Rich: “I am with you. In heart and in being fixated on Jesus’ call for His followers to be peacemakers. Many others are also, at least I would like to believe it is so. But, we have questions. And the questions tend to be about the extreme cases we hear on the news. We hear that Hamas will never recognize Israel’s right to exist. If that’s true and they choose to launch rockets in Israel, What is Israel to do and what is the United States to do and what is the church/Christians to do?
We have questions about how to make peace with killers who enter a village and slaughter all the men and enslave the women and children, all in the name of their god and desired state. I know how Jesus made peace – He died for them. Is that how we make peace? Go to them with the gospel of peace, asking them to lay down their arms and follow Jesus the Prince of Peace. And when they kill us, we know that we have done the will of God and that He will draw them to His Son when sufficient Christians have been killed for the light of God and all that is good to dawn on them? I am just radical enough about Jesus to say, “Yes, that’s the way,” but it’s terribly hard to find volunteers.
Andy, you are getting an earful because I have no one else to talk to about these things. And I am not trying to put words in your mouth. Those are my words. Jesus has often made Himself known through the persecution and even death of His followers. That is one of His great methods. The world gets a witness and Christ followers get to be like their Master. What could be better?
My suspicion is that many Christians want peace. They also have fears about allowing evil to overrun the innocent (or the more evil running over the less evil). How do your peacemaking efforts address these questions?”
Andy: Rich, we just had a team meeting last week in Denver and had a very important presentation from a board member who has worked with the military and intelligence community on this. Here is a graphic presented and some of my thoughts re: where we are inserted in relationships and conversations. Did you know that over 100 American citizens are fighting with ISIS? My Sunday School answer to “how can we solve this problem” is this: We need to mobilize more loving Christians into loving, Christ centered relationships with Muslims. Parenthetically, our presenter, who is an authority in terrorism and radicalization stated that this problem is not the sole domain of Islam. There is a long and growing shopping list of white supremacist and other groups that are growing in our country. Btw, I wonder what Peter would have become after the encounter with the soldiers in the garden if Jesus had not rebuked him for wielding the sword?