Just peacemaking

Categories:Theology
Rob Vander Giessen-Reitsma

I just finished re-reading Duane Friesen and Glen Stassen’s “Just peacemaking” essay in Transforming Violence and several passages seemed remarkably relevant to the Imagining Space project. They identify three theological convictions that undergird practices of just peacemaking:

  1. Biblical discipleship is grounded in the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  2. The church is the eschatological “sign” of God’s reign in the world, embodied in a concrete gathering of persons who seek to discern together what just peacemaking means and to model peacemaking practices in our corporate and individual lives.
  3. The church must be committed to seek the peace of the city where she dwells.

It seems this list is a pretty good overview of what is driving *cino to consider this project.
While *cino is not a church, we are certainly part of the worldwide body and the work we’ll be doing will involve partnerships with the community of churches in Three Rivers. Additionally, we have no illusions that this project will be quick or easy. In retelling the biblical narrative with this community through ritual and worship, we can remember and hope in ways that will sustain us along the long journey ahead. Such sustenance seems the only way such an undertaking will be possible.
We hope that the programming we’re imagining for this space will allow us to model just peacemaking in Three Rivers. The off-campus program we’re proposing and the intersection of college students with local community partners will be a remarkable opportunity to discern together how we might go about the work of peacemaking and community development. We’re still in conversation–and will be for some time–about the specifics of our programming, but the possibilities are terribly exciting!
Finally, we hope that the work we’d embody in a space like Huss School would, in fact, seek the welfare of Three Rivers. Friesen and Stassen elaborate:

When the church seeks the well-being of the city where it dwells, it will be drawn into participation with fellow citizens, from a variety of points of view, in the development of norms and practices that can contribute to the shalom of the city.

The biblical notion of shalom refers to a universal flourishing and delight, where all are able to contribute toward right relationships–relationships that allow community to deepen and grow. In seeking this ideal, we would want to work with other groups with similar interests in community development, justice, economic vitality and environmental stewardship. This kind of community growth is good for everyone, regardless of belief.
Interesting how these kinds of ideas all come together!