Peacemaker's Popcorn Guide
Online videos that provoke thinking and promote peace
Sit back, grab a bag of popcorn, and get ready to encounter some thought-provoking videos that can be found online. We’ve collected several 5-20 minute videos from Youtube, Vimeo, Q Ideas, TED, and other websites that should bring up important questions about peacemaking in the 21st century.
We believe these are important videos to see, even though we may not agree with every point that is made. The goal is to stimulate thinking and reflection. Each video contains an introduction, links, and 3-5 questions that can be used for either individual reflection or group discussion.
Sheena Iyengar: The Art of Choosing
Sheena Iyengar, a leading expert in choice theory, speaks about the ways people from different cultures make decisions. She shares several interesting insights from case studies from around the world, revealing that not all cultures thrive on the belief that the individual is the locus of decision making, as most of Westerners have been brought up to enjoy. She points out several assumptions we often make when it comes to the subject of decision making.
- When do you feel overwhelmed by decisions? (event, place, person, time)
- What is your process in making a decision?
- What or who influences your decisions? (advertisements, media, peers, parents, Bible)
How well do these influences reflect your values?
- Ask a friend from another culture how he or she makes decisions. If it is different from the way you do, what do you like about his/her choice-making culture?
Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story
A Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Aidchie, teaches about the danger of the single story. The single story shows people as only one way, over and over again until eventually that is all they become to the audience. One vivid example she uses is the depiction of “Africans” in literature, which exploits stereotypes that are not necessarily false but are nonetheless incomplete. The absence of the more complex story robs cultures and people of their dignity.
- Do you have any single stories of people or cultures that create judgments or predictions of how people act or behave?
- Read this article, entitled, "How to Write about Africa" by Binyavanga Wainaina. Read it fully or skim through it. Do any of these images or words reflect your own perceptions of “Africans”?
- As you watch TV or the news or read a magazine or a book, write down some of the stereotypes people might find by seeing this narrow depiction of American life.
Bob Robert’s Panel: So We Don’t Fear You
Pastor Bob Roberts hosts a panel of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders asking the question, “What does your tribe want us to know about you so that we don’t fear you?” Tribe, in this discussion, means the religious group you are a part of. The panelists, from varied and somewhat surprising backgrounds, give insight into misperceptions and stereotypes that hinder our understanding of one another.
- Which panelist’s answers surprised you the most?
- Were there any stereotypes or images that you have that don't reflect what was said by the panelists?
- Do you see Islam and Christianity as peaceful religious groups? What shapes that belief?
- How would you answer the question, “what does your tribe want others to know about you so that they don’t fear you?”
Mike Erre: Multi-faith Dialogue
How can someone engage in respectful dialogue without compromising their deeply held beliefs? Teaching pastor at Mariners Church in Mission Viejo, Mike Erre, speaks on the necessity of “multi-faith dialogue” as an alternative to “interfaith dialogue.” “Multi-faith dialogue” is a genuine meeting of individuals who may not share similar beliefs, values, and/or experiences but are willing to meet, share their lives, and work for the common good. Multifaith promotes love rather than just tolerance, conviction over compromise, and above all the rule of “love your neighbor as yourself.” Mike gave this talk at Lumen, an innovative conference of faith and culture, on the 10th anniversary of September 11th.
- Who in your life may not share your beliefs, values, and/or experience?
- Mike Erre asserts that Christians should begin multifaith interaction with confession of sin. Are there ways that your sin has negatively affected people of other faith? What sin do you need to confess to God and your neighbor?
- Mike quotes several passages from the Bible. Which passage challenges you the most?
- What benefits can you foresee in using the “multi-faith dialogue” method over the “inter-faith” dialogue?
Eboo Patel at the Global Faith Forum
Eboo Patel, an American Muslim and founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, addresses a group of Christians at the Global Faith Forum at Northwood Church. He talks about the increasing challenges of living in the U.S. as a Muslim and the need for people to protect and respect people from other faiths. Patel encourages people to promote peace, not in spite of their faith, but as a response to the robust peacemaking teaching found in their religious texts.
- Imagine you were at a meeting where people were celebrating the burning of a local Mosque. What passages from scripture would you use to promote peace and discourage this unloving mentality?
- Go to biblegateway.com and do a search for the word “peace” in the New Testament. Can you think of any sermons or Christian books that have focused on those passages?
- The Interfaith Youth Core focuses on bringing together people from different faith backgrounds for community service? Would you be comfortable with this?
- Imagine you were given the task of organizing a community service project with people from other backgrounds. How would you go about initiating the relationships with the other faith communities? What type of activity would you do?
Dr. Salim Munayer: Theology of Reconciliation
Dr. Salim Munayer is the Director of Musalaha, an organization working on the process of reconciliation in Israel and Palestine. He speaks on the importance of having a robust theology of reconciliation instead of the incomplete theologies that lead to exclusive support of either Israel or Palestine. He identifies the tendency of fundamentalist Christians to support Israel, mainline Christians to support Palestine, and shows how a deep theology of reconciliation will lead to a desire for the flourishing of both communities.
