Kingdom or the Gospel of Christ Crucified … Revisited

Rick Love concludes his previous blog post about the Gospel of the Kingdom vs. the Gospel of Christ Crucified. Are they the same? Or is one better than the other?

Biblical Holism: Gospel of the Kingdom and/or Gospel of Christ Crucified?

Rick Love continues his series on Biblical Holism by asking the question, Is the "gospel of the kingdom" the same as the "gospel of salvation?"

Biblical Holism: Jesus Came to Reverse the Curse

The impact of sin is multidimensional. It affects our relationship with God, our relationship with ourselves, our relationships with one another, and our relationship with creation. Therefore, we need reconciliation that is also multidimensional.

Detroit’s "TheCall" Seen Through Muslim Eyes

Haroon Moghul is the epitome of the young, charismatic and connected American Muslim leader. A Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University, he is a sought-after speaker on the interfaithcircuit (including CNN, NPR, the New Yorker, and the Guardian). His latest piece in Religion Dispatches describes his experience as an “undercover” Muslim attending an all-night Christian prayer vigil at Detroit’s Ford Field stadium.

Biblical Holism: Is the Good News Just About Getting People to Heaven?

Jesus did not come only to save souls. He came to heal and restore a broken world (creation and restoration). The gospel is not just about personal salvation. The gospel is about making us new creatures and about God building a new creation.

Lumen Video: Carl Medearis

We've been posting videos of Peace Catalyst staff speaking at a recent event called Lumen, and today we'd like to post one last video. A friend of ours, Carl Medearis, also spoke at this event, and we thought you would enjoy hearing his story. Carl is an American who used to live in Lebanon, and in this video, he speaks to Christians about his friendships with Muslims leaders in Iraq and the conversations he's had with them about Jesus.

Lumen Video: Michael Ly

Last week we posted Jim Mullins' story about how he became a peacemaker, and today we'd like to share Michael Ly's story. With Buddhist parents, a Jesus-centered faith of his own, and a deep love for his Muslim friends, Michael has quite a story to tell. Don't miss this.

Your Eternal Destiny Depends on How you Treat your Neighbor

A lawyer puts Jesus to the test by asking one of the most important questions of life: "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" In typical fashion, Jesus uses spiritual jujitsu on the lawyer by putting him to the test: "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" The lawyer gives a good orthodox response: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" But apparently getting an “A” in orthodoxy is not enough. Jesus says, "You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live."

9/11 in the USA and 7/22 in Norway: Facing our Fears about Muslims and Islam

The Bush Administration responded to 9/11 with “the war on terror.” Anders Breivik committed his crimes on 22 July 2011 because he felt that Europe as a whole, and Norway in particular, had been naive in their response to Islam. Have we learned anything from what has happened in the last ten years about the way we think about Islam and relate to Muslims, and can we articulate a considered, long-term response to these events? This is my own personal check-list of ways in which I believe all of us in Europe – and Christians in particular – should be responding to these challenges.

Carl Medearis: "The Myth of 'Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin'"

Just yesterday, Carl Medearis posted this on his blog, and we liked it so much we're re-posting it here for you, just in case you missed it. All done with Carl's permission, of course. Let us know what you think. We'd love to hear your responses.

Peacemaking Trends among Evangelicals and Muslims - Part 2

I wrote an article for Christianity Today recently titled, “Have Muslim-Christian relations improved since 9/11? As I reflected on the topic and did some research, I was surprised at how many evangelical organizations and individuals are engaged in peacemaking. When I wrote the article for Christianity Today I was restricted to 500 words, so I could only mention a few organizations. But I have no such limitations here! Check out these organizations, individuals and books on the topics for both Evangelicals and Muslims.

Peacemaking Trends among Evangelicals and Muslims - Part 1

I wrote an article for Christianity Today recently titled, “Have Muslim-Christian relations improved since 9/11? As I reflected on the topic and did some research, I was surprised at how many evangelical organizations and individuals are engaged in peacemaking. When I wrote the article for Christianity Today I was restricted to 500 words, so I could only mention a few organizations. But I have no such limitations here! Check out these organizations, individuals and books on the topics for both Evangelicals and Muslims.

Martin Luther King Jr., American Muslims, and 9/11

I am thrilled about the new memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Dr. King is the first non-President to be honored in this way. How fitting that his monument stands between those of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. Thomas Jefferson defined the dream of equality for all, Abraham Lincoln fought for it, and Martin Luther King Jr. implemented it – at least with respect to the African American community. I rejoice that we are honoring Dr. King. Nevertheless, I wonder if we really get how disturbing and radical his message was. As my good friend and colleague Jim Mullins reminds me, peacemakers sometimes have to be peace disturbers to be effective.

Multi-faith Dialogue: Being Both Friendly and Faithful

Jim Mullins blogs about Multi-Faith Dialogue and how Muslims and Christians can work together for the common good without compromising what we believe.

An Historic Declaration Which Should Be Widely Studied and Implemented

Because of my position at Yale University, I have unique opportunities to meet regularlywith some of the very top Muslim religious leaders from around the world. For some I am the only evangelical Christian they have ever met, so they naturally ask me about issues in Evangelical-Muslim relations. They are often surprised to learn that religious liberty is among the paramount concerns we wish to raise with our Muslim friends.

It’s a Miracle!

Liberal Protestants, Catholics and Evangelicals Unite … to Produce a Ground Breaking Document: “Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World

Interfaith Dialogue: Compromising and Unfruitful... Really?

