PEACEMAKERS: WEEKLY PODCASTS – APRIL 2017
This month’s conversation is based on the following weekly podcasts:
At Sunday’s gathering we heard from Allyssa on The Passover tradition. In short, the Old Testament tells of a Passover tradition with freedom through violence. In contrast to this, Jesus embodies gentleness, grace, and non-violence as he takes on the metaphoric role of the Passover lamb. The heart of this is to bring us freedom and teach us the way of peace.
Back by popular demand… a Bruxy series! This April and Easter this year, we want to further explore the way of peace through Jesus. Bruxy gives us a historical context and shows how many conquerers and violent kingdoms preceded Jesus, and how very different His Kingdom is.
Click here to download the podcast: Week 1 Podcast (left click to play, right click for downloading options)
Week 1 – Some House Church discussion topics:
Summary of the podcast’s main points:
The Multi-layered Irony of Christ’s Non-Violent Victory
1. Jesus comes at a time of political violence and religious separation.
2. Jesus preaches peace through enemy love and unity through the end of religion.
3. Jesus is killed by religious and political powers who want to silence his threatening message and get on with religious war.
4. Through his “defeat” in death, Jesus ends religion, establishes his kingdom (robe, scepter, crown, throne), and unites all people (if they accept the invitation).
5. Mission accomplished
Changing the Question From “But what about…?”
To “Do I love Jesus?”
“Do I trust Jesus?”
“Do I want to become more like Jesus?”
This week we want to examine our internal motivations so we can work for peace, reconciliation, and justice for the right reason: love, and not anger.
Click here to download the podcast: Week 2 Podcast (left click to play, right click for downloading options)
Summary of the podcast’s main points: A Better Motivation Than Anger
PROBLEM: Western “call-out” culture buys into and keeps selling us the myth of redemptive anger. Every single day, online and on TV, we see anger as the attitude of righteousness.
BIGGER PROBLEM: Christian culture has linked anger with righteousness. But “righteous anger” is a myth.
LOVE (Agape) = Love is the choice to relate to someone as valuable. Agape is always unconditional, honouring, active, and energizing. Love always blesses both the lover and the beloved. Love always asks, “What is best for the person I hold as precious?”
“You must not harbour anger,” I admonished myself. “You must be willing to suffer the anger of the opponent, and yet not return anger.” … We want to love our enemies.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Love your enemies.
Week 2 – Some House Church discussion topics:
Our words are supposed to be conduits for grace. In what area of communication are you most tempted to be least gracious (e.g., social media, talking about others with friends, with family, when drinking, when someone is rude to you, when making a quick interaction during the course of your day, other)?
Bruxy seeks towards the end of the talk to “make it practical and personal”… Think about the person or people who has hurt you the most or makes you the most angry. Reflect upon their context – there is more to their story. Are you willing to re-evaluate your heart to them? How can you see them as valuable?
Bruxy addresses violence in the Old Testament this week, and as Allyssa referenced during the gathering conversation starter, how Jesus embodies a revolutionary peaceful way of bringing justice without even ‘breaking a reed’ or ‘snuffing out a candle’ – bringing Gentle Justice.
Click here to download the podcast: Week 3 Podcast (left click to play, right click for downloading options)
Week 3 – Some House Church discussion topics:
Bruxy states that Jesus breaks the religious system of living by the Way of the Law but instead offers the Way of Love. Love becomes the gauge and compass in relating to people. Can you think of examples where love challenges law? eg. in parenting, community, justice, marriage, war, or even politics?
Jesus often avoids conflict or confrontation with his critics (e.g., Matt 12:14-15), and sometimes he refuses to engage or debate them (e.g., Matt 21:23-27; 26:63; Isaiah 53:7). Yet there are times that he lets them have it (e.g., Matt 23). What do you think makes the difference? How can we follow his example today? Talk about examples if you can.
Do you know any bruised reeds or smouldering wicks? If so, what could you do this week to reach out to and support them? If not, what could you do this week to get to know some?
Bruxy wraps up the Peacemakers series by responding to popular questions sent in.
Click here to download the podcast: Week 4 Podcast (left click to play, right click for downloading options)
Week 4 – Some House Church discussion topics:
Bruxy covers the questions below. Some of these questions will be more relevant to our community than others, so pick a few that stand out, and discuss them. After some discussion time, scroll down for a few of Bruxy’s responses.
- One of the stages of grief is anger. How does that fit in with our discussion about anger in the Bible?
- If it is wrong to judge others, is it also wrong to judge ourselves?
