Thursday, June 09, 2011

Are You a Peacemaker?

“A much neglected aspect of the mission of Jesus according to Luke is that of peace-making, of nonviolent resistance to evil, of the futility and self-destructive nature of hatred and vengeance.”  (Transforming Mission by David J. Bosch - Page 118)

“God blesses those who work for peace for they will be called the children of God”.
 (Matthew 5:9 - New Living Translation)

Those who work for peace are people who accurately reflect the character and nature of God.  Being a peacemaker is restoring “Shalom”.  It is restoring wholeness, completeness, or soundness.

I think there are three possible ways of being: 
1.      I can be a peacekeeper.  Peacekeepers are appeasers.  They just want everyone to get along.  Let’s just keep quiet about anything controversial and let’s just keep everyone happy.  Peacekeepers don’t talk about what they really feel or think.  Peacekeepers protect themselves by not risking. 
(Unfortunately I’ve come to realize that I’ve lived most of my life as a peacekeeper.)
2.      I can be a troublemaker.  Troublemakers demand that things be done their way.  Troublemakers think they are right and everyone else is wrong.  Troublemakers don’t care if people get hurt or what kind of damage they leave behind.  Troublemakers protect themselves and there way by attacking.
3.      I can be a peacemaker.  Peacemakers work to create conditions for peace. 
a.       Peacemakers speak the truth in love.  They “say what is so” for them.  They speak out against injustice and oppression.  (Ephesians 4:15)
b.      Peacemakers forgive and offer grace to others.  Peacekeepers don’t hold grudges, or have deep seated resentments.  (Ephesians 4: 31-320
c.       Peacemakers initiate reconciliation.  Peacemakers don’t wait for someone else or something else.  (Matthew 5:23-24 and 2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
d.      Peacemakers don’t retaliate or seek revenge.  Peacemakers remain calm. (Matthew 5: 38-42)
e.       Peacemakers take action against injustice and oppression.  Sometimes in order to be a peacemaker a person appears to be a troublemaker.  Jesus modeled this when he cleared the temple. (Matthew 10:34)  I think those involved in the civil rights movement modeled this as well.

Peacemakers don’t protect themselves.  They are courageous risk-takers. 

Peacemakers take a stand against “non-peace” and help to restore wholeness.  Some define sin as “shalom” breaking.  Anywhere or anytime wholeness or completeness is broken it is sin.  I think it’s possible to be a really “nice” peacekeeper and to be sinning by allowing brokenness to remain. 

Becoming a peacemaker requires courage, intentionality, & perseverance.  If you decide to become a peacemaker you will have to fight for it in your own life.

“Those how are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of justice/righteousness.”
James 3:18

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Wellspring Community

Wellspring is a safe community for people who are spiritual but not religious. We don’t judge, condemn, or use the Bible as a weapon. We don’t have a long list of rules. Questions are normal and we embrace the mystery of God. We believe that God is beyond our ability to completely grasp or comprehend and so we hold our beliefs both humbly and loosely. We don’t require certainty or that everything resolve. Any person is welcome to belong in our community without having to agree with our beliefs. We don’t tell anyone what to think rather we help people discover for themselves. We value diversity and dialogue. We are a community of spiritual seekers.

The people of the Wellspring community practice following Jesus as a way of life more than as a system of belief. We believe that following the way of Jesus is a better way to live in the here and now not just in the hereafter. We believe that we are called and sent to represent God’s dream for the world. We believe that it’s our task to create foretastes of God’s kingdom here on earth. We seek authenticity and transparency. We seek to love unconditionally and to include the excluded. For us being loving is more important than being right in our beliefs. We work to extend mercy and compassion to those in need without making them our projects. We strive to recognize injustice and oppression and to work to make certain that every person gets treated rightly and fairly.

Wellspring communities are not organized institutions. We work to limit any hierarchy. We don’t have our own building and we don’t offer programs. We don’t struggle for power, control or authority. We avoid using religious jargon or cliché’s as much as possible. We aren’t “churchy”. We are real, we are honest and our gatherings are casual.

At Wellspring we are gaining freedom by closing the gaps between our beliefs & values and our actual behavior. We are seeking to identify and gain healing in our places of habitual brokenness. We are moving toward restored wholeness in six dimensions of life; spiritual, physical, psychological, economic, political, and social.

The community of Wellspring in Tomball gathers every Sunday at 4:00 P.M. at Main
Street Crossing for some music and discussion. Main Street Crossing is located at 111 West Main Street just before the railroad track and just under the Blues Brothers. The dress is very casual and no child care is provided. Our community is small and

We who make up the community called Wellspring believe that we are called to journey with people who are spiritual but not religious, joining with them in their movement toward faith & God. We hope to be a safe community where individuals can pursue God in a non-judgmental & non-threatening environment. We are seeking to follow the way of Jesus for the common good.

We believe that every person in every group asks the question; “will I be safe here?” Will I be accepted for who I am? Is this community safe enough to share what I really believe? Is it safe enough to express my doubts & fears? Is it safe enough to share my pain & my brokenness? Is it safe enough to disagree? We hope that you find, as we have, that this is a safe community. Our pledge is to keep it safe.