Tag Archives: peace

Finding Peace in the Midst of Racism and Identity Politics

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

There is hope, even in these turbulent times. The spirit of the world is divisive, angry, hateful and racist. Those forces can deeply affect how we view ourselves and those around us. But looking to Jesus brings us clarity, charity and peace.

Increasing racial tensions can quickly resurrect old wounds and cause them to burn with a vengeance. We can find bitterness an easy path to take, but it is one which wounds us even more deeply.

In our broken world, we are all wounded, often deeply, by the differences that divide us. Racism – and other divisive beliefs and attitudes – permeate this world, wounding and dividing us. But we can be at peace – and be peacemakers – in the midst of this turmoil.

Jesus rejected racism and identity politics. In Him, we “are all one” – transcending all racial, class and gender distinctions. Jesus prayed to our Father: “ I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity” (John 17:22-23).

How is that possible? Because we have Christ incarnate in us. The glory Jesus gave us is Himself.

We are a new creation in Jesus Christ, who reconciled us to God and “gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).

Now, we can have healing in our hearts and in our relationships through Jesus Christ. Jesus can – and will – heal our deepest wounds and soften the hardness of our own hearts.

At the cross, we see other people by the value of His blood. We see people of infinite worth in God’s eyes. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

We all need transformed hearts that are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

It is especially at troubled times like these that we must listen to and talk with one another. In so doing – in extending the grace, love and forgiveness of God to others – we minister to them and bring reconciliation.

Let us not get caught up in the superficial, the outward appearance, but rather look to one another as equals – brothers and sisters of Christ who are all equal at the foot of the cross.

Let us love one another, as God loves us.

Mele Kalikimaka

Christmas is indisputably the most joyous season of the year. For many Americans, 2015 will prove especially memorable.

Mele Kalikimaka

The American Northeast is experiencing record highs this Christmas season, prompting some to herald “Global warming!” (Every area of the world has its own record highs and record lows for every day of the year. It’s called weather.)

Others, especially Hawaiian shirt-lovers like me, are grateful for this temporary change of temperature, if not of venue. (Those who flew down to Florida for the holidays just for the weather may have wasted their money.)

Regardless of the weather wherever you are, may we all remember the reason for the season.

In the Gospel of Luke 2:10-11, we read: “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.’”

Remember, it is truly “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!

May you all have a marvelous Christmas season. “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests (Luke 2:14).”

The Dawn of Hope

“the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the shadow of death a light has dawned.” – Matthew 4:16

The real meaning of Christmas can often be obscured by the trees and lights, the fanfare and the presents. But Christmas is not about the glitter – as festive as that can be – but about the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ, who was born as a Babe to bring hope to the world.

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For God so loved the world … that the Word clothed himself in humanity to dwell with us. Jesus entered our darkened world to bring us the Light that we might have the hope of salvation in him.

Christmas is a joyous season with joyful and festive songs – with good reason! Jesus was born to save his people from their sins and to bring us into a relationship with the Father, Son, and Spirit that will continue through eternity.

The Good News of Jesus arrived that Christmas day, with angels and shepherds and wise men witnessing the miracle and worshiping the Messiah. Joyful adoration erupted from hearts filled with hope that God would fulfill his promises.

Jesus was born in a dying world and we, 2,000 years later, live in a darkened world. But Jesus, our Light, gives us a certain hope for the future – a hope that we can share with others.

Jesus, our Emmanuel – God with us – is indeed with us so that we have nothing to fear.

This Christmas season (and throughout the coming year), may we express the love and exhibit the hope that Jesus has given us to those still in the darkness, pointing them to the true meaning of Christmas.

Living a Worry-Free Life

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus admonishes each of us not to worry, yet … we worry. Why? And how can we stop worrying?

The solution to worry, though simple, is not easy.

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Jesus began His discourse on worry after declaring “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Jesus made the simple point that we should be more concerned with the things of God than the things of this world.

Jesus then declared the infinite worth of every human life and His providential care for us. He feeds the birds and clothes the lilies of the field, but we are of far greater value in His eyes. So, we should trust Him.

The pivotal point in this section is reached in verse 30: “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

According to Jesus, worry is a matter of faith, or, more accurately, worry is faithless. When we worry, we are exhibiting “little faith.”

