Ask, listen, chew

EDITORIAL: Peacemaking requires action, determination

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Writing Christian Leader news articles involves asking questions. Most of the time, questions about a ministry or event begin with words like who, what, where, when, why and how, and the answers are typically straightforward. But other times, questions can be more difficult to answer.

In this issue we introduce a new standing column, “Got Questions” by veteran columnist Caitlin Friesen. In each issue, Friesen anticipates addressing the kind of questions that “require prayerful consideration, deeper conversation and a willingness to come to a different conclusion than what was expected.”

I think questions can play an important role in facilitating peace, the theme of the feature articles in this issue. There are many topics on which Christians disagree.

  • How do we respond wisely when we disagree with a fellow believer?
  • How do we respond to another believer who holds so strongly to his or her convictions that there is no room for discussion?
  • How do we navigate a relationship with another believer who views as secondary something that is of primary importance to us?
  • Does seeking harmony and unity require us to compromise our understanding of obedience to Jesus?

While some may have answers to these questions, living out those answers is not easy. But we have a foundational starting point. In our “Around the World” column, Paul Dück writes about the challenge Mennonite Brethren in Brazil faced after merging two conferences with different cultures, theology and practice into one national conference. Dück says that the two groups agreed to “recognize Christ in one another.”

We take an important step toward peace when we express God’s love for us by seeing Jesus in our Christian brothers and sisters, despite our differences. When we see Christ in one another, we acknowledge the value of others and are willing to learn from each other. And key to this is asking questions, listening to the responses and then chewing on what we’ve heard.

Ten years ago when U.S. Mennonite Brethren revised Article 13 of our Confession of Faith, the Board of Faith and Life published a four-part study on peacemaking that is available here: Board of Faith & Life Study Guide: God’s Community of Peace.

 

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