Posted by: edsohn | July 29, 2008

The Power of Peace

The war on terror.  We’ve heard the term often in recent years, with connotations of America’s security and global welfare underpinning the rationale for military conflict.  It’s become a term marking an era, a term that will be remembered like the “Cold War”, except dressed in sarcasm.

A fundamental question of this election will be balancing the policies of diplomacy against the policies of military strength.  We are on the precipice of a foreign policy makeover–or not.  But I am not going to engage in a sterling endorsement of Obama’s policies, nor even a subtle one (although I can’t promise against my subconscious).

Instead, I wonder if there is a power in tolerance, in reconciliation, and in peace that does more than just an end in itself, but enables a restoration of a social class or strata that is nothing short of a miraculous healing of Jesus’s own hands.

Terrorism in a place like Jordan, Sudan, Sri Lanka, and other non-first-world nations with no real stake in our daily lives, or at least not a readily observable one.  But terrorism threatening the Beijing games, or bombs set off in the subways of Mumbai… when something happens in China or India, the world takes notice.  And the governments have responded in a way that would make the U.S. Department of Homeland Security proud: they have responded with swift force and investigation, vetting the nations for evidence or clues.

I’ve had a particular interest in India, and have been reading up on the nation’s history when I get a spare moment.  I’m fascinated by the exchanging of powers over the generations of Indian history.  While I’m not a history expert or even a history “buff” so to say, I noticed that like the histories of other great civilizations, there is a strong correlation in the Indian narrative between tolerance and prosperity.

In troubled times like these, when Muslim extremists have set off bombs across the nation of India in BJP-controlled (pro-Hindu government party) states, we must re-discover tolerance, with the hope of eventually reconciliation and love.  But instead of pursuing these goals because of a moral mandate or an intangible affection for everyone to be a happy family, another true power of peace is the ability for technology, economy, trade and cultural advancement to flourish.

So blessed are the peacemakers, because peace is the right way of things.  I urge us to not separate peacemaking as some other sphere divorced from displaying the core of the Christian narrative.  It is absolutely central.  Peacemaking is powerful to end wars, bring love and ultimately prosperity that comes from mutually beneficial exchanges.  I’m convinced that India, along with many other places in the world, must return to a place where peace is a high moral value of great virtue.  But that peace must not remain on a pedastal of lofty aspiration, but rather be a tool tested and wielded with dirty perspiration.

If we care about being Christian, then we must care about peace, because in our holy and faith-filled desire to renew the world and bring God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, peace is the power that ends brokenness and begins the work of restoration.

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Responses

  1. One of my favorites: Eph 2:14
    14For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

  2. beautiful.

  3. Would those who spread terror see it this way? Islam was born and spread in battle and continues to do so today. If you dont beleive this I would be glad to give you a chronoligal order of their battles in the seventh century. Are we to lie down our swords against this?

    Would we be ignoring biblical mandate if we were not to defend ourselves” “So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and blood guiltiness be on you.”


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