A close friend of mine was sharing his heart with me. “Rick, I was talking about the Seven Resolutions Against Prejudice, Hatred & Discrimination with a well-known pastor. The pastor dismissed the document without even reading it, saying, ‘I don’t do interfaith stuff!’ How do I respond to this?”

Orthodoxy, Heresy and Bridge-Building

Pastor Joe was frustrated. "Rick," he said, "I am being accused of becoming liberal because I am seeking to love my Muslim neighbors." "I can relate," I assured him. "I have been accused of heresy and compromising the gospel because I am too positive toward Muslims and Islam." Here's what I told Pastor Joe ..

Igniting a Peace Revolution: Following the One Who Is Full of Grace and Truth

Jesus was full of grace and truth (John 1:14). As his followers, we should walk in the fullness of grace and truth in our relationships with Muslims. Because of this, Peace Catalyst International (PCI) recently wrote up its own version of "Grace and Truth" (see the Peace Catalyst website for background about the Grace and Truth Project). In honor of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, Peace Catalyst International affirms ten biblical guidelines that will enable Jesus’ followers to serve as his representatives in relationship with Muslims of every persuasion:

Wanted: Evangelicals (like David Shenk) who Model the Peaceable Ways of Jesus

When God turned my life toward peacemaking, I had a difficult time finding a mature evangelical leader who was both an authentic peacemaker and a faithful witness to Jesus. Where could I find an older coach or mentor to help me in this transition? I finally found one in David Shenk

Lessons Learned

"Why don't more Christians live by their book? This is a wonderful and extraordinary teaching, but why do so many Christians not live by it?"

Metropolitan Kyril Risks His Life to Save Bulgarian Jews

During the Second World War, not a single Bulgarian Jew died in a concentration camp, largely because of the compassionate bravery of Metropolitan Kyril.

Peacemaking in the Way of Jesus: Imam Ishafa and Pastor James

In 1995, a mutual friend brought Imam Ashafa and Pastor James together and told them that they could end much of the violence if they would just get to know one another. The imam and the pastor decided to give it a shot. Heroically, they forgave one another and began to build bridges of friendship and trust.

Evangelicals and Interfaith Dialogue

What would it look for Evangelicals to create and host the best multi-faith events in the world? What if Evangelicals became known for valuing people of all faiths, ethnicities, and backgrounds because we are all made in the image of God?

No Christ. No Peace. Know Christ. Know Peace?

Is it true to say that there is no peace outside of Christ? Rick Love asks the question in this post.

Evangelical Peacemakers: Both-And Thinkers … and Doers!

What do a Jewish Rabbi, a Protestant Pastor and an Evangelical missionary have in common? Not much usually. But in discussions with three such people, I found that they were all “either-or” thinkers. I have no problem with that. But there are also numerous cases in areas of logic, evidence or theology that points toward the need for “both-and” thinking.

Calling all Evangelicals to become friends with Muslims!

As I speak with Evangelicals in the Pacific Northwest, I am amazed at how many “experts” and strong opinions there are on the topic of Islam and Muslims in America. So when I ask the next question – “so, do you have any friends that are Muslims?” – I expect to hear about a long list of people that have helped them form their opinions. Unfortunately, most so-called “experts” do not have any Muslim friends, and upon digging deeper it becomes apparent that most Americans' opinions about Muslims have been formed by media, especially television and internet.

Peacemaking and Justice: Tipping the Scales Toward Loving Relationships

Justice is a crucial component of peacemaking. But the struggle for justice must be placed within the overarching framework of God’s loving, reconciling purposes. In other words, the scales of God’s justice tip in the direction of loving relationships.

Love Your Enemy: At the Heart of Christian Theology or Impossible Dream?

If we are serious about following Jesus, we need to love our enemies – even those who are “perceived” enemies (like Muslims). Imagine the powerful and positive impact followers of Christ could have on Muslims if we reached out to them with this kind of Christ-like love.

Peacemaking: Why it’s a really big deal

In the next number of weeks, I will be writing several blog posts on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and peacemaking topics. In this post, I want to give an overview of the scope and significance of peacemaking in Scripture.

Peacemaking and Sharing the Good News: Odd couple or match made in heaven?

I was talking about Peace Catalyst International (PCI) at a meeting recently, when a woman exclaimed, “But if people don’t come to Christ, everything else is worthless!” Really? Worthless? What is the relationship between peacemaking and sharing the good news?

An Agenda as Great as the Gospel

I am reading for the second time a stimulating book about the Celts, The Celtic Way of Evangelism by George G. Hunter III. What a movement! These fourth century Christians model so many things I long for: The Celts lived in community, practiced contemplative prayer, engaged in power ministry, emphasized social justice, contextualized their faith, loved creation, valued scholarship and did all this in the context of obeying Jesus’ command to “make disciples of all nations.”

Do Not Let the Good Stuff Get in the Way of Jesus

My friend Carl Medearis tells an enlightening story about teaching at a large church in Texas. He asked the group “what is the gospel?” and then made a list of the students' answers on the chalkboard. They answered, "the free gift of God, freedom from sin, eternal life, grace, unconditional love, healing and deliverance, redemption, faith in God, new life." Next he asked the class if they missed anything. The class sat silent for a minute. Then a girl raised her hand and asked, “How come none of us mentioned Jesus?”

Lumen Video: Carl Medearis

We've been posting videos of Peace Catalyst staff speaking at a recent event called Lumen, and today we'd like to post one last video. A friend of ours, Carl Medearis, also spoke at this event, and we thought you would enjoy hearing his story. Carl is an American who used to live in Lebanon, and in this video, he speaks to Christians about his friendships with Muslims leaders in Iraq and the conversations he's had with them about Jesus.