an excerpt from Practicing Reconciliation
we all ask; stories that help with the answers
OF FAITH AND DOUBT
are we to respond to acts of terrorism and the hatred expressed
by self-proclaimed "enemies" of Christianity?
Way to Peace
short interview with Michael
author of Practicing Reconciliation in
a Violent World
Is it really possible for us to live in peace?
possibility lies within perception, and perception is learned. So,
in short, we must learn to see peace as a necessary reality. Inevitably,
because of increasing human capacity to destroy the planet, we will
learn to live peaceably with others.
How can I love my enemy when my enemy only wishes me harm?
paradox here is that the same person who proves to be our enemy
can also be our friend. In other words, there is no such thing as
a pure enemy—there is more of a continuum between friendship
and enmity in all of us. So, just as it is easy to love those who
love us, we must enter the fray and seek to shape the continuum
always toward friendship. This is what Jesus means by discipleship.
No one can force friendship (not even Jesus). We all have the capacity
for betrayal and hatred. Jesus, however, always entered relationships
with the disciples as a catalyst to move toward love rather than
are other people important to my personal relationship with God?
Great question! No one can be a Christian alone . . . just like
God is not God alone. We depend on others for our salvation, and
the greatest other is God. And the reason God is not God alone is
because Christians believe that God is three persons in one nature.
reconciliation mean that I can't stand up for what I believe?
Reconciliation demands such assertion. You see, to be reconciled
demands that the broken bone be set. The pain in doing so makes
us all conscious. This means that cheap grace and false piety get
in the way and act as gangrene in healing and true reconciliation.
is the first step toward reconciling myself with others?
For the Christian, the first step is belief in God in Christ—without
belief in God in Christ (the one who is really capable of forgiveness),
reconciliation is unachievable and unintelligible. Jesus constantly
taught first to love God, and by so doing, we will eventually love
does heaven have to do with the mess here on earth?
Without a perspective of transcendent life (the community of saints),
we create a self-fulfilling prophecy of eat, drink and be merry
because tomorrow we die. Heaven is a necessary corrective to such
nearsightedness. As many of us know, heaven has gotten a bad rap
because Freud and Marx have rightly criticized many so called Christians
who said they believed in heaven when all along they were worshipping
themselves in delusion. But we should not throw the baby out with
the bath water. Human beings naturally imprint upon reality (like
baby ducklings need the mother duck to know how to be a duck). We
need heaven in order to know how to live on earth.
To purchase a copy of PRACTICING
RECONCILIATION IN A VIOLENT WORLD by Michael Battle, visit amazon.com.
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