- If it is wrong to judge others, how should we approach church discipline and accountability?
- Isn’t being a pacifist in Canada a privileged position that let’s others fight for us so we can reap the benefits? (i.e., Should Anabaptists ever call the police for help?
- In light of Jesus’ teaching on nonviolence, is it alright for Christian parents to spank their children? *
- What should be the role of the Church in building peace with First Nations people?
- But if we follow the Bible, shouldn’t we leave room for an appropriate use of violence?
- How should we respond when people criticize us? *
- How can churches be peacemakers with other churches when our theologies are different? *
- Can you share specific examples of non-violent intervention?(*From the ‘Drive Home’ podcast)
Bruxy’s responses (in very short form):
- Bruxy: Anger is natural but it is not life giving to fan it into flame
- Bruxy: The plank-eye process, there are two different types of judgement: one is condemnation – lording it over people, the other is a moral or ethical observation based judgement. Assessing yourself to see if you are being a blessing or a distraction to others is a recommended type of judgement.
- Bruxy: Using the 2nd type of judgement (listed above), to go through relational-based steps of confronting as a community (goes in much detail in the podcast)
- Bruxy: Pacifist is not passive, but active is using non-violent ways to stand up for injustice)
- Bruxy: Why would you want to? Why do you feel spanking is necessary? Why do we need physical violence to get the job done when there are many ways to discipline a child? Discipline is important and described as loving. Biblical references to violent discipline (eg. proverbs “striking the back with a rod”) is a culturally outdated example of the principal.
- Bruxy: Start the dialogue with repentance and apology. Jesus calls us to re-interpret the prior scriptural references to judgement and vengeance, but a new way to live which bring peace and set the captives free.
- Bruxy: Jesus teaches us to reframe about biblical interpretation, calling us into the new covenant. God is like Jesus.
- Bruxy: a. Listen. (Take the log out of your eye.) b. Go to them. (Help them with their splinter.) c. Follow Jesus and move forward with your mission in life.
- Bruxy: Denominations can be helpful and healthy (respectful differences). It’s important to also work to be united as ‘family’. The call to engage with Jesus-like peacemaking can be bridge building and unifying (becomes a practice).
- Bruxy: We are to not just be nice people, but people taking risks to be active in peacemaking, bring peace where there is death and division
What stood out to you from the questions and responses? Are you left with any other lingering questions?
This week we’ve got our own (Open House produced) podcast to listen to called Reflecting and Re-framing. It’s a culmination of our own Facebook responses, feedback, and discussion as well as a recap on the month.
Click here to download the podcast: Week 5 Podcast (left click to play, right click for downloading options)
Week 5 – Some House Church discussion topics:
The idea with this podcast and the conversation this week is to conclude the series on Peacemakers by bringing it back to our own community’s journey. Hopefully you’ll find something relevant to get you thinking and discussing.
Below are a few suggested topics. Choose what’s most applicable or interesting to you and your House Church. It may help discussion to break into smaller huddles of 2-3 if the main group is too big or you want to chat about different reflections:
- Peacemakers series reflection: Share something new or a fresh perspective you resonated with during this series. Has talking about peace and being peacemakers helped you change any behaviours? Or do you have any practical examples? Are there any questions above in Week 4 you still wish to discuss?
- Theological reflection: In Derek Flood’s article on the ‘Way of Peace and Grace’ he suggests that Paul’s entire way of life and understanding of the bible is re-framed by encountering Jesus. Sometimes crazy people say they have met God and have a new revelation. Why would Jesus trump and require (in Paul’s mind) a re-framing of previous understanding of scripture? What authority did he claim? Paul’s life is drastically changed (violent zealot to peacemaker). What do you think it was that really changed him? Is a personal encounter with Jesus necessary to understanding faith? What is a ‘personal encounter’ to you anyway?
- Jesus reflection: Jesus is quoted as saying “I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev 3:20). What do you think this means? Are you willing to really look into what Jesus lived and taught? And how it might change you? Have you been/are you willing to reframe prior views (like Paul did)?
- Open House reflection: This series brought up lots of discussion on where we are at personally and as a community. It’s super important to regularly ask why we do this community/ church/ group. Here are some potential conversation starters: Could you, or in small groups, define what Open House is? What could we be doing better? What are the challenges? What could you do to contribute to the group’s authenticity more? How can we support each other? What do you like about the community? Do you think it’s a welcoming place? Are there things about Open House you look forward to, or don’t? Why do you come to Open House?