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.

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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.