- Is it easier for you to love Palestinians or Israelis? Why is this?
- How does your theology affect the way you interact with people from other religions or communities?
- What do you think is the difference between reconciliation and peacemaking?
Jeremy Courtney: Preemptive Love in Iraq
Jeremy Courtney, executive director and cofounder of Preemptive Love Coalition, speaks about living as an American in Iraq and pursuing a lifestyle of preemptive love. He says, “violence unmakes the world,” but “preemptive love unmakes violence. Preemptive Love remakes the world through healing.” This philosophy of preemptive love has led Jeremy, and the staff of Preemptive Love, to work in partnership with Iraqis to eradicate the backlog of children who need heart surgery in Iraq. This video is filled with inspiring stories of peace, healing, and hope coming out of Iraq.
- Can you think of a moment when you have used the method of a preemptive strike because you did not trust someone?
- How do you think preemptive love could be used in your own life to unmake conflict and violence?
- Take 30 seconds to imagine a world where everyone chose the path of “preemptive strike.” Now take 30 seconds to imagine a world where everyone chose the path of “preemptive love.”
- Is the idea of “preemptive love” or “preemptive strike” more consistent with the teaching and example of Jesus? Why?
Mustafa Akyol : Faith Versus Tradition in Islam
Mustafa Akyol, a well-known Turkish journalist, discusses the difference between the Islamic faith and local traditional practices. In this compelling TED talk, Akyol asserts that traditions change and vary between regions, countries, communities, and are often shaped by globalization and other global activity. Although some practices aren’t necessarily found in Islamic text, they can become the predominant way society understands the Islamic faith. Sadly, this can lead to stereotypes and suspicions.
- What traditions do you associate with religions, Islam, Christianity, and/or Judaism?
- If you participate in a religion, do you practice any traditions that are not a part of your religious text or core beliefs? ( Ex. The sinners prayer, stained glass, youth ministry… )
- What do you believe are the core beliefs and practices within Islam? Where do you get your information?
- Do you have any beliefs that are similar to these Islamic values?
Jim Mullins: Carrot Cake Peacemaking
Can you be peacemaker without being a politician, religious leader, or wealthy philanthropist? Can average people have any real impact for peace? Jim Mullins, a co-founder of Peace Catalyst International and the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers, promotes the idea of “carrot cake peacemaking” and encourages people to be creative with the resources around them and their own strengths in order to build peace. You do not need to be a politician or a diplomat to be a peacemaker, but you can choose to wield your God-given time, talent, and treasure to creatively love your neighbor and pursue peace in this conflicted world.
- Look up “Muslims” on Google images. How many images do you see linked to conflict, violence, and hostility? How many of these images are a part of what you think of when you talk about Muslims?
- What are some of your talents and resources?
- Take 10 minutes and think of ways you could leverage your talents and resources to bless others and contribute to human flourishing.
Todd Deatheradge: Middle East Uprising
What should we make of the Arab Spring? How should we view these revolutions as Americans, as followers of Jesus, or as people who want peace? Todd Deatherage, co-founder of the Telos Group and former staff member for the Bush Administration, provides some insight and understanding to these events. As someone who has worked extensively in the Middle East, he shares his thoughts about the role of Americans and American evangelicals in this movement.
- What does it mean to be an agent of hope rather than a purveyor of fear?
- Why is it important that we recognize that the Bible starts in Genesis 1, rather than Genesis 3? How might this affect the way we understand the events in the Middle East?
- What do you think about the idea that when there is no avenue for justice, people often turn to violence and despair?
- How do you think a person’s understanding of the “end times” might affect the way he/she understands Jesus’s call to be a peacemaker?
- Why is it important for words and actions to be aligned in foreign policy? Do you think the United States has had a foreign policy that is in line with the ideals of America? How did you come to that conclusion?
- Do you have any friends from the Middle East? If not, how would you go about building those friendships?
- Why is it important to be both Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestine in order to be Pro-peace?
Sam Richards: A Radical Experiment in Empathy
Sam Richards, a sociology professor at Penn State, expounds upon the process of empathy. By leading the audience through a re-narration of history and their own identity, he invites the audience to step into the shoes of someone else’s life. After exploring new hopes, fears, and perceptions as “the other,” connections and relationships are more easily visible. We encourage you to watch the entire video even if you do not agree with everything Richards says. This is a very challenging and interesting video.
- What emotions did you feel as you watched this video? Why do you think you felt those particular emotions?
- Who do you struggle with having empathy for?
- Who do you wish would show empathy towards you?
- Through your experience with conflict, individual to global level, what kind of distrusts or hurt do you have?
- Watch a movie or read a book on a conflict outside of your world experience. Try to imagine yourself as one of the characters.