The IAYM Board of Christian Social Concerns has discerned that our theme for this year is “Loving and Listening to Our Neighbors.” We believe that our culture in America has become toxic and antagonistic, and that human political divisions, fear, and anger have affected our churches more than we often want to admit. As followers of Jesus who are historically known for championing peacemaking, it would often seem that what passes for peacemaking for many of us today borders either on the side of avoidance, or warm hearted neglect. And before living out Jesus’ calls to be peacemakers who experience God’s blessings when it comes to things like international war, we need first to develop our skills with interpersonal peace. And where better to start than practicing peacemaking among ourselves?
Not having peace among the body of Christ can severely hinder our witness. Without unity and the maturity to do the hard work of reconciliation and restoration, and without the courage to address our differing perspectives, it will be hard for us to make disciples of Jesus. Charlotte Stangeland once said “a Christian should strive to be unoffendable”, and in our world that seems to be almost majoring in seeing the speck in our brothers eye, how might be not get sucked in by the whirlpool of hysteria? It is my conviction that our relationships with Christ and following his example, if nothing else, should allow us within the church to disagree agreeably.
Wiyh all this in mind the IAYM Board of Christian Social Concerns is challenging every church in the yearly meeting to go through a study of Ken Sande’s book “The Peacemaker: A biblical guide to resolving conflict”. This study includes a book, participation guide and DVD. The following guidelines were recommended: the group should be no larger than 10 participants, consider having two people be co-leaders, invite other church members/attendees within your Quarterly Meeting to participate with you and plan on 8-10 weeks to complete the study. A sermon series through biblical peacemaking principles could also be a wonderful asset to help those who may not have been exposed to it how rich what God’s word brings to bear on these subjects truly is.
We also desire more effective methods of communication to Monthly meetings such as articles in their newsletters, articles in Iowa Friend, MM visits by Christian Social Concerns committee members and highlight what each Monthly meeting is currently doing on our blog site, www.fieldsofjustice.org. What does each monthly meeting do in reaching out to their communities? Please let us know so we might highlight each others faith in action and spurn one another on to good deeds that bring glory to God.