The things we tend to worry about – food, clothing, money, possessions – are all temporary. Someday, they will perish. We worry about things that, in the grand scheme of things, are worthless.

Moreover, as Jesus points out, worry won’t change reality. Worry won’t give us even one more moment of life, though it will squander many moments from our lives.

Worry ignores the hand of God in our lives. It denies the reality that God’s sovereignty over the universe extends into our lives. Simply put, if He can keep the universe in order, then He can take care of us.

Jesus tells us that we are of more value to God than what we see around us. He names the stars, counts the hairs on our heads, and knows our names.

We can trust Him. Will we?

When we do – when we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” – we can rest assured that He will take care of all those things we tend to worry about so needlessly.

One website offers “22 ways to living calmer and anxiety free life,” with a graphic captioned: “Take Charge of Your Worry.” Excluded from this blogger’s worry-free program: God. Not one word about the One who frees us from worry. Indeed, the graphic itself should be emblazoned: “Give Your Worry to God.”

We don’t take charge of our worry. Rather, we yield our lives to our Creator and trust in Him.

Our Father in heaven will be faithful in His provision for us.

We Are All Parisians!

Last Sunday, most of the world (absent the Obama administration) stood in solidarity against Islamic jihad.

Headline: “Today Paris is the capital of the world.”

Father James Schall observed, “This is the French 9/11.

Millions tweeted “I am Charlie” and hashtagged #jesuischarlie.

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It remains to be seen whether this Paris rally, with dozens of world leaders and millions of marchers, represents a watershed moment in our generation and a pivotal change in the West’s political and cultural zeitgeist.

Already this week, some Western leaders have backtracked on Islamic terrorism. Surprisingly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has chosen to side with Islam. (First, it was the Nazis, now, the Jihadists?)

I Am Not Charlie Hebdo

While it is surely good to unify over a good cause (and defeating evil is always good), phony grandstanding and political opportunism can thwart that cause. Are these leaders and those marchers truly committed to vanquish evil? Or was it merely a “moment” to experience?

Just how courageous are legions of celebrities and anonymous Tweeters in spontaneously supporting this surge of condemnation against evil? Will their solidarity continue in the face of real danger?

Maggie Gallagher offered perceptive observations regarding who the real heroes are. She wrote:

“I am not Charlie Hebdo because that is not the right name. That is not a person, it is a magazine, and darn it, the heroes in this case have other names, especially Stephane Charbonnier, the editor in chief, who testified, ‘It perhaps sounds a bit pompous, but I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.’”

“No Stephane Charbonnier, it doesn’t sound at all pompous. Not today.”

“I am not Charlie Hebdo, in other words, because Stephane Charbonnier and his colleagues were heroes and I am not.”

“What have I done to deserve that title, to make that claim?”

“Tweeting ‘I am Charlie!’ does nothing to change the fact that I live in utter safety; Stephane Charbonnier and his colleagues did not die because they wrote ‘I am Charlie Hebdo,’ but because like the others on the al-Qaeda hit list, he and they dared to criticize the Prophet Mohammed.”

Let us apprehend Gallagher’s words and realize that now is a time, not for hollow words, but for bold action. We need to be engaged in combat – in one way or another – or today’s heroes will be tomorrow’s forgotten martyrs and victory will be ceded to an evil enemy.

Will we stand up, criticize and combat Islamic jihadism or will we, like the Obama administration, refuse to even name the evil which is charging through the gates of hell to unleash Armageddon upon the world?

We Are All Parisians

We live indeed in an ever-shrinking world with a burgeoning Islamic caliphate. No-go zones, cities, territories, and nations are held by Islamic jihadists who seek the imminent fulfillment of their Islamic utopia: a global caliphate.

Paris has joined the growing ranks of victims of Islamic jihad.

France, like many other western European nations, has contended with a large influx of Muslim immigrants who self-segregate in isolated enclaves, often establishing no-go zones and enforcing sharia law. Jihadism thrives in these environments. This is the end to which multiculturalism has led the City of Lights.

This is the path America and many other nations are on. We are all in the same boat.

America is becoming France.

Let’s stand in solidarity with the people of Paris and oppose Islamic jihad.

Benghazi-Paris Nexus

The nexus between terrorist attacks in Benghazi and Paris is stark. Both expose the flawed ideology, non-existent strategy, anti-Western sentiments, and self-absorbed leadership of the Obama administration.

Obama and his comrades have denied that these terrorist attacks were committed by Islamic terrorists. In the case of Benghazi, Obama created a false narrative of an amateur YouTube video inciting a demonstration which led to the attack. (Many of his comrades are now rushing to blame cartoons – and not Islam – for the motivating force behind the Paris attack.)

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Both Benghazi and Paris disprove Obama’s narrative that al-Qaeda (and, by implication, every terrorist organization) is decimated and that the war on terror is over. He further claims that America is stronger than ever and the world has never been more tranquil.

Clearly, the war on terror is not over. Obama cannot create peace by fiat.

Nevertheless, Obama continues to promote his false narrative, which he intends to be his foreign policy legacy: the hero who ended two wars, unilaterally ended the war on terror, and brought peace to the world. (He is a Noble Peace Prize winner, after all.)

Hence his decision to boycott the historic anti-Islamic terrorism rally in Paris last weekend. To attend would have been to validate the purpose of that rally. To attend would have been an admission that Islamic jihadism is the enemy. To attend would have corroborated that his much-vaunted victory over terrorism was a sham.

Now, the Obama administration is engaged in a diplomatic cover-up for its foolish boycott. The snub seen around the world.

What that gaffe of biblical proportions reveals is the very same mindset which permeated the Situation Room during the Benghazi attack and which drove the false YouTube narrative during the presidential campaign.

A mindset which is focused more on ideology than reality. Which is willing to go to any extreme to promote its fanciful vision of the world. Which will allow brave men to die in Benghazi – providing no help whatsoever – to advance a narrative of peace and safety. Which will allow the world to converge in solidarity against the Islamist threat – providing no symbolic support whatsoever – to again advance that same narrative.

Leadership was absent during and after the Benghazi attack, just as it was absent when Paris became the capital of the world. Obama prefers to attend fundraisers, play golf, or watch football than do what a leader does: lead.

Benghazi and Paris are also emblematic of Obama’s pacifism. He does not have the cojones to fight. Benghazi proves that. Obama would not even defend marines under attack. And Obama would not even pretend to be interested in the war on terror. Remember, his false narrative – and his legacy – depend upon that war being over. Peace in our times.

This president and his administration are in denial. Their strategy of appeasement is an abysmal failure. And the world is going up in flames.

Hillary Crazy about Crazies

We Must Empathize With America’s Enemies

Say what?

Hillary Clinton, the as-yet-unannounced Democratic front-runner for president spoke at Georgetown this week to express her vision “to advance peace and security.”[1]

Attempting to seize the moral high ground, Hillary’s strategy for world peace is hilarious: empathy. (This is reminiscent of that quintessential quality Obama seeks in Supreme Court justices – empathy, not legality.)

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In Hillary’s world, Clinton calls this “smart power” which leaves “no one on the side lines.”

(I would think we would want terrorists and other evildoers to be “on the side lines,” but the Obama administration has been known for negotiating with the worst of the worst.)

Eschewing military action, Hillary seemingly contends that diplomacy will solve all of our problems and lead to global peace. “That is what we believe in the 21st century will change – change the prospects for peace.”

Clinton’s approach to resolving tensions with our enemies is simplistic, naïve, and dangerous: “Showing respect even for one’s enemies.”

And what does that entail? “Trying to understand, in so far as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view.”

Empathize? With terrorists and tyrants?

Having run the State Department for so many years, one would think that the smartest woman in the world – who oversaw the dismantling of peace around the world – would know what the perspectives and points of view our enemies possess.

ISIS and other Islamic terrorists want to create a worldwide caliphate and, to do so, they must convert or kill every other person on the planet, especially us. That is their perspective and point of view.

Does Clinton, like Kerry, think we can talk ISIS into peace?

How do we show these butchers, beheaders, and barbarians “respect?” Through negotiation? With appeasement?

How are we to empathize with butchers and barbarians? Will that empathy dissuade them from further butchery? Genghis Khan was undeterred by pleas for mercy.

Vladimir Putin wants to restore the old Russian Empire. He seized the Crimea despite world protests and he is hell bent on absorbing the whole of the Ukraine. Virtually unopposed by Obama and his diplomacy. How did that reset button work out for you, Hillary?

Iran is unalterably resolute in its desire to develop nuclear weapons and the Obama administration’s policy of appeasement will never contain that threat. Indeed, for all these years, negotiation has always worked to Iran’s advantage.

Instead of acknowledging evil where it exists and taking action to protect Americans, Obama talks, talks, talks. And Hillary Rodham Clinton – the presumptive POTUS in 2016 – apparently supports that policy.

Endnotes:

[1]               Daniel Harper, “Hillary: We Must Empathize With America’s Enemies,” Weekly Standard, 12/4/14, http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/12/04/hillary-we-must-empathize-americas-enemies#.

Let’s Talk ISIS Into Peace

Islamic jihadists have reshaped Mideast geography by force, created their own Islamic Nation, beheaded foreigners and fellow Muslims, and vow to create a worldwide caliphate prescribing sharia law to serve their god: Allah.

Still, some people deny they are Islamic. Others deny they even pose a threat. Some think we can negotiate with them.

(Those three groups intersect in the White House.)

It can never be said that the Obama administration has a firm grasp on reality with regards to foreign policy. Jimmy Carter may have given us the Iranian Hostage Crisis, but under Obama, as Kissinger observes, “The World is in Flames.”

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ISIS is NOT a Civil Rights Group

One otherwise intelligent person wrote:

“The only way to justify using U.S. military force to suppress fundamentalists is for the U.S. to lead a global coalition to substantially alleviate the oppressive conditions of daily life in the regions in which fundamentalists find a measure of popular respect (for standing up to local regimes that collaborate with oil conglomerates and financial corporations). But that would require the U.S. government to renounce its own alliance with big oil and the big banks. Don’t see that coming. Therefore, U.S. applications of force will be unsuccessful and will only give rise to another cycle of violence.”

The “cycle of violence” this writer refers to is not perpetuated by big oil or big banks. Indeed, it precedes big oil and big banks. It’s historical roots extend back to the founder of Islam.

(Let’s blame America anyway!)

ISIS is not a civil rights group.

ISIS has become such a feared monster because of a power vacuum created by President Obama. Its stated raison d’être is to create a worldwide caliphate. ISIS is not interested in waging peace, creating income equality, alleviating poverty, and the like. ISIS’s only concern is to achieve global domination, kill infidels, and enforce sharia upon the entire world.

Blame the terrorists, not us!

They attack us not because of anything we’ve done but because of who they are!

Weapons, Not Words

Weapons, not words, are the only way to stop them!

Diplomacy with terrorists is literally an oxymoron. People who cavalierly behead other people are not rational and cannot be reasoned with.

Words cannot dissuade them.

Appeasement only emboldens them.

They are an implacable foe undeterred by appeals for peace, human rights, equality, or any of U.N. buzzwords employed by the Left.

ISIS is evil, with evil brutes committing evil atrocities and rejoicing in their evil.

Contrary to the pacifist Left, war is sometimes the answer, and, with ISIS, it is the only answer.

Jimmy Carter’s “Principles of Allah”

Jimmy Carter, a third-generation Southern Baptist who has renounced his membership in that denomination, recently spoke at the annual convention for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) calling upon all Americans to “use the principles of Allah to bring peace and justice to all.”

Allah

I guess I missed that part in the Bible where Jesus said we are to look to other gods for counsel. (Judeo-Christian principles and culture have served America well for over two centuries, thank you.)

Numerous blogs have provided examples of “principles of Allah” which are decidedly non-Christian, anti-American, and anti-civilization.

Carter has denounced Israel for a decade and he seeks acceptance of HAMAS as a legitimate organization. Carter condemns Christianity for waging a war on women, yet has little criticism of Islam.

Perhaps Jimmy should put on a sweater and watch the news.

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HAMAS is a terrorist organization in league with ISIS, which is a terrorist nation seeking to rule the world by force and annihilate all opposition. They worship Allah and look to the Koran for guidance.

Peace and justice will forever elude the world as long as Western leaders remain spellbound by their own faulty visions of the world.

Perhaps Jimmy also forgot those Sunday school lessons he gave as a Southern Baptist having to do with Jesus – not Allah – being the Prince of Peace.